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The Social Mobility Strategy published in April 2011 clearly states that we want to ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity to fulfil their potential. Making work experience and internships available to young people from all walks of life is a key element of this. I am pleased that the Government are leading by example in Whitehall with a new internship programme for under-represented groups. The new Whitehall Internship Programme has been developed in response to a pledge in the coalition agreement which states that the Government will provide internships in every Whitehall Department for under-represented groups, including black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
In addition to our internship schemes for university students and recent graduates, during the summer of 2011 the Cabinet Office also offered four high achieving 16-year-olds from low-income backgrounds an opportunity to complete a short paid work experience placement, aimed at raising the aspirations of young people who would not ordinarily have the opportunity to visit or work in Whitehall. Travel and living expenses were also provided, as well as accommodation in central London and a range of after work entertainment and development opportunities.