Overqualified graduates desperately seek internships

Article published on Feb. 5, 2010
Article published on Feb. 5, 2010
They would be willing to pay to work: from the private sector to the European institutions, interns are the only category of 'workers' that we rarely hear complain. This is the story of the debate organised by cafebabel.com Brussels in the Belgian capital

Internships are the first step into the world of work for a new generation of graduates. For employers, short term professional immersion has long been an excellent opportunity to benefit from a cheap (often free) and enthusiastic helping hand. In Brussels, perhaps more than elsewhere, the competition between overqualified young graduates is intense. For those who aspire to build a career here, nowadays an internship is an integral part of their career plan. At the time of the 'Stagiaires Therapy, the crisis goes, the interns stay' debate, cafebabel.com Brussels met up with a number of the interns and ex-interns of the European capital. Between enthusiatic and ambitious, and exploited and weary, the interns present represented the full range of conditions that interns face in the eurosphere.

The most important thing is to have a chance to learn

Nearly everyone around the table has at least one internship under their belt. In the current economic climate, the duration spent between starting your first internship and finishing your last has lengthened, and many of this generation of graduates wait almost two years before getting a first salaried job. Of course, everyone agrees that aside from the matter of compensation, the most important thing is to have a chance to learn. But in reality, we've lost count of the number of interns we've met with a master's degree who are stuck making coffee or photocopying.

To read the full article by Pablo Mombo and Mana Livardjani, visit the cafebabel.com Brussels blog