Internship Culture in Berlin


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This presentation contains:
- The internship definition, German and America law, problematic points, case studies from across the world, stats, and solutions.
- Berlin startups' business model visualisation and the analysis.
- A lot of visual material such as: infographics, research data, comics, photo and video.

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Internship Culture in Berlin

  1. 1. Know your rights! Internship culture in Berlin Presentation by: Katja Petrova E-mail:
  2. 2. Definition In the beginning of the 20th Century an internship used to refer only to medical students, who did paid internships, even though it was a truly unpleasant job. In the end of the 20th Century an internship became a short educational program (1-2 months) during the studies, where a student was meant to shadow the workers in order to watch and learn the company’s business flow. Such interns had a mentor to navigate them around. In the 21st Century many internships turned into a new form of young labor exploitation, because many employers understood that this is a good way to save money. This new discipline meant that the interns are mostly graduates with good technical skills and understanding of the full time working structure. Video on unpaid interns Video “Enough is enough” Video “Generation strike”
  3. 3. American Law 1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment. 2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern. 3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff. 4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded. 5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship. 6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
  4. 4. German Law Urteile Das Arbeitsgericht Berlin ( Datum: 08.01.2003, Az. Az: 36 Ca 19390/02 ) hat zur immer öfter festzustellenden Ausnutzung der Arbeitsmarktsituation seitens der Arbeitgeber durch Abschluss sog. "Praktikumverträge" Stellung genommen. Danach liegt ein Arbeitsverhältnis und kein Praktikum vor, wenn nicht der Erwerb praktischer Kenntnisse und Erfahrungen, sondern die Erbringung von Arbeitsleistung im Vordergrund steht. ( Small companies, with 10 or less employees, do not fall under this law.
  5. 5. Download PDF
  6. 6. Where exactly is the problem? 1. Internships became longer (from 3 up to 18 months) 2. Mostly full time (no flexible hours) 3. Remain being un(der)paid 4. Non-educational but employee-replacing (and this is illegal!) 5. Exclude those from poor families (postpone their careers) 6. Internships which don’t exploit or teach, ask to make a coffee 7. Stop graduates from paying back their tuition fees 8. It’s not enough with just one internship 9. Un(der)paid interns aren’t protected by health and safety laws. 10. Their intellectual property goes to the employer. 11. Unpaid interns don’t receive a pension scheme.
  7. 7. Sarah Kendzior: Resource: “Survival is not only a matter of money, it is a matter of mentality - of not mistaking bad luck for bad character, of not mistaking lost opportunities for opportunities that were never really there.”
  8. 8. Financial survival “Unemployed college graduates are told that their predicament is their own fault. They should have chosen a more "practical" major, like science or engineering, and stayed away from the fickle and loathsome humanities. The reality is that, in the "jobless recovery", nearly every sector of the economy has been decimated. Companies have turned permanent jobs into contingency labour, and entry-level positions into unpaid internships. Changing your major will not change a broken economy.” (Sarah Kendzior)
  9. 9. Alexander Augustus & The Bite Back Movement –
  10. 10. Full infographic:
  11. 11. “Does experience pay your car insurance? Does experience pay your grocery bill? Unfortunately, no. Money pays the bills.” Trent M Kays
  12. 12. According to the 2011 European Parliament Committee on Petitions, in France and Germany alone an estimated 1.5 million people undertake an internship each year. A European Youth Forum Survey found that around half of Europe’s internships are unpaid, and 45 percent do not pay enough to support day-to-day living. New York Times
  13. 13. Psychological survival Sleepless nights. Am I good enough yet? How much more experience do I need?
  14. 14. This causes self-esteem drop.
  15. 15. College/university pressure
  16. 16. Shocking case studies and facts 1. Black Swan scandal 2. The death of 21-year-old German intern Moritz Erhardt, after working 72h straight in the Bank of America 3. Condé Nast, a division of Advance Publication, which prints include Vogue, GQ, Wired to mention a few, has stopped internship programs, after two former interns for W and the New Yorker sued Condé Nast for paying them less than a dollar an hour. 4. The British Film Institute has been accused of using unpaid interns to fill the gap after it axed nearly a fifth of its workforce
  17. 17. 5. In London over 50% of employers say they wouldn't give a job to a graduate with no experience, revealed a 2013 report. 6. For one former unpaid broadcasting intern at Phoenix Satellite Television U.S., that means not being able to bring a sexual harassment claim against her former supervisor, according to a Bloomberg BNA report. 7. It’s a deadlock. With not enough junior positions around, one usually is required to have 5 to 10 years of experience; does that mean 5 years of interning? For example, AirBnB is looking for a PR manager and requires to have BA and 6-10 years of experience.) 8. Some companies have gone too far, that they started offering internships for security guards and translators! 9. The Unite union has claimed that at least 15 of Britain’s biggest charities are illegally signing up unpaid interns. •For more media reports check Berlin Internship Justice Facebook Page
  18. 18. There are still employers who do not know what the internship meant to be.
  19. 19. Germany „Generation Y under pressure“ Erstens: Wer heute studiert, ist einem Lebenslaufdruck ausgesetzt wie keine Generation zuvor. Jahrelang trichterten Dozenten und Personalchefs den Studenten ein: Deutsche Absolventen sind zu alt, ihnen muss das Bummelstudium ausgetrieben werden. Sie sollen mit Bestnote abschneiden, Erfahrung im Ausland sammeln, eine zweite, besser eine dritte Fremdsprache beherrschen, Praktika absolvieren und sich nebenbei noch ehrenamtlich engagieren, denn das stärkt schließlich die Persönlichkeit. Kurz: Für einen Durchschnittsstudenten ist in der Arbeitswelt von heute kein Platz mehr.
  20. 20. „Meine Generation hat viele Namen: Generation Praktikum. Generation Burnout. Generation Altersarmut. Manche sagen, meine Generation sei doch selbst schuld und nur zu egoistisch und auf sich bezogen. Dass mit der Rente könnte man doch ganz leicht lösen, durch höhere Geburtenraten. Aber wann sollen wir denn bitte sehr Kinder bekommen? Während des Studiums mit Bachelor-Master-System vielleicht? Mit Anwesenheitspflicht, Regelstudienzeitdiktat und Studienkredit? Während des unbezahlten Praktikums? Vielleicht beim niedrig bezahlten Volontariat oder Ausbildung ohne Übernahmeaussicht mit Überstunden-Garantie? Oder zwischen zwei jobbedingten Umzügen weil wir ja so unglaublich flexibel und mobil für den Arbeitsmarkt sind? Wer zahlt uns den Karriereknick durch Kinderzeit? Was ist wenn man am Ende Alleinerziehend ist?“ •Little or NO money, NO career prospects - BUT happy: This is the conclusion of the internship report in 2012 by "”•
  21. 21. Report 2012 Only 1 in 5 interns get a full time offer
  22. 22. 8 STUNDED SIND Üblich, aber länger arbeiten alleine IST KEIN GRUND zum FRUST. Die durchschnittliche Arbeitszeit für Praktikanten liegt – den Bewertungen auf zufolge – bei ca. 8 Stunden und somit im zu erwartenden Bereich. Über 50 % der Praktikanten absolvieren einen normalen 8-stündigen und nur ca. 15 % einen längeren Arbeitstag. Knapp 10 % der Befragten arbeiten sogar weniger als 7 Stunden täglich. More statistics in German: “But the flipside of Germany's high employment rate is low-paid and unstable jobs.” (EU Observer) And the biggest problem is that there is no minimum wage. A company gets “Fair Company” label only if it pays an intern at least €670/m, says SPD and CSU insist on a minimum wage for all graduates, who are taking internships. Full article in German:
  23. 23. Silicon Berlin Underpaid Berlin interns are meant to boost the startups’ business. Unmotivated and tired one day they just give up. Collage by Katja Avant-Hard
  24. 24. Audio Recording from the article The Danger of offering unpaid internships in a startup
  25. 25. Not only big profit companies should pay, but also startups. All for-profit companies should pay. “There is no excuse, can’t pay don’t hire. This is a wrong business model, and you’re an amateur at best” – fighters for the intern rights. POOR, BUT SEXY. Photo: Patrick Conley, Berlin
  26. 26. In Berlin, 2010 the DGB youth has collected 60,000 signs for the petition against unfair internships, which do not educate, but exploit. They demanded the protection for interns. Full Article: When Die Zeit published the article “Generation Praktikum” in 2005, a scandal erupted. – ExBerliner. “81% of interns polled felt they had done the work of a regular employee,” says René Rudolf, the head of the DGB’s youth division, adding that he thinks this is now the established standard: “Too often, regular work is done by evernew interns. In many sectors, regular positions have disappeared and are filled by interns instead.” "Anyone who feels exploited as an intern, should seek legal advice” – says Johanna Bruckner. Earlier this year Mark Schenk wrote a non-application to Fair Wages Worldwide NGO oranisation saying that he cannot afford to work for €1,50/h.
  27. 27. “There is no way the Berlinale could subsist without interns – they make up a third of staff!” thinks Melitta, a cultural studies student who did a three-month internship in event management at the Berlinale Film Festiva.
  28. 28. Technische Universität Berlin. Rund 25.000 Studenten werden hier ausgebildet. Im Fachbereich Architektur machen allein dieses Jahr über 100 Studenten ihren Abschluss. Das Problem: Für die Architekten von morgen gibt es keine Stellen – unbezahlte Praktika dagegen reichlich. Student (2006): „Das ist für mich eine Ausbeutung. Eine ganz klare Ausbeutung von jungen, energischen, hoch qualifizierten Arbeitskräften, Studenten in diesem Fall, die Aufgabenbereiche übernehmen, die eigentlich einem gar nicht zustehen.“ ( „It‘s important to improve the situation for interns“ – says SPD
  29. 29. "If the internship is really bad, walk away” Fred Searle Video on How to Walk Away
  30. 30. Solutions 1. Know your rights, read the contract carefully 2. Rate your internship at and 3. Univerisities and colleges must provide a clear explanation on what is internship 4. Ban un(der)paid internship offers like Monster UK and Total Jobs did. Or like some London universities would refuse to advertise unpaid internships. 5. Fight! Speak out! Don’t be an internsheep! 6. Employer, avoid being sued by your interns by simply knowing the law and what the internship has to be!
  31. 31. Useful links: Germany 1. 2. 3. 4. The rest of the World 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
  32. 32. Berlin Internship Justice Katja Petrova: @waxmagenta