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Cheap labour? The endless internship treadmill

New graduates are increasingly having to apply for multiple internships – often unpaid - to get their first regular full-time job. (RTS/

24-year-old Camille has a Masters in international relations, with distinction. She studied for five years and speaks four languages. After completing 12 months of internships without earning any money, she really wants to get a paid job, but it’s tough. As a result of her two unpaid internships, Camille was forced to return to live with her parents again. Since then she hasn’t earned any money, and as her internships didn’t count as work for the unemployment insurance, she can’t claim unemployment benefit either.

31 years old Thomas has a similar story. He has a bachelors degree in arts history and a masters in history and international relations. He studied for seven years but all he has got so far is work as an intern.

Interns have become the new face of precarious employment: young, overqualified graduates moving from one internship post to the next – often unpaid – in the hope of securing their first regular full-time job. This problem is particularly acute in so-called International Geneva.


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