Employers are not interested in quotas to combat trainee discrimination

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May 4, 2022 † Recently, the National Coordinator for Discrimination and Racism issued a call to combat trainee discrimination by allowing companies to hire a predetermined number of students. Employers believe that this plan goes too far and want to preserve the freedom of choice.

Employers are not interested in quotas to combat trainee discrimination
Photo: Christina Morillo

Internship discrimination is an ongoing problem, as became clear last year when a number of Randstad vocational colleges arranged a meeting on this. Students become insecure when they repeatedly fail to receive a response to an application letter. Sometimes students with a non-Dutch surname have to write hundreds of letters to be invited for interview. If the same students subsequently apply for jobs in the same company under a Dutch name, they will be invited, as it turned out during this meeting.

Students experience unequal opportunities

The Danish Education Authority has also recently found in the state of education that practice discrimination remains a problem. For example, it seems that students experience unequal opportunities, especially when looking for an internship. Students with a migration background must write more application letters and apply further to find an internship than students without a migration background, the supervision has found.

According to the Danish Education Authority, this is a task for the management of the educational institutions. Boards and courses must contribute to this and ensure that students share if they have been subjected to internship discrimination. In this way, we can jointly investigate how this can be prevented. One possible solution is to set up student counters in the schools, where students can approach problems such as internship discrimination.

Three-quarters of students now do not discuss experiences of discrimination in their education. They have the feeling that a little is being done about it, and the students do not even know how the program could solve it. Only a limited number of reports are received each year at the Internship Discrimination Reporting Center.

Stop applying for an internship

The National Coordinator against Discrimination and Racism (NCDR), former Councilor Rabin Baldewsingh from The Hague, therefore wants something to be done about this latent racism in companies. He recently called racism in companies ‘persistent’ and therefore advocates stopping seeking internships. He suggests instead giving students an internship without having to apply.

NCDR also wants to apply anonymously, various application committees and trials with open employment complete. Bee open employment people are not hired based on their resume or diploma, but according to the application order.

Lisa Westerveld from GroenLinks, in response to Baldewsingh’s call from the Minister of Education, wants to hear about his predecessor Ingrid van Engelshoven’s proposal to start a pilot with direct location, where students are directly linked to an employer. According to Westerveld, it can also have a positive effect on the workload of higher education and vocational education.

Three weeks ago, PvdA and DENK also submitted a proposal in the Folketing, in which they asked the government to allocate internships with the government together with educational institutions. Minister of the Interior Anke Bruinslot requested that this proposal be postponed because NCDR will shortly present a work program in which he will specifically prepare the aforementioned proposals.

Are students still learning to apply?

SP and VVD also had reservations about this proposal from PvdA and DENK. “Is the best solution for internship discrimination to remove the internship interview? Also considering that we expect schools to teach students things such as job interviews? I’m just wondering if this tool is the best, also in terms of learning to apply for jobs, ”asked SP MP Peter Kwint.

VVD also has reservations about the proposal not to hold job interviews for an internship, said VVD MP Hatte van der Woude. “What I do know about companies is that they do not make such a conversation for fun. SMEs and smaller high-tech companies in particular really want to know who they are hiring. In these internships, we are not talking about completing courses. They have to work in a team, sometimes with very complex projects. Then you want to know if you are a good fit, maybe even for the future. ”

Soon, no one is getting an internship anymore

If the employers feel that they cannot test an intern, they can refrain from hiring interns and no one can find an internship at all, VVD believes.

The most powerful lobby in the country, VNO-NCW, is also not thrilled about directing students to companies without having to apply for jobs. According to the employers’ association, an internship is a moment in your life that you will soon forget. “It is clear that such a process must proceed smoothly and that no one must be disadvantaged or excluded on the basis of, for example, skin color, background or religion.”

VNO-NCW does not agree with Rabin Baldewsingh’s proposal. He therefore believes that schools should agree on a fixed number of internships with companies, without looking at graduates. I understand that he is proposing this to eliminate practice discrimination, but that is not the solution. ”

Tick ​​internships

This, according to employers, will provide checklists and will not fight discrimination. “If a school agrees on permanent places and places students there at random, they only tick internships. Discrimination is not removed. It also removes the freedom of choice for the intern; maybe he / she does not want to be part of a particular company at all. ”

According to VNO-NCW, it is therefore better to look at a wide network of recognized education companies, including higher vocational education. “This is already happening in upper secondary education, where it is seen that institutions, companies and students can discuss matters they encounter in practice. If it is quite clear that an employer discriminates, then it loses the quality label ‘recognized internship company’. HBO could also use this system. ”

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