To be unemployed is terrible for a large number of reasons. You have no income, or have to live on welfare, you don’t share in the pride that labour can give you, or you are employed for a profession that is well below your level of education. Since none of us in AEGEE want to become a university educated unemployed person, who still lives with their parents at age 32, Kristóf Papp, the Youth Employment Working Group (YEWG) Coordinator, decided to submit a proposal for the EPM topic, and interviewed by the AEGEEan he had some sensible things to say.
The AEGEEan: Could you tell us more about the Social Inclusion on the labour market?
Kristóf: We are facing a huge crisis in Europe regarding the youth employment rates. The problem is quite complex, and it is not enough to look at the low employment rates. We also have to speak about problems like the quality of the jobs or internships which the young people have to take in order to step further, the discrimination based on their age, gender, sexual orientation or the lack of cross-sectorial cooperation in the field of education and employment. With this topic we can focus on issues like youth rights, social protection, reaching out to the unorganised young people or transitioning from education to employment.
How do you think AEGEE can improve the situation?
By educating its members on their rights and opportunities, making sure they know their responsibilities and push for change on he European level. Social, youth and employment issues are decided on national and local level, therefore the focus should be on the grassroots. By empowering its members and encouraging them to act locally, AEGEE can reach out to a great number of young people.
Why did you come up with this idea?
This topic also plays an important part in the Activity Plan of the Youth Employment Working Group. The members of the YEWG have great knowledge on this matter, so together we considered this topic relevant to the Strategic Plan and the Action Agenda 2015/16. Besides this, I grew up in one of the poorest parts of Hungary, I saw the a lack of support for those who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), the discrimination at work places towards young people based on their ethnic background or age, the demotivation and disappointment. In my opinion it is crucial to make sure that more and more people hear about these stories, they are able to recognise these situation and they are also empowered to act against them.
How do you think AEGEEans can contribute to the discussion?
AEGEE plays a significant role in advocacy in the youth field and it is working in the topic of social inclusion for a long time, although we haven’t discuss all the possible sides of the topic. It is essential for a socially responsible student organisation to take the proper steps in collecting enough information on the topics related to its members; as an organisation which has a diverse membership, it is essential to think about this matter not only economically but socially, since a generation of forsaken young people will cause unimaginable consequences in the long term. Our members are coming from different social backgrounds, different field of studies and different countries. I think it’s time to hear the thoughts of the young people who are facing these problems every day, not only of their representatives or of the experts. AEGEEans can have a direct, and powerful impact which can influence the voice of the whole organisation.
Would you like to take on the role of Content Manager?
Yes, I think this topic, with a good coordination, can have great results for the organisation, and not last I think the Youth Employment Working Group can contribute to the content.
Willem Laurentzen, AEGEE-Nijmegen
You can read the full proposal here (login required).