There is a Quality Framework on Traineeships in place across Europe, which recommends that trainees should be able to acquire high-quality work experience under safe and fair conditions. However, the issue of unpaid internships still appears to affect young people across Europe, with some people calling for them to be made illegal. Considering the economic crisis, what are the alternatives for young people who need work experience? Can employers be persuaded to pay their interns a living wage?

Ideas

The solution for me seems rather simple. Either it's a volunteer or an intern. An intern should get paid, at least 50-60% of the minimum wage or more, the remaining 40-50% of the salary is the cost of training and teaching. The cost of living in a particular city should be taken into consideration. As for internships at NGOs they should also be remunerated if the NGO's budget allows it, otherwise the position should be intern-volunteer. I understand that the employer has to spend time helping the intern or teaching them some skills or correcting their work, but still, an intern does perform some work and this work should be remunerated. A situation in which an employer takes on an intern only to have some "free workforce", which is quite often the case, should be prohibited. A new legal instrument of "internship contract" should be introduced, that would specify obligations of the parties, including minimum remuneration imposed by the law.
First of all, we need to have a clearer definition of what an internship is. It shuold be a period of time in which you have a real training and the work you do is clearly related to this training. Today many "internships" don't follow this definition. But, even if we follow this definition, we need to take into account that it is still complicated to make sure that companies do not abuse of young people in need of work experience. A few suggestions to solve that: - Companies cannot have more that a percentage of working hours done by interns. For example, 10%: if you need 10 people working full time, yuo can only have one intern working full time (and you need to train that intern first). - Obligation to pay a minimum. MAybe not the minimal wage but, let's say, 60% of the minimal wage to compensate costs such as opportunity cost (yuo could be studying instead of doing that internship), transportation, food...
Official ranking of companies that use internships. Rating the quiality of the internships they offer depending on economic compensation, training, feedbacks, European promotion (vacancies for international European people, projects that contribute on different European countries...), etc. Filtered by region, industry and size of the organizations. Besides, small companies that offer good quality internships should receive special support for paying internships.
What is internship? Internship is where you dont work for payment but for skill aquisition. In reality a person gets exploited, in return now you can work as a waiter from all the coffe that you brought to the table. What do young people actually need? This generation needs to be able to create their own job opportunities with the help of an expert who can guide them through the difficulties. tl;dr internships are a waste of time better to work with young people and create something.
Is matter of choice of people to go for unpaid internships. Of course somebody will say they are forced by situation, they don't have other oportunities, and youngsters are victims of a system. But... Maybe is time to stop to act like firefighters, who just try to fix the effects, not the causes. I will start with educational system that needs an adjustment according to our days situation. We need more competitive generations of future full rights europeans, otherwise Europe will be soon just "the old lady". European Union have great programs for youth (Erasmus+, Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, Youth Guarantee). These programs just should be adjusted for more flexibility and promoted more. Promotion - just little part of younsters know about EU youth oriented programs, and even fewer about entrepreneurial oriented ones. Quality oriented programs will be very helpful. For example EVS, is a very good program for volunteering (a great alternative to unpaid internships), but is oriented on NEETs, and is not interesting for higly qualified gratuated persons. Europe 2020 and Europe 2030 targets are very promising, but without high quality european economy can not face competition from Asia and very soon from Africa. High qouality of products is conected to high quality of education...so...Quality and promotion of what we already have.
Making unpaid internships illegal sounds like a great idea but it has its flaws. Many organisations, especially NGOs or firms in the creative brance, could probably not afford to pay interns although their work enhances the organisation's output. An obligatory payment might also reduce the internship offers overall. With the introduction of the minimum wage in Germany, companies tend to take only students as interns as they do not have to pay them. An internship after university as a start off into the job has become more difficult. Maybe legal measures for every firm should not be the first step. There could be a "bad-reputation"-campaign for companies not paying interns. Big companies, however, who can definitely afford paying interns should be legally obliged to do so.
I personally like the idea of job-shadowing, following a person in a job you'd like to do for a day. Of course it does not give the experience a several month long internship gives you, but you could do this with several people in an institution for a week. It also helps people to evaluate if they would like to do a certain work and it gives them more expertise to talk about a certain job and their ability to do it. It is also less exploitive than a month long unpaid internship where you are often not allowed to do much anyway. Payed internships would then be the next step, once you know what you want to go for.
I suggest to not pay any kind of intern and force employers to give to the trainee an indemnity which is the equal amount of money in accordance to the classification of the occupied function. That way, employers would not pay any kind of charges on wages and the trainee would taste the real side of having a job
You can't control the performance of the intern or the company. But if the company is getting money from a cliente because their providing a service/product etc...then the intern should also. Its only fair that this happens. Forbid unpaid internships. The "alternative" is getting paid. Simple. In Portugal there is a law that allows companies to NOT pay for 3 month internships as long a they pay for a food allowance and transportation. Guess what. Some don't even do that, abuse of extra hours and replace the work of freelancers/other resources with those interns. It cheap or free labourers...and dispose of them after the 3 months. Simple, isn't it? Whatever is the work should be paid or else it's called "voluntary work" or charity but that is something very different.

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