Cross-border internships in the Mheuse Rhine Euregion

Cross-border internships in the Mheuse Rhine Euregion

ITEM recently started a research project about cross-border internships in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion. The aim of this project is to make an inventory of the success factors or obstacles for students wanting to do an internship in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion.

The research is particularly aimed at institutions of senior secondary vocational education (MBO). Commissioned by the Meuse-Rhine Euregion and EURES, this project will be carried out and led by ITEM's 'ontgrenzer' Martin Unfried between March 2017 and July 2017.

The five partner regions of the Meuse-Rhine Euregion have been collaborating for years in order to promote cross-border internships.

Even though students at the senior secondary vocational level (MBO) can choose from many internships within the Euregion, only a small number of them actually cross the border. While the overall number of students doing an internship abroad is growing, the Meuse-Rhine Euregion, which has more international than national borders, shows hardly any growth in the number of students doing an internship in the neighbouring countries Germany and Belgium. As a result, many internship vacancies remain open in these countries, constituting a missed opportunity for the cross-border labour market.

Several previous projects were initiated around the theme of euregional cross-border internships: Linguaclusters, projects around Euregion competency/certificates, the Learning Euregion (Rhine-Waal), Xperience (Rhine-Meuse-North) and Eurfriends (Meuse-Rhine). Establishing a sustainable structure for cross-border internships has remained difficult despite the initiation of these various INTERREG projects.

It is assumed that there are a number of fundamental obstacles in terms of:
    -the different qualification standards
    -the various definitions of an internship
    -the cultural and language barrier and the motivation of pupils and students
    -cross-border transport
    -funding.

This new ITEM research project is financed by EURES and the Meuse-Rhine Euregion and will be carried out between March and July 2017. Various surveys and interviews will be conducted in cooperation with institutions of senior secondary vocational education (MBO) in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion.