The Slovenia Times

Youth Day highlights housing problems and unemployment


The Youth Council of Slovenia said in a statement that young people are forced into precarious forms of work, which means that many turn 30 without a day of pensionable work. This delays their independence, above all it creates housing problems, as the youth are often unable to rent or buy a home.

Its head Anja Fortuna urged at today's news conference the youth's participation in creating local, regional, national as well as European policies.

She said employment, housing, education, participation in decision-making, volunteerism, information, health and mobility were the key areas for the youth in Slovenia.

The head of another umbrella organisation, Maja Hostnik of MaMa, said this year's pandemic as well as the crises before have primarily and most severely hit the youth.

Hostnik highlighted the role work plays for the youth, enabling them to gain key competences and values for later on when they pursue their professional careers.

The Mladi Plus trade union meanwhile focused on unemployment and precarious work. Union head Tea Jarc noted that there were over 310,000 people aged between 15 and 29 living in Slovenia. In June, more then 18,000 of them were unemployed.

While unemployment skyrocketed across all age groups this year, the rise was especially drastic among the young, who account for nearly 20% of the country's unemployed.

In April, when the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic first became apparent, over 1,800 young people lost their jobs, or 112.4% more than the year before, said Jarc.

"Once again, the crisis has shown that the young, in Slovenia as well as in Europe, are the first to be laid off, lose their contracts or otherwise lose work.

"Even with the government aid measures to the economy and the people, many have not received adequate financial support," Jarc said.

Moreover, only some 19% of those aged 15 to 29 received unemployment benefits in June, said Jarc, while the average share of population receiving them was almost 32%.

Jarc believes this is the case because the youths often do not work long enough at a job to be eligible for the benefits or they are classified as first-time job seekers.

She is worried because crises have the tendency to increase long-term unemployment, adding the average duration of unemployment for the young was 9.7 months as it is.

Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina shares the view that Slovenian youth are too exposed to precarious forms of work and faces what may seem insurmountable housing problems.

However, he also highlighted the fact that although education is free of charge in Slovenia, many cannot afford to go to university because the costs that come with that, above all the high cost of housing in university cities, are shouldered nearly exclusively by parents.

The Nefiks institute meanwhile said in a statement that the pandemic had significantly changed the lives of youths in all fields, from education and work to how they spend their free time.

It said that the number of jobs available to students had dropped by 30% in June over June 2019, while companies are scrapping new jobs planned for this year, making this even harder for first-time job seekers.

In its special message to the youth, the government's Office for Youth highlighted the important role of the youth taking part in public matters.

Its acting head Dolores Kores wrote that apart from bringing tangible results for social developments, this brings optimism and courage to tackles their own challenges, from climate change to Covid-19.

But to enhance their participation, their social situation should be tackled first, chiefly housing, first employment and precarious forms of work, which should be prioritised at national level.

Kores said that the 2013-2022 resolution on the national programme for the youth brings a number of measures related to housing, including a housing area for the youth in Ljubljana, which is already in the making.

She said the government would expectedly adopt a plan with a number of other measures in August, when the government's youth council is to meet for the first time under the new government.

The office said a Youth 2020 survey is currently under way to serve as a basis for planning measures for the youth, including a new resolution for the post-2022 period.

The UN declared International Youth Day in 1999 in a bid to encourage discussions about issues concerning the young and to highlight their role in society.


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