This paper aims to evaluate internships in terms of governance structures. Internships are being promoted as a European Union policy lever to address high youth unemployment. However, concerns exist that internships often have few developmental opportunities and poor employment outcomes, something this conceptual paper examines.
The authors develop a conceptual framework for distinguishing between different types of internships based on “dimensions of governance” (contract, agreed duration and partnership). A distinction is made between “open market”, “educational” and “active labour market policy” internships, drawing on examples and evidence from Spain and Portugal.
The authors argue that “governed” internships, linked to educational programmes or genuine active labour market policies, are much more likely to have beneficial outcomes than “open market internships”. This is because they provide the positive governance conditions relating to contract, duration and partnership arrangements under which employers, interns and third parties understand how they can benefit from the internship and what their responsibilities are.
The strength of the paper lies in outlining an analytical framework for future research. The evidence presented from Spain and Portugal provides support for the conceptual framework; future comparative internship research should further test the propositions made across a range of countries and contexts.
By increasing understanding of internship governance, employers, policymakers and educationalists will be in a better position to design successful internships.
The paper broadens the focus beyond educational internships alone and proposes a conceptual framework for future research.
The research on which this article was written was supported by a grant from the Santander Business Research Fund. The authors also acknowledge European Union 7th Framework funding for the project “Strategic Transitions for Youth Labour in Europe”, which will further examine the issues raised by this paper (see www.style-research.eu).
Lain, D., Hadjivassiliou, K., Corral Alza, A., Isusi, I., O’Reilly, J., Richards, V. and Will, S. (2014), "Evaluating internships in terms of governance structures: Contract, duration and partnership", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 588-603. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-04-2013-0044Download as .RIS
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