The generation that has overcome the monopoly of the NEETS are here to stay. These young people are 30 or younger, and they do study and they do work. A generation that has appeared in spite of the last breath of the crisis in Spain, one that seeks to combine study and work, becoming, in addition, one of the groups most sought-after by companies.
They live their lives at a dizzying pace. They get up early to perform either of the two tasks, have a quick lunch and carry on with their day. The reality check comes when they arrive home and have to postpone their rest or going out with friends to continue hatching their future. A situation that is becoming increasingly consolidated among young people who have to deal with the cost of their university or vocational tuition fees, or part of them, which forces them to grow up and assume their responsibilities.
Despite this, although reconciling both aspects of their lives can seem complicated, and even exhausting, these young people carry on with taste and dedication. Nothing is impossible for them in the race to achieve their goals if they base their actions on three aspects: motivation, management and organization.
According to the latest Working Population Survey (EPA), for the third quarter of 2016, there are a total of 1,420,800 young people in Spain who neither study nor work, which means that two out of every ten people aged 16 to 29 are NEETS. However, the number of young people who do study and work currently stands at 568,200; 12,900 more than in the same period last year, representing 8% of young people.
Young people who study, work, and become entrepreneurs, refuse to sit at home and do nothing. We would also have to add another category: all those who have had to leave Spain and travel abroad in search of opportunities that they could not find here. More than a few. According to official data, 250,000 people have travelled abroad since 2008.
To help them, many educational institutions and universities are promoting projects that support this generation with programmes that adapt their timetables to make them more accessible and adaptable to the needs of young people. In addition, more and more companies are attracted by this type of profile that displays a high level of responsibility and entrepreneurial attitudes.
Supporting young people who work and study
The Transforma España and Pangea foundations have been promoting ‘Generación sisi’, the first initiative in Spain committed to positioning young people as the main impetus for social change, working to find solutions to the major problems faced by new generations. A project that allows young people to participate in the decision-making of the public sector and in the country’s most influential companies, through various digital tools and platforms.
This proposal stems from young people and for young people, to find solutions and deal appropriately with an exciting, competitive and demanding future. An initiative joined by other organisations, such as Código Nuevo and Soulsigh, which seek to overcome the discussions and gatherings where businessmen, politicians and young people can listen to each other and work together, in order to develop real proposals that solve the problems the country is facing.
5 tips to be in work and training at the same time
Reconciling your working, academic and personal life may seem complicated but you can achieve this by following a few easy tips:
1. Plan your time carefully by establishing short and long-term goals.
2. Distinguish between what is urgent and what is important to place your obligations into context without affecting your personal life.
3. Work to promote motivation, be realistic and do not be excessively demanding on yourself.
4. Don’t forget the importance of rest; sleep and grant yourself time out and privileges for the effort made.
5. Seek help when facing difficult situations.
“If you organise, you have time for everything”
Cristina Luque (21), a student of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Navarra, works as a synchronized swimming coach in the evenings. In addition, she is also training to compete as a swimmer and works as a lifeguard during the summer. All this on top of her job as a radio announcer. Tasks she combines as best she can to meet all her goals.
Do you find it difficult to arrange everything you are doing?
Sometimes it becomes a bit chaotic. I have to go to class at university, keep track of the training sessions I teach, prepare them and adapt them to the girls, go to the radio station and then I also have to prepare my exams. When the exams are near it all gets a bit difficult but I’m lucky because I love my job and that makes it all less complicated.
Why did you decide to get a job?
I have always been passionate about synchronised swimming, and everything related to water sports. I had the chance to join the team of coaches and I didn’t hesitate. I’m also enthusiastic about the radio and it’s an excellent opportunity to save a bit of money. These savings help me pay for my things, help my parents with the university tuition fees, and feel a little more independent.
How do organise all the timetables throughout the week?
Sometimes it is a matter of knowing how to play Tetris [laughs]. At university, it depends on the course. I have morning or afternoon classes and, therefore, some years it gets quite complicated to fit it all in. However, I usually divide my work by days based on how much free time I have. It’s about knowing how to organise, although I also have to thank the organisations where I study and work because they try to make it easy for me.
How do they help?
If you’re a sports person, many universities, mine included, adapt their timetables to your needs but I don’t want to take full advantage of this adapted programme because I like to know that I can handle it all (laugh). Even so, I have had many teachers throughout my studies who have understood my situation and who have been very understanding when I have had to change timetables and exams, either due to competitions, training sessions…
Have they helped you cope with the pressure?
Undoubtedly, because apart from being a radio announcer, swimmer and coach, I also work as a judge in some competitions, and that means extra training that extends to weekends, which further reduces my free time and the time I have to switch off; so any help translates into excellent opportunities to switch off and concentrate on things I have to do.
What key aspects do you require to carry on?
The truth is that I have always been rather disorganised but being in this position of having to adapt so many responsibilities in my day to day life has taught me to become more organised. Therefore, one of the most important aspects for me is knowing what I have to do and when in order to organise my time during the week to be able to do everything. Another important aspect for me is to not fall behind in my studies. I know it sounds like a cliché, but it really helps. It is a daily task that does not take too much time but, in the end, when it’s time to sit the exams, you realise you have made progress almost without realising.
With all you have to do, do you have some time to relax?
Of course. It’s all about being organised. I study and work but I also go out with my friends. There’s enough time for everything. Perhaps you can’t spend an entire afternoon on the couch watching films, but you can have moments when you are free of your work and studies.
Is this how you see yourself in coming years?
Yes, yes. In fact, I have been offered more hours at work for next year and, as I have already mentioned, I like to know I can face these challenges and carry on doing everything. I know things will get complicated but I’m sure it will be fun.