The situation caused by the coronavirus in Spain has especially affected NEETs, as the sectors in which these young people normally find their first job opportunity have visibly reduced their activity. Junior Achievement Spain has adapted its programmes to the current circumstances and the new needs of the youth in order to continue helping them to achieve their objectives.
Blanca Narváez is the CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) Spain.
NEETs situation in Spain
According to data from the Spanish National Institute of Statistic (INE) Labour Force Survey, almost a million young people in Spain did not work nor studied in 2019, one of the highest figures in Europe. For the most part, these are young people between the ages of 16 and 29 who cannot find a job or who do not have the motivation to be trained.
In the past, those who were finally trained and found their first job opportunity usually did it in the tourism and catering sector, the main economic engine of the country. The situation generated by COVID-19 has reduced the activity in these sectors, with many bars, restaurants and hotels closing or reducing the number of people hired, which in turn has had a strong impact on the future of these young people. The pandemic and the crisis that we are living, expected to continue for the next months, hinders even more the situation of NEETs in Spain.
This new situation has generated demotivation and lack of self-confidence among young people. In March 2020, when we spoke with the participants in the “NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project in Spain, we realized that the most common thought was that “was was difficult for them before, was now becoming impossible”.
Our priority at Junior Achievement Spain back at that time was to adapt the project to the new situation as quickly as possible, in order to make NEETs feel that we believe in them and in their capabilities, and that despite the circumstances we would be able to achieve everything they set out to do.
On 1 March, we held the first online workshop with NEETs to stand by their side and share our trust in their future. During the lockdown period, we ran 20 workshops on different topics adapted to their needs. We realized that acting quickly and adapting the programme to the circumstances not only allowed us to be close to NEETs in these difficult times but also to make them feel that they are not alone, that we are still going to help them achieve their goals. They were able to share about their situation with other young people, solving their doubts thanks to the collaboration of professional volunteers from different companies.
Junior Achievement at your side
Junior Achievement is proud to accompany young people in their formation, training them in those skills most needed for their future, and it is especially exciting to do so with those who need an extra boost of motivation. Circumstances are complicated, but their capabilities are even greater!
We would like to keep helping them, and for that reason we will continue to run online workshops – in person if the situation allows it – adapting the content to the skills they need the most at this moment, such as motivation and self-confidence, providing networking opportunities with professional volunteers to enable them to resolve their doubts and find a place in the labour market. Adapting our programmes to the circumstances is key to help young people reinvent themselves, helping them to find their passion and vocation, as we believe in their talent and their unlimited potential.
In this sense, entrepreneurship education is essential for young people to achieve their goals. Through the “NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project, they get to promote their entrepreneurial spirit and acquire all the skills that will allow them to successfully develop their professional and personal career, such as effort, adaptability and creativity. This can be done through different workshops on various topics, supported by volunteers that bring in a huge value as specialists in areas such as employment and entrepreneurship. For these young people, this is a great opportunity. We know it is not a simple situation, but we will continue to be by their side to motivate them and help them achieve their goals.
The “NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants’ Fund for Youth Employment.