François' Story

"A basic income should guarantee that people don't have to be alone"

François, 22 years, Belgium

I come from Verviers and have been unemployed for 8 and a half months. I live with my parents, and I am registered with 15 interim agencies - some in Verviers and some in Liège. The agencies help match my qualifications with jobs that are available through a computer search, but usually I'm excluded because I don't have a car, or I don't have enough experience"

My parents receive a family payment for me since I am unemployed, and from them I receive around 75 euros per month for my personal use.

"Lack of independence is difficult, and lack of income also limits my social life. I can meet my friends and talk with them, but nothing more. I can't afford to go out because it's too expensive."

Jack's Story - Belgium

"We need a system that promotes solidarity"

Jack, 26 years, Belgium

"I have been living in Belgium for 18months and I work in a metal factory in Brussels, with a permanent full-time contract. I am originally from Peru and in Peru I worked in many different jobs. One was as a taxi driver for 2 and a half years, more or less 6 days a week, 15 hours per day. It was informal work, and every month for a different salary, sometimes 200 Euro per month, and at other times less. After that I had an experience of formal work in a hotel where I cleaned rooms for 6months, and worked driving taxis during the weekend. I left the work in the hotel to move to Europe.

"I came to Belgium to work and to study and to help my family because I had the chance to come here. I decided to come with the thought that the salary I could gain could help me support my family and help pay my studies.

"I searched for work for 6 months in Belgium. It was difficult, because I didn't speak the local language, but I searched through the interim agencies, personally visited workplaces to ask for work, and asked everyone I had met here to see if they could help me to find a job.

Lien's Story - Belgium

"With the qualification I have you can't go to an interim agency, so you have to rely on your own resources"

Lien Van der Meeren, 25 years, Belgium

"In 2004 I graduated as a pedagogical worker. When I finished school and started to search for a job, I realised that it isn't because you have a qualification, that it's easy to find a job. Though we have a good social protection system, you have to wait 9 months until you can get some support from the government.

"So first I had to do some other jobs which didn't correspond to my qualification. Those were jobs I had to do if I wanted to earn some money and to get integrated in society. The major problem while searching for a job, is that the organisations expect you to have some experience. But if you don't get the chance to start somewhere, you can't get any experience.

"After some time I had the luck to find a job that matched my qualification, but still it was just to replace someone who was pregnant. It's not easy to find a permanent job in the sector I graduated. After that I had again some jobs to fill the gap  while I was searching for a  job as a pedagogical worker. With the qualification I have you can't go to an interim agency, they can't help you there, so you have to rely on your own resources. Now I work for the YCW, so actually for the moment I can't complain.

"I think in Belgium we have a very good social protection system, but there still are a lot of young people who don't manage to find their way in the system and in society. I have met a lot of young people who have difficulties to find a permanent job.

"Especially for the young people who don't have a certificate it's very difficult. They have to change from one job to another and have to work many hours, but don't get paid as much as others, who are qualified. They get stuck in a kind of a vicious circle of temporary work and without any support it's very difficult for them to get out of. Often they don't feel appreciated in the work they do, they aren't satisfied and therefore they have a low self-esteem.

"For those people, the YCW wants to mean something. We want to help them in finding a good job, and in that way build self-confidence. Furthermore we want to help our members to make the right choice in their studies and give them the information they need about finding work and understanding the social protection system".

Gemma's Story - Spain

" I have done a bit of everything in this world, except working with some stability and in dignity"

Gemma, 27 years, Spain

My name is Gemma, I am 27 and I am an educationalist.

I live with my parents in a village in the Vega plain, nearby Granada. Due to my working conditions, I cannot afford to live on my own. At the moment, I am working for two different companies. The first one is a small company organizing cultural activities. I am an instructor in a class which starts very early in the morning. In the afternoon, I work as a sociocultural activity leader in a home for the elderly, even though my diploma has nothing to do with this job.

I have been an instructor in holiday camps, an extra in street theater activities, a clown in children's communions, a supervisor in several workshops, in a canteen, in extra-curriculum activities, and I gave private classes... All in all, I have done a bit of everything in this world, except working with some stability and in dignity.

Gail's Story - Belgium

"They always promise they will contact me, but they never call back"

Gail, 22 years, Belgium

For 3 years I've been registered at all interim offices in Oostende, and the reason I'm so mad, is because today I was again disappointed. I came here because they called me to say that I could begin in the supermarket here in Oostende. Thrilled, I came to the interim office for my validation. Then the lady said that the job will not continue. The supermarket stated that it is 'on hold' and I can no longer work there. They always promise that they will contact me but they never call back. And then they ask me the same questions: "Is your address still the same? Has your phone number changed? And what kind of work do you want? ". I know all the questions by heart. It's just a tape machine that goes off every time.

I saw several times in the shop windows a job vacancy hanging for a saleswoman. But whenever I ask about it, they say that the job is no longer available. This happened several times. Other times they had a job in another shop. She promised to contact me, but after two weeks I heard nothing, and I went to see them and then had to come home because suddenly they knew nothing about that job...

You have to constantly go to the agency with proposals for what you want to do, otherwise, they only propose things that have nothing to do with your hopes and wishes. They did have some proposals, but they do not take into account the fact that I have no driving license for example. I have wanted a license for so long, but I cannot afford it. So I want to find work in the region of Oostende. I sometimes get automatic text messages to go to Brussels, Antwerp and Gent to work. When I arrive later at the interim office, they say to me: "Did you get a text message?" When I reply that these places are too far for me, they always say: "Do you really want to work?"

CAJ Germany

KAJ Flanders

JOC Wallonie-Bruxelles

International YCW