Story telling – A convincing international internship report as an inspiration for business

Story telling stageverslag

08 February 2021

Interview with Jos van Erp, Dutch Employers Cooperation Programme DECP

Recently, the Dutch Employers Cooperation Programme (DECP)* has published the story book ‘An interesting internship. How employers’ organisations can take the lead’. This booklet was endorsed by CINOP and other organisations active in international skills development. It focuses on the value and modality of internships as a method for bridging the skills gap and it is written in a story-telling approach: a personal story of a fictional student who arranges his own internship with a national employers’ organisation in a fictional country: Baslacam.

In a short conversation, the author of the story, Jos van Erp – Deputy Director and Skills Development Advisor of DECP, explains that it was actually a spontaneous idea that arose in the beginning of the COVID19 time, when there was little opportunity to travel to DECP’s partner countries. The intention was to give a different interpretation to encouraging employers worldwide to offer internships to young people and to give these students the opportunity to qualify for the labour market. DECP wanted to offer an alternative to the many policy and research documents, and guidelines of international organisations that have appeared in recent years about the setting up and functioning of systems for internships and dual training.

This story is precisely about a personal experience that fits in with the conversations of employers’ organisations and their members, and focuses on the question: what can employers’ organisations and education mean for each other? The thread of this story is therefore the importance of small and bottom-up initiatives: the student who approaches an employers’ organisation to arrange an internship in which he conducts research on promoting in-company training for students from vocational education. All kinds of suggestions for the readers are made almost imperceptibly and in a very informal way. These are ultimately listed as takeaways at the end of the story and serve as inspiration for the target group of this story: employers’ organisations, the business community, educational institutions and students all over the world.

Some interesting takeaways include:

  • Worldwide technology changes rapidly. Curricula in schools cannot always keep up with those changes
  • People learn in the workplace while performing tasks and getting feedback from others
  • Employers’ organisations are able to analyse gaps of skills because their members have up-to-date knowledge regarding competence needs
  • Concrete actions, however small, can be more convincing than academic theories

The English version can be downloaded as pdf. For the French and the Asian version in English, we refer to the website of DECP.

*The Dutch Employers’ Cooperation Programme (DECP) was founded in 2006 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and employers’ organisation VNO-NCW. DECP focuses on strengthening employers’ organisations in emerging countries with the aim of contributing to the improvement of the business climate.