News reaches Dude? that Peter Mandelson’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is launching a new website to pair graduates with internship opportunities.

Gradute Talent Pool works like a job board – only all placements are temporary. Some roles are paid, others are unpaid.

In principle, Dude? is a fan of internships – as long as they benefit both sides equally. When graduates are considering an internship (paid or unpaid), I advise them to weigh up carefully the pros and cons before committing.

If the equation balances, internships rock. They provide a no-strings ‘try before you buy’ scheme that benefits both sides.

Grads get to road-test what it’s actually like to work in an industry before they commit to a permanent job (If it’s a case of “God no! This is horrific!” you can just jog on…).

And employers get to sample your work before they offer you a permanent contract (protecting them against getting lumbered with numpties they hire by mistake).

See? It’s a win-win.

Perhaps predictably, the Government is taking some serious flak for this new initiative – BISmeisters Peter Mandelson and David Lammy are busy dodging accusations that they’re promoting an unethical racket and legitimising cheapskate employers’ abuse of desperate graduates as low-cost (or completely free) labour.

Hmm. Call Dude? naive – and I’m not close with Pete or Dave – but I find it hard to believe this is their aim. To Dude?, it seems more likely this is their first attempt at trying to do something helpful for you lot, who they know are struggling right now.

Could they do more? Definitely. But they’re trying – and Dude? is inclined to think that anything is better than nothing. At least it shows they know there’s a problem.

In the meantime, while the Government gets its act together to provide you with further help (and finally twig that they need Dude?‘s help on this one…!), I encourage graduates to be savvy about internships – and keep your wits about you when considering internships. Come on, you’re big boys/girls now – so use your noggin:

DON’T spend months doing something rubbish for free, getting crosser and crosser. But –

DO find a way to fund internships you think will look genuinely impressive on your CV and get you a foot in the door for bigger, better opportunities in the future. If you’re cash-strapped, do bar work in the evening, take a Saturday job, stuff envelopes one week on, one week off…

Remember, people – the value of some things isn’t always monetary.

(That said, Dude? is aware that you can’t buy a pint with a smile…)

PS The BIS has also created these graduate careers advice videos, with you lot in mind. What do you reckon – are they any good?

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