Quality Internships: A first step towards a proper employment?
9th November 2018
Last week, the University of Alcalá (Spain) hosted an event to discuss the importance of quality internships. As organisations realise the value of taking on young people with fresh ideas, the number of internships is increasing year by year. It is imperative that both young people and their employers mutually benefit from this arrangement. But who carries the responsibility to monitor and ensure the quality of internships? What tools can be employed to do so? These questions were addressed in the engaging presentations and panel discussions.
Firstly, we heard from Javi López MEP, member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, who argued that universal access to internships should be the goal. This means that labour rights need to be respected and unpaid internships, which currently make up 59% of all internships, eliminated. An EU framework for quality internships has been in place since 2014, but this is a recommendation and not binding. The Commission is monitoring the extent to which member states are implementing it, however.
We then were informed of the findings and developments of the CAPQI (Collective Awareness Platforms for Quality Internships) project which is co-funded by Erasmus+. They have developed a practical virtual tool for increasing transparency and monitoring the quality of internships, which allows interns to rate their employer according to various criteria. These include remuneration, offer and contract, organizational culture and work environment, career development and employment, learning content, and supervision.
To disseminate these ratings, CAPQI have developed a website and plug in which can used on corporate websites and university systems to integrate quality indicators and reviews into internship and job advertisements. They have also investigated why some companies do not take on interns and have tried to emphasise benefits of having young people. Similarly they have argued for benefits to universities: company links, reputation and curriculum development for example.
Two lively panel discussions offered some interesting insights from Pirkko Pyörälä (DG EMPL) and Zuzana Vaněčková (European Youth Forum) amongst others.
See more information about the CAPQI project here.