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Internships and Volunteering in Europe

A Precarious Way to Professionalization

Sylvie Contrepois    Centre de Recherches Sociologiques et Politiques de Paris, CRESPPA-CSU, France    



The idea to professionalize studies has gradually emerged as the best way to overcome youth unemployment across Europe. Amongst the different schemes developed from the ’80s, internships appear to have been favoured by employers and have grown significantly. However the effective contribution these schemes are making to training is contested, while interns employment terms and condition are often denounced. The research presented in this paper explores and compares interns situations in six countries – France, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Spain and United Kingdom – and put into perspectives the different demands raised by social actors in this particular field. It is based on a systematic collection of available statistical data, a comparative analysis of national legislation and a dozen of case studies conducted in the six countries. This research was founded by the European Commission DG employment and social affairs.


Keywords: ProfessionalizationWorking conditionsYouth unemploymentInternships

Copyright: © 2017 Sylvie Contrepois. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.