Many interns exploited as cheap or unpaid labor; Unacceptable, says student org.
Forty-four percent of HBO and university students do not receive an internship allowance. One in four also feel that they are used as regular employees without being paid fair compensation, according to a study by ResearchNed conducted on behalf of the Intercity Student Consultation (ISO).
Over 4,900 students completed a questionnaire for the study in March and April. According to the ISO, it showed that students experience their internship as an instructive and often essential part of their education. But interns' positions can still be improved, said the ISO.
For example, 19 percent of the survey participants indicated that they had too many responsibilities as an intern. "An internship may be challenging, but it cannot be the case that as an intern, you are saddled with a gigantic laundry list of tasks and responsibilities," said ISO chairwoman Lisanne de Roos.
According to the ISO, the lack of an internship allowance regularly presents students with problems. In the education and health sectors, the sectors where most internships are done, students are least likely to get an allowance. The ISO suspects that this is because the internship allowance is often not part of the collective bargaining agreement, leaving interns dependent on the employer's goodwill. "A full-time internship is often difficult or impossible to combine with a part-time job. Students find themselves in financial difficulties if they are forced to give up the income from their part-time job, and there is no compensation in place," said De Roos.
The ISO drew up a five-point plan to combat problems with internships. To prevent internship abuse - the use of interns as regular employees without paying them fair compensation - students must be able to discuss suspicions of this more easily with their institution. The ISO also wants the internship allowance to be mandatory. Institutions and employers must make the rights and obligations of interns clear. And they should invest in guidance. In order to gain more insight into internships in higher education, the ISO also argued for continuous monitoring of the offer, quality, and supervision of internships.
Reporting by ANP