Wednesday May 24, at ROC Mondriaan, the Hague Manifesto Equal Internship Opportunities was signed by all participating parties from the region. From The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Executive Board member Arend Hardorff was present: "Of course we signed this manifesto. One of the spearheads in our strategy is that students get opportunities with us that they would not otherwise get. And we make every effort to develop their potential. The internship is an important stage in their development, where discrimination can and should never be a bottleneck that hinders development."
Actions speak louder than words
This manifesto, like The Hague's Equal Internship Opportunities approach, is action-oriented. This means that all parties involved (Hogeschool Inholland, THUAS, ROC Mondriaan, Municipality of The Hague, VNO-NCW Region The Hague, MKB The Hague, DBB and ELBHO) by signing the manifesto commit themselves to work towards realizing equal internship opportunities and eliminating internship discrimination in the region of The Hague. Wondering exactly what this means? Check out the manifesto here.
Equal opportunities for all students
THUAS colleagues Ercan Büyükçifçi (Senior Advisor Inclusion) and Naomi van Stapele (Lecturer Inclusive Education), among others, were closely involved in the creation of the manifesto. Ercan explains: "Over the past period, I have been working with various colleagues inside and outside our college on inclusive education, with a special focus on internship discrimination. With numerous workshops and thematic meetings we created even more awareness. We also adjusted our internship agreement by paying explicit attention to discrimination and other undesirable behavior. And within the 'Hague Approach to Equal Internship Opportunities' we’re working with various partner educational institutions, the municipality of The Hague and other organizations on common challenges and solutions. We’re doing everything possible to eliminate internship discrimination. The Hague Manifesto Equal Internship Opportunities is another step in the right direction, meant to keep each other on their toes in promoting equal opportunities for our students."
The importance of a good internship
An internship is the first step to a successful career. But unfortunately, it does not come naturally to every student. Research shows that internship discrimination not only impacts students' self-confidence and well-being, but also contributes to study delays, dropping out and a difficult start in the job market. Naomi adds: "In our research with students on internship discrimination, it emerges that especially Islamophobia and anti-black racism play a major role in the Hague region. With this research, we want to support the municipality, as well as institutions and employers in The Hague as best we can with insights on exactly where interventions are needed."
The Internship Point: for and by students
Within THUAS we are committed to fight internship discrimination. That’s why in September 2022 the Stagepunt (Internship Point) was established, an initiative for and by students. Stagepunt is committed to equal internship opportunities and offers support on topics such as networking, language, applying and internship discrimination. Caroline Draper, project leader of Stagepunt: "With the establishment of Stagepunt a hotline was launched at the same time, so that reports of internship discrimination can be followed up with the necessary sense of urgency and vigor. It is also up to study counselors, internship coordinators, teachers and confidants to stay vigilant when a student could use additional support. They play a key role in referring a student to the right office within The Hague. Together, both within THUAS and externally, we are responsible for creating a safe learning environment for our students.