Young people all over the world come together to demand paid good quality internships

European Youth Forum Logo____As thousands of young people come together across four continents to demand good quality, paid internships on the first ever International Interns Day, new data, released by the European Youth Forum reveals that for 60% of those that have done an internship, their internship was unpaid. For three-quarters of them it did not lead to a job, illustrating that internships are replacing real jobs and are not the stepping-stone to work that they should be.

The organisers of International Interns Day, including the European Youth Forum, InternsGoPro and other leading interns’ and youth organisations today call on policy makers and employers to improve internship conditions and to finally take young people’s demands seriously. Internships must have strong learning content, should be fairly remunerated and should lead to employment and not be the endless vicious circle of one unpaid internship after another.

To mark International Interns Day in Brussels there will be a “political hackathon”, where students, current interns and youth representatives will develop ideas on how to improve the internship situation. These ideas will then be proposed to and debated with decision makers, including MEPs and leading employers, during a plenary debate. There will also be an interns’ demonstration outside the European Parliament.

Lora Lyubenova, board member of the European Youth Forum, comments:

Internships are an essential step for young people to gain skills and to foster their integration into the labour market. This is not just a European phenomenon.  All over the world, millions of young people are doing internships with the hope of accessing full-time employment or developing skills for entrepreneurship. Unfortunately they are – mostly – unpaid and badly designed, with little learning content and supervision. This discriminates against those that cannot afford to work for free. Politicians and employers- it is time to finally act! ”

Regis Pradal, co-founder of InternsGoPro, said:

“The situation of interns in Europe is unacceptable. That is why we founded InternsGoPro and our label and online ratings system in order to create transparency and empower young people to identify the best internships in Europe. We incentivize employers to invest in quality internships and view them as mutually beneficial and in this way attract best talents.”

Terry Reintke, MEP, speaking at International Interns Day, said:

We need to end the exploitation of interns as cheap labour! By hesitating to enforce effective measures the EU tolerates the precarious conditions of millions of young people in Europe. We call for quality internships that are paid, based on a signed agreement with fair working conditions and established learning contents. If we do not act now, the social marginalization of young people in Europe will proceed.”-

Enrique Calvet Chambon, MEP, said:

 “Raising awareness on the necessity of adequate training during internship periods is vital and we have to fight to ensure it is comprised in the experience.”

Andrey Novakov, MEPsaid: 

“An internship brings benefits for both sides, therefore no abuses are acceptable. If companies invest in their interns, this will increase the working productivity. Internships should not be a way for an employer to make “use of cheap hand” but rather a tool to inform and to invest in future professionals.”

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