I got the idea for this comic from the film "The Turtles' Song: A Moroccan Revolution" in which a young activist was angrily commenting on the lack of a future for educated young people in Morocco. But the comic actually relates directly to one of the initiatives we visited in Brussels, The Brussels Interns NGO (B!ngo Europe) who promote quality Early Job Experiences (EJEs) for young professionals. They have recently signed the European Quality Charter of Internships & Traineeships which they used as a basis for their B!ngo Label criteria including requirements on minimum wage, clear definition of job roles and mentors and also inclusion into the national social security system (tackiling a big problem of many young professionals getting stuck in a no man's land). When we interviewed the founder Nuno Loreiro, he said he wished to see better rights for young people in Europe especially at the vulnerable situation they are often in just after graduation.
And just as I'm writing this blog post, relevant articles catch my attention in the media: earlier this month The Guardian reported on the ethical problem of auctioning unpaid internships for charity and yesterday the same newspaper reported on the ongoing issue of unpaid commissions and gallery shows for artists. Susan Jones, director of a-n The Artists Information Company writes:
"No one should have to work for free, but that's just part of the issue. If economic circumstances mean there are fewer artists able to exhibit their work, we the policymakers, funders, galleries and the gallery-going public risk severing the pipeline of talent on which we depend. If that happens, we lose the precious diversity and innovation that makes visual arts in the UK so well respected."
No wonder so many young people are setting up their own projects and businesses, having to create a way of earning a living as other opportunities just don't seem to exist. Noel from our caravan wrote about people having to hack a lifestyle but with a positive mindset of doing what you are passionate about instead of the negative outlook of being forced to go about things your own way.