InternsGoPro is a social enterprise with the aim to become the reference for quality internships and entry-level jobs in Europe and give visibility to best employers through the European Label for Quality Internships. It has the mission to boost youth employment and promote internships that truly help students & graduates develop skills and get a job.
Youth unemployment and young people’s living conditions are worsening as it is harder and harder to find permanent, good quality jobs. Internships have a key role to play in boosting youth employment as they became essential in bridging the skills gap between education and the labour market. Undeniably, internships are a growing trend and are becoming structural in the labour market; the job pyramid, in many industries, often doesn’t start at entry level; it starts at internship. There are now 4.5 million young people doing an internship every year in Europe1.
Yet, concerns have arisen in recent years owing to the quality of the trainings received. Various studies and surveys have found that quality problems affect a significant share of traineeships, most particularly those where no educational or training institution is directly responsible for the learning content and the working conditions of the traineeship. Indeed, according to official data2 59% of internships are unpaid, 40% of interns work without a contract and more strikingly 30% of internships have poor or no learning content.
The poor educational content of internships and thus their failure to provide skills and real professional value prevents many young people from landing to a job and easily lead them to a phenomenon of accumulation of internships and precariousness.
Not to mentioned that un(der)paid internships tend to close off opportunities for people coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. High-quality and prestigious internships leading to jobs favor young people who come from affluent or relatively wealthy families and can afford to work for free. This results in depriving the less socioeconomically fortunate students of such opportunities, and it promotes greater inequality by having the top economic tier becoming less and less diverse.
Unfortunately, decision-makers have been slow to recognize this as an issue and the Quality Framework for Traineeships adopted by the European Council last year did little to remedy the situation. It included no proposals that require internship providers to pay their interns or offer them access to social protection, perpetuating the status quo that internships are not accessible to all young people and thus a form of social discrimination.
As a social enterprise standing for youth employment, InternsGoPro strongly advocates to make internships a valuable stepping stone into quality jobs for all young people.
So how do we create change where decision-makers have failed to do so? Today’s internet hyperconnectivity is generating a new currency: data – open data. Open data increases awareness and coordination, creates new opportunities for innovation, and strengthens inclusion, participation and ultimately human well-being.
Digital technologies are particularly well suited to helping civic action: mobilising large communities, sharing resources and spreading power. Internsgopro is part of a growing movement of social innovators that is now developing inspiring digital solutions to social challenges.
Through our website, young people are invited to rate their internship to create transparency on the labour market and enable their peers to make the best career choice by the exchange of information generated by the platform. However, these data are also used to drive ethical behaviours from employers through transparency and our online reputation mechanism. Based on the best practices in the field, we reward the best employers with the European Label for Quality Internships.
The European Label for Quality Internships has been designed to showcase the best employers for youth in all industries and for the whole of Europe. By becoming a Certified Employer for Quality Internships, organisations can simultaneously boost their branding; improve their HR performance and publicly demonstrate their Corporate Social Responsibility.
Our theory of change is that employers need to be convinced that providing quality internships is nor expensive nor difficult to achieve. Showcased employers through the label provide further incentives demonstrating the benefits of offering quality internships.
Moreover, the data we accumulated so far reinforced our advocacy work at the institutional levels through the European Interns’ Day, a European campaign lead by 20 youth NGOs for better youth rights on the labour market.
In conclusion, thanks to the network effect and our online platform, we have enabled a bottom-up action, generating data and awareness for better internship practices and better youth labour policies. We want to demonstrate that the fight against youth unemployment is also played at the digital level and can only be won by finding innovative ways of including employers.