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Spain's Youth In Desperate Search For Work

posted 4 Feb 2013, 06:31 by Mpelembe   [ updated 4 Feb 2013, 06:31 ]

Spain's "no future" generation struggles to find work with 60 percent of people under 25 out of a job.

 MADRIDSPAIN (FEBRUARY 1, 2013) (REUTERS) -  A normal day for 24-year-old Ana García is spent riding her bike, practicing her musical skills and surfing the internet in the vain hope of finding a job.

García, who got a degree in sound production two years ago, belongs to the 60 percent of the country's people under the age of 25 who are unemployed.

"Last year I was waking up searching job websites and I was going to sleep searching job websites. I used to wake up in the middle of the night to take a look just in case there was some new offer," she said before going to the unemployment office for the regular monthly registration.

With Spain's unemployment rate soaring to its highest level since measurements began in the 1970s with a prolonged recession and deep spending cuts leaving almost six million people out of work at the end of last year, García has little hope of putting her skills to use.

"In my circle there are practically 95 percent of jobless people. There are just a few of them who work. They get one or two-day jobs sometimes but this is impossible," she said.

Unlike most members of her generation, García managed to leave her family home, thanks to a job she had before finishing university. She pays the rent helped by her partner, her mother and with the monthly unemployment government aid she is still receiving.

Although García has considered following many of her friends who have migrated to other European countries, she says she still believes she can get a career in Spain and wants to give it a try.

Many others have given up.

Barcelona's Goethe Institute offers more than 170 German courses every year. In the last two years they have seen the number of students grow by 75 percent, most of them people under 25 who want to seek a better future in Germany, according to the centre director, Marion Haase.

One of the students at the Institute is Eva Sanchez, a 21-year-old engineer who has studied German for two years and is preparing to leave Spain in the summer. After failing to find a job since she graduated from university, she says she has lost hope.

"There is nothing here. So I have to leave now. This is not what I would like to do if there is nothing they can give me here I can't stay here and do something different to what I prepared myself for. I have been studying for for five years and my parents invested (in my education), and all for nothing," she said.

Graphic designer Andrea de la Mata, another student at the Institute, is already fluent in English and about to finish her German courses as she prepares to leave Spain in the coming months.

She says even a university degree provides no guarantee of finding work in Spain.

"It is a kind of a shame when you study something and you can't find the job you are dreaming to find. That is why I am learning Deutch (German) right now. You feel you've got no way of finding something," she said.

Young Spaniards, who have been dubbed 'generacion cero' or 'the ni-nis' - neither in work nor full time education, are now living in the family home longer than ever before, pushing the average age of independence from their parents to well into their 30s.

Spain's unemployment rate rose to 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from 25 percent in the previous quarter and more than double the European Union average.