Internships keep young people out of crime

59 out of 63 participants in Copenhagen programme found a path out of crime while in internships

A Copenhagen organisation is using a specific tool to keep young people from turning to crime: internships.

Spydspidsen, located in the city centre, helps marginalised young people between the ages of 15 and 18 find internship programmes in order to nip their criminal careers in the bud.

"We show young people that they are in demand, and we offer a sincere alternative to life on the street or a life of crime,” Sofie Klinken, the head of Spydspidsen, told regional radio channel P4 København.  

Of the 63 young people participating in the project who were previously involved with crime, only four committed a crime while in internships.

According to Klinken, the secret to the apparent success is that young people feel valued and accomplished.

“The young people have been kicked out of schools, and they have many issues. But to be offered a real job in a company is something they have never tried that before," she said to P4. "It means a lot to their sense of identity and their relationship with the community."

The companies collaborating in the project have all volunteered to provide internships to the troubled youth. During the internship, young people are paid like any regular first year apprentice.

Some 135 young people have registered in the programme in the course of the last two years. Of the participants, a fifth have quit on the way.