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European Solidarity Corps presents great opportunities for Ireland’s young people – Hayes

A new EU programme for young people should be considered by Irish young people who are keen to broaden their horizons and develop skills which will make them more attractive to prospective employers, Brian Hayes MEP said.

“The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people aged between 18 and 30 to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe. This initiative has a huge budget, €375.6 billion, and is open to any person living in a participating member state, which Ireland is.

Examples of some of these special kinds of projects include:

  • Rebuilding communities after natural disasters
  • Helping refugees that have just arrived in Europe
  • Clearing plants from forests to prevent wildfires
  • Assisting people with disabilities

“We currently have about 460 young Irish people participating on the ESC. I think it’s important that teachers and training course directors are aware of this and similar schemes – there are many different paths to employment and building a career.

“There are two kinds of opportunities with the European Solidarity Corps: occupational and voluntary. Most offers will be for volunteering work, which is unpaid. However, volunteers will get many of their expenses covered, normally including:

  • Travel to and from the project
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Medical insurance
  • Some spending money for the day-to-day cost of living.

“Occupational projects within the European Solidarity Corps will be offers of jobs, traineeships and internships with organisations carrying out Solidarity Corps projects. These will be paid in line with the local laws of wherever they are based and will require a higher level of skill than most volunteer positions.

“A core principal to this programme is that it is accessible to all our young people, notably those who are disadvantaged or living in more rural areas. This is another example of the benefits to being part of the European Union. It enables participants to strengthen and validate their skills and facilitate their integration into the labour market, whilst simultaneously experiencing different cultures or work practices. It also affords young people an opportunity to start their professional network early, which is something they will build on throughout their professional life.”

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