Manifesto against internship discrimination in higher education (in Dutch)

13 July 2022

Manifesto signed to combat internship discrimination

Text taken from the website of the Dutch government, click here for link.

13 July 2022. For many students in higher education, internship discrimination is everyday reality. They find it difficult to get an internship or face discrimination during an internship. Colleges, universities, the ministries of OCW and SZW, student organisations and employers today signed a manifesto to tackle internship discrimination. Students should be guided in such a way that everyone has an equal chance of getting an internship.

A student with a migration background for whom there is no place at an internship company, while a fellow student without a migration background is hired. Or a student who is rejected for an internship after telling about her non-heterosexual background. These are two examples of internship discrimination: inequality of opportunity in getting an internship placement or discriminatory statements during an internship. This occurs on the basis of identity characteristics such as colour, migration background, sexual orientation, gender, religion and disability.

Emotional impact

Research shows that internship discrimination is structural in nature and has a great emotional impact on students. This form of discrimination affects self-confidence and wellbeing in a negative way, increases the likelihood of study delays and dropping out early and also makes for a more difficult start in the labour market.

Joint approach

Stage discrimination can only be solved jointly. VH (universities of applied sciences), UNL (universities of applied sciences), student organisations ISO and LSVb, the ministries of OCW and SZW and employer organisations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland are therefore now joining forces. They are taking action by signing a manifesto against internship discrimination in higher education and a joint multi-year work programme. In it, the organisations express that they are jointly responsible for combating internship discrimination, and that each has its own way to help solve this complex issue.

In the period up to and including 2026, work will be done in cooperation with ECHO (Expertise Centre for Diversity Policy) on, among other things, increasing social awareness about internship discrimination. The aim is also to jointly develop effective improvement actions, both based on existing measures and by developing new practices.

Furthermore, students, education professionals and employers are trained, supported and activated in tackling internship discrimination. Specifically, this includes, for example, adequate guidance for students in seeking, finding and retaining internship placements, in order to give every student an equal chance of getting an internship placement. When supporting students and in the curriculum of institutions, attention is paid to internship discrimination. Procedures within educational institutions for reporting and discussing internship discrimination are better communicated.

In combating internship discrimination, employers also play an important role. Thus, the Bill on Monitoring Equal Opportunities in Recruitment and Selection will also apply to the recruitment and selection of trainees. To support employers, a connection is therefore sought with the VIA (Further Integration in the Labour Market) programme and the Labour Market Discrimination Approach, among others. This should promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The signatories consult regularly on the concrete elaboration of the manifesto, its progress and impact. In these consultations, they can jointly decide on additional measures and changes to the manifesto.

Minister Dijkgraaf (OCW): “Discriminatie in iedere vorm is onacceptabel. Actie tegen stagediscriminatie is nodig omdat het jongeren uitsluit van deelname aan de maatschappij en hen de kans op persoonlijke ontwikkeling en perspectief ontneemt. Voor mij is kansengelijkheid een topprioriteit en daarom wil ik stagediscriminatie hard aanpakken, zowel in het hoger onderwijs als in het mbo. Alleen samen kunnen we dit taaie probleem bestrijden. Het manifest in het hoger onderwijs is daarin een belangrijke stap. In het mbo is de afgelopen jaren al op diverse wijzen gewerkt aan het tegengaan van stagediscriminatie. Om de resultaten daar te verbeteren presenteer ik dit najaar een aanpak stagediscriminatie in het mbo, als onderdeel van het Stagepact. Het gaat om concrete acties en maatregelen die ik voor ogen heb om stagediscriminatie uit te bannen, zodat een goede en passende stageplek voor alle studenten beschikbaar is, ongeacht achtergrond of beperking. Ik betrek daarbij scholen, stage- en werkbegeleiders, leerbedrijven en vooral ook de studenten zelf.”

Minister Van Gennip (SZW): “Dat nog steeds veel studenten met een migratieachtergrond te maken krijgen met stagediscriminatie is onacceptabel en moet veranderen. Ik weet uit eigen ervaring dat organisaties, directies en teams beter functioneren wanneer deze bestaan uit een diverse samenstelling. Daarom ben ik blij met dit breed gedragen manifest tegen stagediscriminatie en kijk ik ernaar uit om de komende jaren grote stappen te zetten om dit tegen te gaan.”

The manifesto can be read here