Internships, or stages, are an ideal way to gain familiarity with the workplace and start picking up the skills required, the VVS said. “But the stages have to be of a certain quality,” commented chair Michiel Horsten. “All too often interns are treated like cheap labour, which has little or no value for them. A stage is only of use if there is a link to the education. A journalism student is not going to do a stage in order to make the coffee. The aim is for students to get as many opportunities as possible to really do the things they have learned during their education.”
But higher education establishments are “missing the boat” on the value of stages, VVS said. At present, students following professional courses routinely follow stages, which even sometimes lead to jobs. But in the more academic disciplines, such as history, stages are very rare. However, the new two-year Master’s degree, which doubles the time needed for a Bachelor graduate to gain a Master’s – is the ideal chance for universities and colleges to begin offering a wider range of stages, the VVS said.