Working Program against Internship Discrimination

What does it entail?

The aim of the work program is to normalise the conversation about internship discrimination by connecting education, the field of work and students. To then use that connection to focus on concrete actions that contribute to preventing internship discrimination, rather than just counteracting it. The student’s experience, supported by research examples, is an important starting point. How can we get the student to act proactively, without making them responsible for the problem? And how can we further concretize the commitment and ambition of students, institutions, and employers to eliminate internship discrimination in actions at individual, local, institutional, and systemic levels?

Course of program

The program consists of several phases. These are not entirely sequential, but rather complementary to each other. Thus, there is a constant balance between listening and retrieving in order to actively ask for “what works.

In the coming period, efforts will include raising awareness of the complexity surrounding the issue of internship discrimination. The work program focuses on the three different groups involved: students, education professionals (teachers and internship coordinators), and employers. In this way, the complexity of the problem can be approached by the different parties involved. A constant connection is sought between the three in order to solve individual problems by translating to an institutional and systematical level.

In addition, the work program is about sharing knowledge and facilitating dialogue – both at the national and regional levels. This is because the context in which shareholders operate is leading. After all, there is no such thing as one type of employer: they differ in size, private/public, type of industry, and the degree of shortage. The same applies to institutions (what collaborations are there already from faculties and programs with the professional field, and how does the institution now deal with the problem from that stratification?) and students (what does the path to making a report of internship discrimination look like, and especially: what is done with those reports?).


Regional meetings are organized to retrieve which programs and best practices work, and whether they are comparable to contexts in other regions. In this way, effective improvement actions, such as ‘Gelijke stagekansen in Den Haag’, for example, are shared. These are actions based on existing measures, but also by actively developing new practices and insights. Think of explicit actions such as trainings, learning lines, and facilitating dialogues or strengthening knowledge on themes within internship discrimination such as microaggressions and color-conscious acting. In this way, education professionals and employers are supported and activated in addressing internship discrimination. In addition, institutional procedures for reporting and discussing internship discrimination are made better known.

In the summary of the work program, you can learn about the actions that ECHO will implement in cooperation with shareholders over the next 4 years.

The work program was drawn up by ECHO, Diversity Policy Expertise Centre with input from the manifesto’s signatories, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. To implement the work program, ECHO deploys its own knowledge, experience and scientific studies. The work program is a document in progress: in consultation with the working group, additional measures may be added or changes made to the manifesto.

About ECHO: Since 1994, ECHO has been working on social issues and policies aimed at diversity, inclusion and against exclusion.

Kick-off Working rogram against internship discrimination

On January 26, 2023, the kick-off of the Work program against internship discrimination in higher education took place at Inholland University of Applied Sciences, The Hague. The work program concretizes the joint ambition of the VH (universities of applied sciences), UNL (universities of applied sciences), student organizations ISO and LSVb, the ministries of OCW and SZW, and employer organizations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland to join forces in tackling internship discrimination at universities of applied sciences and universities. This ambition was turned into action after the aforementioned organizations signed the manifesto against internship discrimination in higher education last summer. By signing the manifesto, the organizations are jointly expressing responsibility for combating internship discrimination, each in its own way.

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