In November 2015 youth unemployment rate in Greece was 48%, in Spain 45%, Croatia 44%, Italy 39%, Brazil is 16% right now and increasing. In other countries as The Netherlands we see the unemployment decreasing, in January 2016 the rate was around 11%, compared to 13% in 2013. There is a reason why some countries can control unemployment rates, even during a worldwide crisis. The reason is initiatives like De Broekriem.
The name might sound confusing for people who don’t speak Dutch (as me), but the meaning is “the belt”. It comes from the saying that when the (financial) situation is bad we have to tight our belts.
I spoke to Pieter Vermeer, the architecture behind this non-governmental organization. Every time I interview someone who runs an organization I ask about stories they have to tell about it, immediately he told me he was a success story. During the crisis he was fired from his job and unsatisfied with the government and other initiatives he started meeting with other jobless people every friday so they could exchange experiences, help each other through the hard times and specially don’t just wait for things to happen.
As Pieter himself described, 3 people became 4 then 5. Right now there are 5.000 active people in The Netherlands going to De Broekriem’s meetings. He, more 2 employees and 80 jobless volunteers help to organize 50 meetings every month in 20 different cities nationwide. In this meetings volunteers invite career advisors and recruiters to talk about ways to get a job and tips on LinkedIn or how to get your resume done.
There people meet each other, share experience and get together in the search for a job and new opportunities. If you are still skeptical about how people can get jobs meeting new people you should ask Pieter how is his business going. Two facts before you do: their base of volunteers change every month because most of them get jobs really quickly; second, they earn money not by having an subscribing fee, but an exit fee, which means they only ask people for a donation when these same people get a job. That is their only income and in case you are still wondering De Broekriem is doing fine, thank you.
When I asked if they plan on expanding he told me about the statics about unemployment around the world. Seeing through this point of view maybe it is not a question of expand or not, but a necessity. Being a NGO they are open to help anyone who wants to take the initiative to another country. And people still think the value of meeting people and making new connections is not tangible.
Summering, this is the reason why if you are unemployed right now might be a good idea to check De Broekriem out instead of watching the entire new House of Cards season in one week, the more tempting it might be.