Too much for too little… the death of a Bank of America intern must herald reform of the internship industry


This letter from the European Youth Forum has been widely circulated around various business in Brussels. The tragic death of Moritz Erhardt, a German student who was working at Bank of America as part of a summer internship programme, has sparked huge debate over the exploitation of young graduates in Europe especially as a consequence of the economic crisis.

I republish this letter as a symbol of sympathy and understanding towards those who are discussing the issue on a multinational level and investing their efforts in raising awareness about the hard life of young job seekers in time of crisis.

Dear Editor,

Many young people across Europe are undertaking internships in order to acquire new skills. Internships provide young people with a great opportunity to get first hand experience of the world of work. For students in particular, internships can provide the crucial stepping stone between education and employment.

However, there is evidence that the quality of internships varies across the EU in terms of learning outcomes, involvement of the intern, access to social benefits and remuneration. It is deeply concerning to see extreme cases as the one reported in the article mentioned above. The death of this young person after having been exploited and abused while completing his internship in a big company is totally unacceptable.

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