The world is changing at a rapid pace, and it is young generations that will feel the impacts of climate change the most. Youths are also best placed to take on the challenges presented by the changing environment, which is why the INTERCEPT Project is working on connecting young NEETs with work in the green sector.
Led by Jobsplus in collaboration with eight other organisations from Lithuania, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Luxembourg, the INTERCEPT Project is open to job seekers between the ages of 25 and 29 who are interested in building a career that has a positive impact on the environment.
We spoke to psychologist Kristina Jonaitienė, one of the trainers who took part in the project, about the effects that this initiative has had on youths so far.
1. What are the most important skills that participants gain through INTERCEPT?
Through the INTERCEPT project, we aim to raise awareness about the topic of the green economy through a non-traditional and non-theoretical training framework. This involves practical exercises, introspection, reflection, and discussions. During these sessions, participants explored alternative scenarios for designing the future labour market, prospective employees, and the implementation perspective of the green economy.
The participants of the project honed their ability to make choices based on sustainable values, while emphasising personal responsibility at every step. They were also encouraged to develop a sense of awareness, understanding and the ability to foresee the consequences of different options. These qualities and skills will enable them to collaborate effectively with the green economy sectors of the future.
2. What feedback have you received from participants?
The participants expressed their gratitude for the lectures, stating that they found them interesting. They also thanked me for the excellent sessions, and after completing the training, they confidently affirmed that the sessions were truly beneficial. Moreover, the participants reported that the sessions were both captivating and engaging.
3. What was the biggest challenge that you faced, as a trainer, during this project?
The classes I led focused on the topic of motivation, but the groups had already come together and were highly motivated! Therefore, we changed our approach to harness their energy and enthusiasm towards making concrete plans, developing employment strategies, empowering themselves, and enhancing their ability to stay motivated.
4. How did the training impact the motivation and skill set of participants in their pursuit of internships?
Throughout the sessions, I noticed that some project participants tended to attribute their failures to external factors such as time constraints, the economy, employers, or inadequate education. I aimed to instil the understanding that personal choices and actions are the most crucial factors for success. We delved into analysing the various influences on these choices, particularly motivation. By establishing causal relationships, we could challenge unproductive or harmful belief systems.
It was truly rewarding to hear several participants open up after the training and acknowledge the need to take greater personal responsibility. As a culmination of the training, we collectively emphasised that motivation, thewillingness to change, the drive to act, and the desire for change are the key components necessary to redesign their future employment scenarios. I firmly believe that this experience will empower the participants to pursue their goals with even greater motivation, consciousness, and determination.
Working Towards a Greener Future
Through INTERCEPT, youths learn practical skills that prepare them for work in the green sector. Participants also undergo a 240-hour paid work placement with green businesses, giving them first-hand work experience. We spoke to two participants – Sean Azzopardi from Malta and Laura Repsyte from Lithuania – who share their own experiences of taking part in the INTERCEPT Project.
Sean Azzopardi, Malta
“Being listened to by the trainers has given me more motivation to speak up”
“After growing frustrated at the lack of progression in my previous roles, I felt it was time for a change. I was looking out for a new avenue to explore, and the INTERCEPT Project proved to be everything I was looking for and more.When thinking about my career, I aspire to be a driver of change – whether it’s through politics or foundations – to promote a better way of working. I want to be able to look back and see the changes that I helped make for myself, the people around me and future generations. INTERCEPT has undoubtedly helped me move closer towards my goals. Even in my current role as a Media Editor, I have already met people who have helped me realise what steps I can take to change things for the better.
The project has taught me many lessons and helped me focus on my long-term goals. I learned that people are not as closed-minded as I previously thought, and I had the pleasure of working with people from different walks of life who shared ideas and collaborated on important projects.
Through the project, I got the opportunity to explore ideas that I had never discussed before. Our trainers took time to listen to my ideas, allowing me to elaborate further and share knowledge that I had about different topics, such as the overpopulation of Oriental Hornets which has led to agricultural issues. Being listened to by the trainers has given me more motivation to speak up. I now look at things through a different lens and I feel like a better person, for which I am grateful!”
Laura Repsyte, Lithuania
“This experience has led me on a journey of self-discoveryto recognise my strengths”
“When my PES consultant asked me whether I would be interested in joining the INTERCEPT project, I was immediately intrigued. We soon scheduled a meeting where I was given more detail about the project, and I was thrilled at the opportunity because I had a strong desire to expand my knowledge about sustainability, the green economy, and the integration of technology in the workplace.
Through INTERCEPT, I learned about the importance of maintaining sustainability not only in our personal lives and the environment but also in the workplace and our relationships with employers. The knowledge and insights shared during the training made me realise that work should offer opportunities for self-realisation, skill acquisition, and the enhancement of existing competencies. Moreover, the project revealed that many people face similar challenges, regardless of their age, such as uncertainty about their desired career path or the type of work they want to pursue.
Apart from gaining a deeper understanding of sustainability, this project has taught me valuable teamwork skills. Moreover, this experience has led me on a journey of self-discovery to recognise my strengths such as discipline, which is one of my positive attributes. I also discovered my interest in communications through this project, which aligns with my career aspirations that I had before participating. I feel even more motivated, now, to pursue a career in this field.
I would highly encourage other youths to participate in this project, particularly because it encompasses both theoretical and practical components. The internship component allows participants to work in their dream companies while also providing an opportunity to explore entirely new and unfamiliar fields. The project organizers offer guidance and support throughout both the theoretical and practical phases. The theoretical part of the project deepens participants’ knowledge of sustainability, the green economy, and technology, while also providing self-discovery exercises such as various tests and psychology lectures. Overall, this project offers a comprehensive and rewarding experience for youths, and I would highly recommend it!”