International Interns Day 2020

Today, on International Interns Day, organisations around the globe, and especially from Europe, raise awareness about the precarious working conditions that many interns continue to face.

Resulting from an initiative led by the European Youth Forum together with InternsGoPro, and with the European Commission’s support, the International Interns Day is commemorated every year on November 10 since 2015 to raise awareness to the working conditions of interns, and young people by extension.

This year is particularly important to shed light on working conditions of interns: Young people have been among the ones most hit by the coronavirus pandemic, since they are overrepresented in atypical working contracts and in the unprotected platform economy and often work in the sectors most hit by the economic crisis (such as retail or tourism) with difficulties accessing social protection schemes.

Furthermore, working students usually use their summer breaks to work on sectors such as tourism, and save money to pay for their next academic year. This was impossible in 2020, with far reaching consequences for their lives.

On a positive note, the European Parliament approved last month a resolution calling for a ban on unpaid internships. Even if the resolution of the European Parliament was non-legislative, it represents an important element for youth rights and puts the European Parliament as a champion for youth employment. A ban of unpaid internships would be an important step in tackling precarious working conditions for many young people. It would not only empower interns to take ownership of their learning outcomes in their workplaces, but would also tackle their social exclusion and widen opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

CESI Youth Representative, Matthäus Fandrejewski commented: “The CESI Youth has been calling for many years for a ban on unpaid internships, traineeships and apprenticeships, so we are very satisfied to see that the European Parliament has been listening. This year has been truly hard for young people, who have been among the ones most affected in terms of mental health. This is some light in the end of the tunnel for us. We are now keeping an eye on the Council’s actions. It is of utmost importance to prevent a lost generation!”

Watch here the video of the recent online conference “Preventing a Lost Generation 2.0”, co-organised by the CESI Youth with StartNet and the European Youth Forum, with the participation of the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, MEP Kira Peter Hansen, and the Head of Unit for Social Policies at Eurofound, Massimiliano Mascherini.