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Green light for quality internships in the EU

By Lucia Sobeková

On 10 March, the European Council gave a green light to quality internships across the EU by adopting the Recommendation on Quality Framework to improve quality of traineeships. The legislation promises more transparency and better conditions for young trainees across the European countries.

Over past two decades, traineeships became the important step in transition from studies to employment for many Europeans. The newly adopted framework should strengthen the purpose of internships, as it considers a traineeship as an investment to further education. By clarifying the learning aspects, it expects to boost the possibilities of a young person to obtain regular job contact after having successfully completed quality internship. Moreover, it strongly condemns using trainees as a free or cheap source of labour.

The legislation sets the measures for member states to increase transparency in traineeship conditions, obliging the employers to establish a written traineeship agreement for such positions. To guarantee the quality of apprenticeship, the contract should clearly state the learning content and objectives of the opening, as well as the working condition of the trainee. Any vacancy notice should disclose the information whether traineeship is paid or compensated otherwise.

Quality framework for internship was one of the priorities of the Youth Guarantee adopted in April 2013. As the figures of Eurobarometer survey on the quality of traineeships  revealed in November 2013, almost a half of young European has done a traineeship. High number of them indicated that they have completed several traineeship experiences. The findings go deeper to the conditions of the traineeship, underlining that only 6 out of 10 traineeships were based on written contract and receive any financial compensation for their apprenticeship. Only a quarter of trainees receive an offer for regular employment after their internship.

The new rules are expected to boost the interest and the offer of transnational internship experience, as the harmonisation of conditions should simplify the process of becoming a successful candidate for the desired position abroad.

One of the priorities of AEGEE is to promote quality apprenticeship as well as to combat youth unemployment. Europe on Track 2 will focus also on alternatives ways for young people to lead them out from long-term unemployment and provide with decent start of their professional lives.

Europe on Track 2 welcomes the adoption of the Quality Framework to improve quality of traineeships and call on member states to take quick response and implement the legislation in national settings.

Read full decision of the European Council here.