Job scheme support sought

Dunedin businesses are calling on the city council to maintain its support for an internship programme designed to keep bright young minds in the city.

A group of companies, led by Southern Clams national sales manager Fraser Booth, yesterday threw their weight behind the Sexy Summer Jobs business internship programme.

Mr Booth, speaking at yesterday's annual plan hearing, urged councillors to contribute another $60,000 in 2013-14 to help pay interns' wages.

Dunedin businesses would provide at least another $160,000 towards the interns' wages, he said.

The programme was launched in 2008 as a partnership between the council, information technology companies and tertiary education providers.

The programme matched students with Dunedin companies willing to take on summer interns through speed dating-style events, to help fill skills gaps within companies and keep talented students in the city.

Mr Booth said the scheme was making a difference in Dunedin, showing graduates there were jobs for them in the city and encouraging them to stay.

Businesses were more likely to take on an intern if their risks were reduced, and the council's funding allowed a ''try before you buy'' approach that was good for both parties, he believed.

It was also good for the city, and he urged councillors to ''keep some of these brains in Dunedin''.

''The flow-on effect is only going to get better and better for Dunedin.''

Since its inception, the programme had placed 165 interns with Dunedin companies, resulting in 77.5 permanent jobs to date.

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