Quality Internships: Towards a Toolkit for Employers

european-youth-forum-logoOn Wednesday 4th June, the European Youth Forum held a meeting at the Microsoft Centre in Brussels to discuss a toolkit project for quality internships with representatives from six employers (Microsoft, Titan Cement, Abbvie, Adecco, EUK Consulting, EPACA). At a time when we mostly hear negative things about internships (exploitation, unpaid and unsafe experiences), it is time discuss how both young people and employers can actually benefit from them.

In March, the Council of the European Union adopted a Quality Framework for Traineeships. But several key issues, such as reimbursement of interns, were not tackled at all in the text. The weakness of the Framework has been perceived by many to be as a result of business’ fears that quality internships are expensive and difficult to achieve.

At the time, the European Youth Forum reacted strongly against the weak Framework. The Youth Forum advocates for quality internships, which are educational and properly reimbursed. Internships are a key part of the political discussions on youth unemployment. At the European level, they are one of the potential schemes that can be rolled out under the youth guarantee initiative, which was adopted by the European Council last year.

The idea of the proposed toolkit is to be a clear, concise starting tool for companies that wish to offer quality internships. It will show what internships should look like and how employers can offer them, based on different company experiences and best practices.

This meeting provided the opportunity for a fruitful and lively exchange with a range of employers and employers associations. The participants discussed the benefits of quality internships for employers and came up with different concrete recommendations on how best employers can ensure their interns benefit from their work experience.. The toolkit is expected to be launched in November this year.

The Youth Forum has a Charter on Quality Internships, which organisations can sign up to commit to providing quality internship experiences for young people. Recent organisations to sign up to the Charter include Bingo (Brussels Intern NGO) and Mladiinfo (a youth initiatives promotion platform).

Read more: Joint letter condemning council recommendation on Quality Framework for Traineeships

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