Higher education systems in European
All this week, Debating Europe has been publishing a themed series of posts looking at the issue of youth unemployment in Europe. With young people the first to be fired and the last to be hired in a crisis, this is an issue that should be high up the political agenda. One of the questions that came up repeatedly during our event on Wednesday was whether education systems in Europe are failing to prepare young people with the skills they will need in an increasingly competitive and globalised world. We’ll be looking at this question in more detail today.
Let’s begin with a video question from Mariza, a student from Greece, who is worried that her education will be wasted because she won’t be able to find a job (the youth unemployment rate is an eye-watering 59.1% in Greece right now). We took Mariza’s question to Marije Cornelissen, a Dutch MEP with Greens group in the European Parliament, and a member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
Do you like what Marije Cornelissen had to say? Make sure you show your support by voting for the Greens-EFA in our !
Cornelissen answers that education is the best investment that young people can make during the crisis. But what about those young people who feel they have spent too much time in education, and now hear people tell them they are “over-qualified”? We had an (unfortunately all-too-familiar) story told to us by :
I have a cum laude BA, an MA and an LLM and am now completely lost in life… After three unpaid internships, I decided to cut my losses and look for work outside of my sector. There, however, I’m met with the typical overqualified/too ambitious/no work experience response. So it seems that whichever way I turn, I simply cannot move forward and am left stuck right back where I started. I feel stiffed, as I’ve always worked hard and deemed myself competent, gotten good grades, participated in tons of extracurricular activities- and now I feel useless, incompetent and lost. This crisis has not only robbed me of suitable work opportunities, but also of a sense of purpose…
We took Caroline’s story to David Willetts, the UK’s Minister for Universities and Science, and Conservative MP for Havant (meaning his party sits in the Conservatives group in the European Parliament).
Of course, I completely sympathise with Caroline. When she says she has completed three unpaid internships, it’s important to point out that we do properly enforce labour market regulations in Britain, and, whilst there are regrettably examples of work that is being done unpaid, if you are doing work as an employee, you should be paid as an employee.