6 Nov 2013

Austerity kids: have young Italians stopped dreaming?

As youth unemployment in Italy reaches a new all-time high of 40.1 per cent, our newest “Austerity Kid”, Agata Scionti, 26, tells Channel 4 News that young Italians “are unable to dream any more”.

Austerity kids Italy youth unemployment

Most young Italians are classed as “neets” – people not in employment, education or training. So it seems that we’re not doing anything – but this isn’t the case.

Many of us are doing “undeclared work” so we don’t show up in the statistics, we don’t exist.

Moreover, because of the fiscal pressure, companies prefer apprenticeships instead of employment contracts, so even at 30 you can still be an apprentice, a beginner in a company.

So please don’t think we that we don’t want to work. We do. Or as one Italian politician said: “we’re big babies”. We’re not.

Social cooperatives

In Sicily, where I live, the situation is getting worse. I’m studying education at the University of Catania and next year I hope to graduate.

I want to work with disabled or children and families in difficult situations, but in Italy this type of works is organised by social cooperatives.

Social cooperatives provide social services such as the care of children, elderly and disabled people, and the integration of unemployed people into the workforce.

Please don’t think that we don’t want to work. We do. Agata

However, this is a problem, especially in Sicily, where many social cooperatives employ workers who have no qualifications or friends or family.

At the moment I’m working as teacher, so I can gain a little experience and I have time to finish my studies.

But I’m very angry and scared for my future. I know that I need to struggle for my rights, so I belong to an association of educators.

I don’t know what kind of news reaches you in England from Italy, but the situation is very complicated: politicians promise and promise, but nothing ever changes.

Resignation or apathy

Some people still believe in them and some people are trying to rebel following an ex-comedian [Beppe Grillo].

However, a lot of them live in a sort of resignation or apathy, as if this terrible theatre doesn’t concern them.

I think the biggest danger for Italy is that young people won’t be able to dream anymore or struggle for their rights, like they do in Spain and Greece, where the youth unemployment is even higher than in Italy.

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Has your life been hit by austerity Europe? For example, you or someone in your family might have lost your job; you may have had to turn to food banks to help feed your family; or you might have taken part in or even organised anti-austerity protests.

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