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Interns revealed!

Aleksandra Maldžiski

Aleksandra is from Belgrade, Serbia, currently living in Portugal. She was a school student activist and a Board member of OBESSU (Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions). During her studies of political science and journalism she did an intership at the Serbian national radio B92 on a political show co-produced by BBC. Aleksandra has been writing for the YO! Mag since 2010.


It is work, but not a job. It is often underpaid or not paid at all. There are various motives for doing it… and mostAi?? Europeans have done it at least once by the age of 25. Yes, weai??i??re talking about internships.
illustrations by ERG |Ai?? buy cardura online cheap, zithromax without prescription. issue #.03 / 2011
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The European Youth Forum has been advocating for the regulation of internships and the set up of Europe-wide standards that would guarantee their quality, as well as ensure the rights of the interns. In order to gather solid data for efforts towards achieving this, the European Youth Forum has conducted a survey on internship quality from April to June 2011, with almost 4,000 respondents from the vieux continent.

A sneak peak at the results

Who are Europeai??i??s interns? Results indicate that the vast majority of interns are people younger than 25. They can generally be divided into three groups: student interns whose internship is a compulsory part of their education for which they might even get school credit (for example ECTS); side interns – students and graduates who find internships useful or necessary additions to formal education; post-study interns for whom this is very often the only alternative to unemployment. There is more to motivation for doing internships than this. 77% of the respondents listed improved CV or job chances as motivation for being an intern.

Internship Stats
Click image for larger view

accutane without prescription. ai???Although not paid, it was a great experience. I got to know a lot of new and interesting things and met wonderful people. I’m sure, this will help me in future if not to find a job than at least to get an idea of what I want and can.ai??? (Intern in an inter-governmental organisation).

Romania is the place where it is most likely you would be underpaid or not paid at all, while Belgium is on the other side of this line, with the lowest rate of un(der)paid interns. This rate however, is still high as it goes, with up to 59% of interns being unable to live off of the amount they received. So, whom do they turn for help? In most of cases the answer is: parents.

ai???It is frustrating to work for free and basically be doing the same as everybody else. On the one hand you learn a lot – no doubt- but on the other hand it does not support the idea of social equality, as those who cannot afford to do an unpaid internship do not have the same job opportunities.ai??? (Intern in an inter-governmental organisation).

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I learned more than I had learned during my 4 years at university.

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Internship as a learning experience vs. exploitation

Even if you do enter the world of interns nothing is secure. Only 16% of respondents were offered a job with the host organisation as a result of their internship and only 26% found a job elsewhere. Moreover, most of the post-study interns take up internships just because they cannot find a job. Does this imply that the labour market is too demanding or is the practical education in formal education insufficient? ai???I learned more than I had learned during my 4 years at university.ai??? (Intern in a design company). The survey show us the two sides of internships. They can, on one hand, be a great opportunity for obtaining practical experience to complement the knowledge gained through formal education. On the other hand, they can lead to interns substituting paid workers, as an intern who did four internships explains ai???Employers know they can get away without paying interns a thing because graduates “need” the experience, and as a result employers expect someone starting an entry level job to know everything on their first day.ai???

A quality charter on internships is on its way

The results of the ai???Interns Revealedai??? survey were presented in the European Parliament on 20th September in partnership with MEP Emilie Turunen. A broad group of stakeholders and experts gathered for a final discussion and amendments to the final text of the European Quality Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships written by the European Youth Forum in cooperation with different partners and in consultation with its member organisations. The Charter to be handed over to the European Commission at a later stageAi?? is now open to signatures to gather additional support to the principles that it puts forward. The main success of this process has been that the European Commission has foreseen to come forward with a Quality Framework on Traineeships in 2012 and that this initiative is being supported by a growing number of Members of the European Parliament. So hopefully, the first step towards more quality internship in Europe will be made very soon.

Aleksandra Maldžiski

Aleksandra is from Belgrade, Serbia, currently living in Portugal. She was a school student activist and a Board member of OBESSU (Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions). During her studies of political science and journalism she did an intership at the Serbian national radio B92 on a political show co-produced by BBC. Aleksandra has been writing for the YO! Mag since 2010.
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