Fortuna, as the President of the National Youth Council of Slovenia, you were kindly invited to take part to the eNEET Rural 1st Annual Seminar & Brokerage Event in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on October 25th. What was the reason of your interest to attend?
I was invited to attend by our member organization Slovenian Rural Youth Association. Young NEETs, especially the ones in rural areas are not often talked about. I want to bring this topic on the national agenda so the attendance on the event was a must.
eNEET Rural project aims at fostering entrepreneurship and improving skills of young unemployed people in rural areas. Tell us a bit about your association: what are, in your opinion, the linking points between eNEET Rural and your activities?
The topics of our work are access to quality employment and public services first, including better infrastructure, good public transport as well as more available housing, mental health. This are common issues that are facing all young people, especially rural youth. All our activities are primarily focused on addressing this issues. We are carrying out different local events where all groups of young people can express their opinion. We also consult with young people within the formal educational institutions especially in the areas outside of Ljubljana and Maribor.
During the event we presented the first project results (training materials and eLearning platform), alongside several case examples and good practices applied in the agricultural sector. As a stakeholder, what is your first impression and your take-away message?
First impression is that there are some amazing things already happening in rural areas. My take-away massage is that if we invest in this area even more resources (financial and nonfinancial) great things can be done. I really believe that there is potential in rural people and in rural areas. We only need to see it and start investing in it.
Your association draws the attention on life, educational and work problems, which young people are facing in a variety of fields. As eNEET Rural focuses on employment, what are in your expertise opinion the main issues for young Slovenians when attempting to enter the job market?
Lack of quality places of work, as well as fair working conditions for the youth.
- Young people are treated unequally vis-à-vis other job seekers and they do not have any established conditions for the integration into the labour market.
- The young workers are often exploited and underpaid which makes them incapable of having real independence or quality life.
- The most considerable problem are precarious work forms, which force the youth to work as sole proprietors or use other irregular forms of employment.
- Labour market does not offer space to young people to capitalize on all their skills and knowledge
- The problem of centralization – quality employment is available mostly in the capitals, while the outskirts and the rural areas face a lack of proper employment.
Do you see potential for future collaboration between your organization and the project?
Yes we see it. Because we see the importance of working with both NEET group and rural youth. We are members of the working group Youth Guarantee that links stakeholders on the labor market from governmental and nongovernmental side. We are main advocates for rights of all young people so I would say that we also have a lot of political ” recognition” that can only be beneficial for the project and with that for young people in rural areas.
We are leading the national working group on youth dialogue. On the European level will next year, with Croatian presidency to the Council of EU, the priority will be creating opportunities for young people in rural area.