Workshop on European Criteria for Quality Internships 

Internships play a key role for young people’s integration into the labour market. They are essential in bridging the skills gap between education and work. However, a large portion of internships does not fulfil their purpose as they are badly or poorly designed. Many initiatives and legislations have sprung up around Europe to provide a quality framework and guarantee the professional development of interns. Nevertheless, the proliferation of various quality frameworks leads to a lack of credibility and hinders the mobility of young professionals as different standards may apply in different countries, making it more difficult to easily identify quality internships.

In order to address this issue, CEN WS 95 has developed a quality framework for internships, by mapping and comparing legislations related to internships in the EU member states and by identifying good practices to ensure the quality of an internship. Apprenticeships are excluded from the scope of this work.

As a result of this work, CWA 17541:2020 on ‘European Criteria for Quality Internships’, published on 3 June 2020, defines terms and concepts related to internships, a quality framework for internships, quality criteria, and best practices.

The document is intended for a wide variety of actors, such as companies, the public sector and other host organisations, individuals interested in or taking part in internships (either for students or non-students), higher education institutions, public authorities (including quality insurance agencies) and organisations working on quality for internships. This agreement intends to set quality criteria and guidelines for effective and quality internships (both during and outside of education, and at national and transnational level), to guide the concerned parties and to simplify the internship process for every type of structure. It presents recommendations, not requirements: therefore, its character is voluntary. This paper covers internships within the EQF2 (European Qualification Framework) level 5 and above and ISCED3 level 5 and above 4.

This work is the result of the SPRINT project, based on the Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union.

For more information, you can consult the CWA on European Criteria for Quality Internships or contact Christina THORNGREEN.