Young, strong, smart, but without job. It is the radiography of thousands of young Europeans. The worst case is Spain where in some counties the unemployment rate is about or more than 50% of the active population. Solutions? The European Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee approved last week a packet of proposals in order to decrease the Youth unemployment.
The Government of Spain published last Friday – paradoxically when the media’s attention was totally focused on the Royal Wedding in UK-the latest data on unemployment. 4,9 millions of unemployed (21,29%), where in some counties the youngster’s (less than 25 years) unemployment is more than 50% and the total Spanish average in 45%.
These numbers were expected, they are not a big surprise. However the feeling in Spain is that it is a train without control. And the worst is that the situation will not improve in the next few months. Although the government says it cannot get worse, the most pessimistic analysts are speaking about more than 5 millions by the end of 2011.
It is an issue that really touches me deeply. As I said in Spain in some counties the unemployment rate for the youth is more than 50%. We are speaking about the most productive and prepared people Spain has ever had. One of my friends explicitly told me “better to stay two more years abroad than return to Spain now”.
This sentence made me think, and look what we as young people can do in Europe in order to find a job. I found a website from the European Parliament with 28 proposals that have been approved last week by the Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee. Slovenian EPP member, Milan Zver is steering the proposals through Parliament and it is scheduled to come to plenary in May.
I see the proposals with good eyes, but they are still not enough. Two of them I like most are “Your First job” and “Youth Guarantee”. They consist in:
Your First Job: Can’t find a job at home? Try abroad…This is a pilot project to help young job-seekers get a start abroad, in a different member state where their particular skills are more in demand.
Youth Guarantee: Everyone has been told at some point that they can’t work because they have no work experience. To break the vicious circle, the EU will propose that public employment services ensure that all under 25s are either in education or employed.
I like them because they are trying to improve two things. First of all the mobility of people between countries. It will increase not only the chances to get a job, but the integration and personal experience of working in other culture and society. At the same time, and as an example, the young students who chose their studies because vocation, can find work in other countries using the skills they have achieved in the University. From my experience and knowledge there are some studies that are not demanded in one country, maybe because the job market is saturated, but demanded in other countries or regions. It is the example of hundreds of paramedics, nurses and health personnel moving from Spain to UK in the last years.
The second one is defending “the right to be young and without experience.” In this post I found very well what I want to say with that sentence. That blogpost is ironic, but in my long process of finding an internship, for example, I have seen “job offers” like that. Offers demanding skills and experience, like you would have been working already 10 years. With such demanding conditions, is impossible to get a chance.
As I said before, the proposals are very helpful, but not enough. One of my proposals would be paid internships. And I am not the only one thinking this. In this post there is more information about the process of lobbing in the EU in order to reduce in number the unpaid internships and to form a Quality Charter of Internships.
The precarious work is so absurd in some cases that I laugh when I saw an example Internship “opportunity” like: We are looking for intern with bachelor in entrepreneurship and Master in Fashion. Demonstrable experience of two years in the sector of fashion is mandatory. Internship of 6 months not paid. Apply with subject line Senior Intern Position!!!.
The European Youth Forum, that is involved in the process of lobbying, has published a video time ago with interviews of young people who have done internships to find out their experiences and what they think about the internship system in general. It is very interesting to watch it and I advice it to students, and employers….
Can anyone imagine a strike of all interns in a country, or even in Europe? I am sure more than one company or organization would have troubles to operate normally. Unfortunately there is no legislation about that, and in a lot of countries there are no rights for interns.
Most of us that are looking for internship or have been looking for internship found the situation without too many options: If you want work, it is for free. If not, there are thousands of applicants waiting for your position. Choose.
The proposals are a good start that must be improved, without declining these paid internships.
Javier Ruiz Soler
@spanishwalker on Twitter