#ChooseYoung – the founding project of the Graduates of Democracy – derives from the acknowledgement that these years of economic stagnation and high unemployment have made it increasingly difficult for young Europeans to make the step from education into the labour market. Youth unemployment is at a record high in many countries, and even those who manage to make some working experience, often have to do this at unfair conditions for too long. #ChooseYoung therefore maps youth (un)employment around Europe, by understanding the main hurdles youngsters encounter while doing their first working experiences, as well as underlining the main benefits they achieve – in order to identify best and worst practices to propose at the European level in terms of finances and legislation. #ChooseYoung aims at being a broad project covering but not limited to all 28 EU member states, and investigating into different forms of (un)employment within and between those countries.
Indeed, we are convinced of the benefits of high quality traineeships and apprenticeships, but we also believe in the importance of remunerating interns for the work they do; young Europeans should never be exploited and used as a free or cheap source of knowledge without proper acknowledgement.
With #ChooseYoung we want to highlight the strengths of youth labour in today’s Europe, and identify best practices to export towards countries where more worrisome practices take place. Finally, #ChooseYoung will be presented to relevant policy makers in and around the European Parliament, and we hope that it will contribute to a discussion and a policy dialogue that will shift more funds to youth employment and smoothen up the step from education into the labour market.
We highly value your contribution to #ChooseYoung, a project that aims at tackling problems that our whole generation is facing. If you are between 18 and 30 years old, whether you have done an internship, an apprenticeship or a temporary job, whether this has been a very good or a very bad experience, we would appreciate if you could spend 10 minutes of your time and share your experience with us. We will not publish any information you provide us with without your explicit consent, and this non-profit making exercise is only aimed at ameliorating the conditions of young workers and at scheduling the issue for political debate.
The Graduates of Democracy are a group of Europeans aged between 18 and 25 years, all sharing progressive values. The group was founded in spring 2015, and aims at fostering debate and exchange of experiences between youngsters throughout the continent and beyond. We want to propose fresh ideas for academics and policy makers that derive from our first hand experiences, and to give a new twist into the political debate which has focussed too much on numbers and figures, but has forgotten about the young people of Europe. We are the first generation in decades that grew up in a period of economic crisis; for many years procrastinating has won over dealing with problems, and many have less and less trust in the present leading institutions. This is why we feel that we should be proactive and take the lead in proposing an alternative Europe. Our time is now. This is why we set up a blog which serves as our platform for exchanging and launching ideas, and this is why we are launching the #ChooseYoung project.