Support to the UK universities taking a stand against unpaid internships

24.01.2014
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Dear

University of Arts London
Falmouth University
Kingston University
University of Creative Arts, and
Goldsmiths, University of London

The European Youth Forum and the European Students’ Union are very pleased to note that you have decided to take a stand against the growing issue of unpaid internships by refusing to advertise unpaid internships to your students.

The European Youth Forum and the European Students’ Union believe that internships can be a very valuable experience for young people in their transition from education to the labour market. However, certain quality criteria have to be achieved in order to ensure that this experience is useful, fair and accessible for all young people.

These quality criteria are outlined in the European Quality Charter for Internships and Apprenticeships. As the Charter states, internships should ideally take place within the framework of formal education, in which case, reimbursement must be offered to students for the costs incurred throughout their internship.

However, for internships that take place outside the framework of formal education, remuneration is imperative.  The European Youth Forum and the European Students’ Union believe that unpaid internships are a form of social discrimination. Interns must be paid for the work they carry out throughout an internship in order to ensure that all young people, regardless of their social and financial background, can have access to such an experience. Remuneration should not be below the EU poverty line of 60% national median income or national minimum wage. This aligns with UK national minimum wage legislation, which states that an intern that is classified as a worker is entitled to receiving the national minimum wage for work carried out.

The European Youth Forum and the European Students’ Union would like to congratulate your universities for taking such a stand against unpaid internships. We strongly encourage more education providers, job advertising sites and recruitment companies in the UK and in the rest of Europe to take such action in order to encourage internship providers to offer internships that are educational, paid and do not discriminate against certain sectors of the youth population.

We remain available for any support you may need in promoting quality internships for young people.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Matjašic
President, European Youth Forum
Rok Primožic
Chairperson, European Students’ Union

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