Low or no pay, precarious social security, low-standard working conditions… This is what young people risk to get when choosing to do a traineeship. The European Parliament asked for quality standards for pay, working conditions and health and safety for trainees, in a resolution tackling youth unemployment and work abuse by companies.
I used to be a trainee long time ago, in a East-European country still in the communist block. Jobs were then often replaced by “traineeships”: as a trainee I worked as a teacher, as a mechanic and as a farmer. I worked hard, more than eight hours per day, and didn’t get any money. All I got was developing my skills – sometimes in fields I never worked in after.
Even nowadays, existing jobs are too often replaced by precarious forms of employment, with short-term and part-time contracts and unremunerated internships for the young Europeans. To prevent the exploitation of young people as cheap substitute labour, the European Parliament asked for quality traineeships with criteria for appropriate compensation, working conditions and health and safety standards.
Parliament also wants to make sure that traineeships are tailored to the needs of young people so they can develop relevant skills.
Internships at the European Parliament
I was never a trainee in the EU institutions, but I’ve met lots of them. They don’t lose their time at the Parliament. In my unit they learn pretty much everything we do: writing for the Parliament’s website, posting on Facebook, tweeting, participating to projects, even writing on this blog…
"Don‘t use the phrase ‘we are JUST the trainees’ when something bad happens to you… it leads nowhere"
To be able to do this they are well trained, they participate to most of the unit’s meetings, they follow plenary and committee meetings, they search for pics on Flickr, they make themselves a Facebook profile. They take responsibility for their work. “Don‘t use the phrase ‘we are JUST the trainees’ when something bad happens to you… it leads nowhere”, explained one of our ex-trainees earlier in “10 things (and more) we learned doing this traineeship” on this blog.
The classic traineeships in the Parliament are paid (EP offers a scholarship of 1213.55 euro per month). As the paid traineeships are limited in number and some schools require internships which are part of the school curriculum, the Parliament also offers training placements. These trainees may receive a monthly allowance of 300 euros (if they don't get a scholarship from their school). The training placements are limited in time.
© Photo “042/365 no-one cooks on the bank holiday” by David Telford, via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution