Unemploy- ment in Spain among people under-25 has recently fallen slightly, but it still stands at 34%, with over half a million young people out of work
I only recently found out that the term ’nini’, used to refer to a young person who neither studies nor works (Ni estudia Ni treballa), is ’neet’ (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) in English. While these days it is not unusual for novelties in the English language to pass me by, I think the real reason it hadn’t occurred to me that such a term might exist in other languages is that the idea of a lack of opportunity for young people in Spain was so firmly fixed in my mind.
Unemployment among people under-25 in Spain has recently fallen slightly, but it still stands at 34%, with over half a million young people out of work. If you are finishing school and faced with either no job or a low quality one, then it is hardly surprising that many young people decide to keep on studying. However, that brings its own problems, delaying their entry in the workforce and therefore keeping them dependent on their parents, while producing a host of overqualified young people who are then forced to work below their educational level or go abroad.
Meanwhile, those who choose to stop studying at 16 or 18 are left in a job market that offers them little, and so society ends up with a large proportion of ’ninis’, or ’neets’, if you prefer. While it is true that the economy has improved a little, many young people still find themselves in difficult situations that have no clear solutions. While it is beyond my powers to offer them a way out, I think we would all agree that more ’neets’ helps no one, least of all the ’ninis’ themselves.
If doing nothing is not an option, and work opportunities are limited, then we have no choice but to look again at education, despite the caveats mentioned above. Yet, maybe the education option could work better if we thought outside the box. In this issue of the magazine, as always at this time of year, we focus on education (pages 20-29). However, this year we have tried to deal with some less common educational issues, from homeschooling to university courses for the retired. Even a quick look at the type of subjects dealt with shows that there are educational opportunities and solutions out there that go beyond, say, every 18-year old simply signing up to do law at uni and then struggling to find a job with a law firm after graduating because the market is so saturated.
We are living at a time when, from an educational point of view, there are many resources out there, such as a great many public initiatives or online activities. Should people want, they can increasingly study in so many other ways and find a way of standing out and therefore hopefully avoid the fate of too many young people, which is having to live as a ’neet’.