Internships are becoming more common in our economies, but their role is increasingly debated and (sometimes) criticized. Despite their origin as tools aimed at strengthening the individuals’ skills and facilitating the transition between education and work, they have often been accused of having become both a way for businesses to acquire low-cost workforce and another form of precarious work. This paper aims at contributing to this debate through the analysis of the internship agreements and training projects stipulated in the Province of Bologna in 2012. It will show that it is extremely difficult to give a clear answer to the question whether internships represent a chance for training or a form of exploitation. However, the analysis shows that there is a significant proportion of highly problematic placements, in low-demand areas of expertise, such as trade and catering, and highly repetitive jobs.
Curricular internships. Extra-curricular internships. Training; Exploitation. Unpaid work.