In the last years, Spanish youth is facing new challenges. In spite of everything, this generation is the most prepared in terms of studies. But the job opportunities outside the capital city Madrid and Barcelona are considerably low. The never-ending increase in housing rents and the poor labour conditions delay the age of emancipation. The average age is around 30 years old, one of the highest in Europe. Spain is now receiving immigrants from different cultures never seen in our regions, and it is our obligation as young people to open bridges towards a new and exciting society map.
I am going to tell you about the bad things: unemployment with the highest track of all Spanish history, leaving home at 30 because of the high prices of houses and flats and bad trash work contracts, university graduates working in pubs serving beers due to the bad employment offers, loss of hope, multiplication of depression and drug addictions, especially alcohol, academic results going down and cultural colonisation.
There are many different youth organisations in Spain working on different levels, like free time, or disadvantaged people, or in the political way. There is some support from the administration, but it is little and we have to look for our way of life.
Nowadays, we are passing through an economic rise in my country. Now youth have everything they want. That is why they have lost the energy and the critical point of view for getting so many things that are still missing in social and political matters, regarding youth or not.
Young people in Spain are in an optimum situation (in economic and educational aspects) but there is a lot of misunderstanding in Mediterranean conflicts, and I think we must do projects to develop education in this sense.
Spain is a country that from the 80Â´s to the year 2000 has enhanced its youth with a lot of opportunities, such as grants and courses. There is a problem that we have to consider however; since there is 22.8% unemployment. The youth unemployment rate in Spain is 45.84% This is why young people study a lot and travel, because to have a job is something difficult.
Young people in my country are bored of listening to the same things about youth work and youth problems but we are in a situation where we need to share experience and practice to find a common resolution. The big problem is that although one has got a high level of studies, even a university degree, one cannot find work because there is none. The situation is all about the urge to make new things and to find the solution to the problems for ourselves and not wait for the results.
Actually in Spain it is hard to talk about young people as a homogenised group. We can talk about so many classes of youngsters, depending on cultural, social, economic or ethnic aspects. The economic situation in general affects them all with short time contracts and discontinuous work. As a result of this we find a big group of people trying to move out of home but with not enough money to do so. We have many problems with drug abuse and alcohol, but tobacco is the most common drug they use, and nowadays cannabis is a kind of young-identifying-item. Education law has changed in twenty years, so we can actually try to find a good system to avoid the 25% of school failures we have. Family is losing the principal role it had in the past. With youths, friends’ opinions are far better than their parents’. Intercultural and multicultural societies are being built in the right way nowadays because as a new ‘rich country’, we are hosting a lot of people especially from the Southern Mediterranean. We change our Southern role in the European Union into a Northern role. As in the rest of Europe, young people have more or less the same motivations, interests, likes and dislikes. In order to build a most tolerant European Union, I think Spanish youngsters have a protagonist role.
In Spain the total population is 40,752,000. The youth population sums up to 5,965,000 with 14.6% aged between 15 and 24 and 37.6% living their mid-life years. We suffer from a shortage of jobs, as alternating periods of employment and unemployment and lack of job security are the main features of the current employment situation for young people in Spain. For some of them this is a temporary situation, but others will find it hard to escape.
In my country the young people’s situation is very diverse. Most of them want to go to university, but today youths face a lot of problems when they finish university. Other youths prefer to further their studies until they specialise in a particular field because that way it would be easier to find a job. The Spanish are also very open. They want to know different cultures and learn the languages of others.
The majority of youth in my country find it difficult to get a job because there is a high unemployment rate. A lot of young people (with all levels of education) cannot find a job, and if they find it this is normally underpaid and temporary. That is why a lot of young people apply to work for the State in order to get good conditions, such as a permanent job, a good pay and paid holidays. There is a great percentage of youths with high level of education who work in practices (underpaid and temporary) that meet their characteristics, so they get experience until they find a proper job or they keep studying in order to get a public employment. There is a small percentage of people with a high level of education that carry on studying and pay very expensive fees until they find a job that meets their profile and offers them good conditions, such as a good pay. This delays the emancipation, and before they are thirty years old, hardly anybody gets to live without the independence of their parents.
Most of the young people are unemployed or are finding their first job in my country. Normally they have followed some courses at university or at high school But it is in non-formal education where they find the main stream in social values. This is why non-formal education is so important. That includes voluntary service and youth associations. This is the reason why our association strongly supports non-formal education in values such as anti-racism, solidarity, interculturalism, etc.
Since democracy was established in Spain, young people’s leisure time has been improved. There is a good offer of activities for everybody between the organisations, and more grants and help from the government. On the other hand, there is a lack of values in the world society that may affect young people, tempting them not to have motivation to enjoy their free time. So the associations are in charge of making them try alternative leisure activities in order to prevent damaging habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, etc. In the last years, the quality of formation has improved drastically. That is really important for us as we can take advantage of this situation to involucrate them in the development of society.
Emigration, unemployment and no future.
In Spain, the evolution of young people is changing according to the social context in the country. Nowadays, the main problem is to make young people aware about the new resources from the changes of our society and insert youth into a multicultural society.
The situation of Spanish youth is similar to that of other developed European countries. There are opportunities of education and training within reach of everyone. The situation gets complicated when youth face independence from their family and lose state education at the age of 18, an age when he must face life on his own. In these situations there are several support measures for employment and living.
Here, we work with young people who do not have many opportunities to improve in their life, because in my town it is very difficult to get a good job, and the level of knowledge of young people is very low, so we work to make things easier.