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Interns will receive one-third of the minimum wage now standing at 9.3 million rials ($246) per month, along with accident insurance coverage.
Interns will receive one-third of the minimum wage now standing at 9.3 million rials ($246) per month, along with accident insurance coverage.

Gov’t Taken to Task Over Internship Action Plan

Gov’t Taken to Task Over Internship Action Plan

The government’s not so well-thought-out Internship Action Plan has entered a limited execution phase while its practical aspects were overlooked, eminent Iranian economist, Hossein Raghfar, said.
Based on the plan, the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare will introduce jobless university graduates of ages 23 to 32 in all disciplines at any level to employers to do an internship for four to six months.
Interns will receive one-third of the minimum wage now standing at 9.3 million rials ($246) per month, along with accident insurance coverage.
The plan was piloted in eight provinces in the last Iranian year (March 2016-17) and will be launched nationwide before the current year is out.
As an opponent of the plan, Raghfar told Mehr News Agency that prior to the Industrial Revolution, internship plans were popular in all countries, including Iran.
Interns learnt a trade, craft or art under skilled workers. Today, internships are seen as a valuable asset for providing students with the experience and skills they need before they can start their career.
Noting that internships in other countries start at the high school level, the economist said what is important is that the internship programs should be carried out in a cultural context and not as a solution to unemployment.
“Internship Action Plan is expected to create 40,000 jobs a year, but the country needs jobs far more than that. The capacity of such plans is very limited. This is while the country faces one million new job-seekers annually, out of which 800,000 are university graduates,” he said.  
Raghfar said Iran’s decision-making centers, including the government, parliament and private-run institutions, are dominated by those with business interests—mostly in the services sector.
“The mentality that laid the groundwork for this plan in the Ministry of Cooperatives is an industrial one. Based on this mindset, university graduates in Iran lack the skills needed in industries. Apparently, the plan was put forth to help new graduates learn skills relevant to their field of study,” he said.
“It was also a reaction to public pressure and policymakers who are worried about the future of the economy. The government was trying to imply that it is making efforts to solve the economic problems.”
Officials say the objective of the program is to make young people familiar with work environments, improve their skills and learn to put theories into practice.
However, critics, including Raghfar, believe that the minuses of the plan outweigh its pluses.
One probable outcome of Internship Action Plan is that it will rob experienced employees of the opportunity to negotiate their wage and will compel them to accept whatever amount they are offered simply because the program allows companies to hire new graduates with even lower salaries.
Raghfar noted that since jobs in the services sector do not need considerable expertise, the employers can call it quits after a couple of months without giving interns an in-depth training and hire a new group in no time.
“I believe even employers, except for those active in the services sector, will not embrace this plan. The troubled industries sector is bearing witness to back-to-back shutdowns. Industrial companies are not even capable of keeping their old qualified workforce,” he concluded.

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