The presence of King Felipe VI, in those days still as Prince of Asturias, at the Sixth Edition of the Novia Salcedo Awards to Excellence in the Professional Integration of Young People provided a range of highly significant words regarding the Pegasis Project and youth employment:
What is the major concern of young people and of our entire society today? Clearly unemployment, the lack of work; an issue that is directly related to the purpose of these awards and of the foundation that has brought us together today in Bilbao. Consequently, this award, already in its 6th edition, expresses the strong commitment of the Novia Salcedo Foundation to seek effective solutions and specific ways of promoting the access of young people to the labour market.
Since this is such a severe and widespread problem unfortunately, there are many agents, administrations and organizations throughout the world that are working day in and day out to try to solve the problem. However, on this occasion, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight your specific work -Novia Salcedo’s work- because youth unemployment and labour integration are issues that are very familiar to you and on which you have been working with excellent results for many years. As you are well aware, what always generates the greatest concern and occupies more time is what still has to be done, rather than proclaiming and praising any success stories.
We must take young people into consideration much more; obviously because of what they represent for the future, but also for their capabilities, freshness, and flexibility, to help and encourage them to be better than us. In the end, there is no hope for a society that does not provide its youth with hope. However, we cannot forget those that are not young -or not so young- such as the long-term unemployed, who are going through the greatest difficulties due to their greater responsibilities and more limited flexibility and capacity to adapt. Therefore, we must always keep in mind the social and human dimension of a problem that affects men and women of all ages; without ignoring the operation of a productive and economic system that must be, ultimately, at the service of the people.
You have addressed these challenges with a cooperative and participatory vision and from a sound perspective, both theoretical and practical. With this in mind you have conducted major studies, you have put in place various projects and activities, and encouraged other entities to contribute to this issue, as evidenced by these awards.
In this work, you have focused on a key aspect – the professional integration of young people from the perspective of training. You have also added a highly necessary international dimension because this is indeed a global problem.
In this regard, I want to congratulate you for your Pegasus Project; an initiative that strives to add youth employment to the Global Human Development Agenda, and it deserves all our support.
Employment and training are issues that we all recognize as fundamental to the well-being and progress of any society. There is no doubt that, through better training, we must -above all- improve the employability of workers, so as to facilitate their access to the labour market and help them retain their jobs. It is also clear that we need to boost education, especially values and capabilities such as entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, confidence and self-esteem, motivation and altruism.
We are also convinced, that we must take young people into consideration much more; obviously because of what they represent for the future, but also for their capabilities, freshness, and flexibility, to help and encourage them to be better than us. In the end, there is no hope for a society that does not provide its youth with hope.