Fair internships a ‘win-win’ for young people and companies

Campaigner Alexandre Beddock outlines the action being taken to help young people whose first experience in the world of work is often a source of hardship.
Photo credit: Alexandre Beddock

By Alexandre Beddock

08 Nov 2018

The 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent implementation of austerity measures have made it harder for young people to enter the job market.

In a Europe where nearly one in five young people are unemployed, getting a first job has become increasingly difficult. In some cases, companies ask for years of experience or mastery of several languages.

Another way of replacing the labour force is by using interns. There are young people that do three, four or five internships before getting their first paid job.


According to some studies, of the 4.5 million interns in Europe, 3 million are unpaid – equivalent to the entire workforce of Denmark.

On the other hand, many employers offer their interns and young workers excellent working conditions and environment. They give them the possibility to grow, provide them with quality training and make full use of their potential.

Unfortunately, these companies and the best practices they promote do not yet enjoy the visibility they deserve.

“We spend huge costs on recruitment and struggle to retain our talents” are among the classic employers’ rants. Yet understanding the needs of their younger staff should be a concern for all companies.

“Of the 4.5 million interns in Europe, 3 million are unpaid – equivalent to the entire workforce of Denmark"

“Transparency at Work” is an open job-rating database that aims to help young people access better internships and employment, internationally and across all industries. The technology allows young people to review their work experience and search peer ratings.

The campaign is being co-led by the European Youth Forum, the leading organisation in Europe for youth rights.

Thanks to the tools of the “Transparency at Work” database, employers can also access detailed human resource reports and can put in place better management policies. They can also use the reviews they receive to attract new talents.

Companies such as Adecco, Abbott, the UK British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and WWF have all seen the benefits of being part of the campaign and have also supported the “InternsGoPro” initiative.

The set of criteria used by “Transparency at Work” for evaluations was co-created with companies, youth organisations and universities. In total, there are 23 indicators focusing on six criteria - remuneration, offer and contract, supervision and management, learning content, career development and contract as well as the working environment.

On November 9 - International Interns Day - “Transparency at Work” will celebrate its first anniversary and InternsGoPro, along with its partners, will publish details of the best-rated companies in Brussels, a first for the Belgium capital.

We need a guarantee of quality and trusted information on employers. Our purpose is to ensure equal opportunities for young people and a better transition from education to work. Rating a previous work experience need take only a few minutes.

If everyone does it, it will close the information gap and empower more young professionals. Employers can also get in touch and become part of the same initiative.

So, what are you waiting for? Go and rate at www.transparencyatwork.org.

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