David Telleria Herrera, General Coordinator, Peñascal Kooperatiba Group. 

– What groups are at greater risk of exclusion today? 

– The problem of young people without qualifications is the most important, together with that of immigrants and gender issues. And, increasingly, the group of people over 45 years of age.

– How can we combat this, how can they be integrated?

– The key aspect is that we need policies and measures tailored to the needs of each group. What is not working and is becoming a great mistake is to apply policies, programmes, and projects for all young people. Because they are good for some but not for others. We have to diagnose why young people without qualifications are not training and design global projects that combine training and the cause of the problem. That is one of the key issues: design inter-institutional programmes that cover various spheres and institutions.

– Youth unemployment, precarious conditions… Will this generate more social exclusion in the future?

– For sure. Today, having a job does not guarantee that you are free from social exclusion. We often see contracts that last from Monday to Friday and then hire people again on the following Monday until Friday. There are contracts; people are doing what they can, not like five years ago when no-one was getting hired, with poor conditions… I think they are not getting the support they need. We have gone through bad times but now, you see businesses driving the economy, they are growing and, indeed, they need labour. However, those jobs should be higher quality jobs.

– Why do you think this is happening despite the fact that businesses are recovering? Why do they continue to offer young people such precarious jobs?

– I don’t know. What I do know is that there has to be a social pact between enterprises, institutions, organisations and social agents… because we have to change this mentality. At the moment, human resources are not being appreciated by companies as they should be; they see it as something immediate, to solve a problem, when it is really an investment in the future. Investing in people is investing for in the future. We have to do this all together. And the slogan today is global but we are acting locally. For example, in the Basque Country, at this level at least, I don’t know, I see it as feasible. We are not that many and we all know each other (institutions, politicians, associations, entrepreneurs,…), we have far-reaching relationships. Young people will make an effort to obtain qualifications but the effort has to be mutual, we should get together and dignify the labour market. We are losing an opportunity.

– Has this lack of employment increased xenophobia?

– Yes, it is a risk. But mainly because it is based on rumours, it is not real. Right now, we have more job offers than students who want to train and we have to skip many because we can’t fill them. And yet, lots of young people who have been training with us for two or three years and that have mid-level qualifications can’t get jobs because they need papers, permits, approvals, adaptation periods… That is why a pact is so important. It will facilitate their access and avoid a lot of the bad press and xenophobic lies.