What Can Young People Gain from Joining the European Solidarity Corps?
What is the European Solidarity Corps? The European Voluntary Corps offers young people the opportunity to gain valuable experience working in a range of solidarity themed projects across the European Union. There are two types of projects you could get involved in: Full time voluntary service of between 2 and 12 months. This is part […]
What is the European Solidarity Corps?
The European Voluntary Corps offers young people the opportunity to gain valuable experience working in a range of solidarity themed projects across the European Union.
There are two types of projects you could get involved in:
- Full time voluntary service of between 2 and 12 months. This is part of the ‘Voluntary Strand.
- A job, traineeship or apprenticeship in a wide range of companies or organisations involved in solidarity themed activities. This is part of the Occupational Strand.
What is the aim of the European Solidarity Corps?
The European Solidarity Corps aims to bring together young people to build a more inclusive society, supporting vulnerable people and responding to societal challenges. It offers an inspiring and empowering experience for young people who want to help, learn and develop.
Jean-Claude Junker (President of the European Commission) said the following about the Corps in his State of the Union Address in 2016:
“There are many young, socially minded young people in Europe willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity. We can create opportunities for them to do so. These young people will be able to develop their skills and get not only work but also invaluable human experience.”
What types of projects could I get involved in?
There is a broad range of projects that young people can become involved in:
- Education and health care projects
- Social and labour market integration
- Assistance in the provision of food and other items
- Shelter and site construction
- Renovation and Management
- Reception and integration of migrants and refugees
- Environmental protection and prevention of natural disasters
What do the Volunteers Gain from the Experience?
There are a number of benefits to the young people taking part in ESC projects:
- The experience gained will be an asset when applying for a job or college place.
- You will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills.
- You get to make a meaningful contribution to society and enhance solidarity between people.
- You may get to travel to a new country and experience a different way of life.
- You will meet people from all over the European Union.
- At the end of their placement, participants will receive a European Solidarity Corps certificate, confirming their participation in the project.
Who can register to join the European Solidarity Corps?
You can register for the ESC at 17 years old, but you cannot start working on a project until you are 18 years old.
Applicants must be legally resident or have nationality in one of the European Union member states or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey or FYR Macedonia.
How long do the projects last?
Each project lasts between 2 and 12 months.
Are participants in projects paid?
Volunteers will not receive a wage but will be entitled to travel, lodging, and subsistence as well as insurance coverage for the duration of the project. You will also receive training before you arrive on site.
For participants doing an apprenticeship or traineeship, there may be an employment contract in accordance with the national regulations of the country you are working in. A subsistence allowance will be provided.
For participants that are recruited for a job placement, there will be a formal labour contract and wage in accordance with the laws of the country you are working in.
How Can I Apply to Join the European Solidarity Corps?
To register, visit the European Solidarity Corps website.
You will then be asked for the following:
- As part of the registration process, you will be asked for your basic personal details.
- You will be asked to provide examples of the experience and knowledge you can bring to the ESC.
- You will be asked about the type of projects you are interested in.
Organisations that have been authorised by the European Commission for ESC projects can then search the database for potential volunteers. If an organisation contacts you to offer you a position on a project, you can decide whether or not you would like to work on this project. This is entirely your decision.
An Example of a European Solidarity Corps Project
A group of ESC volunteers arrived in Italy recently to help in the rebuilding process after the severe earthquakes last year. The volunteers will help reconstruct historic buildings. They will also work with the young and elderly of the town of Norcia, organising workshops, outdoor activities and cultural events. The volunteers in Norcia came from Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Spain. In total, 230 ESC members will support Italian communities hit by the earthquakes until 2020.
Since its launch in December 2016, over 34,000 young people have joined the European Solidarity Corps. Over 15,000 participants have been contacted and 700 placements have been accepted. The aim is to have 100,000 taking part in the European Solidarity Corps by the end of 2020.
You could be among them. Register today to take advantage of this unique opportunity to take part in one of the fascinating projects taking place around the European Union.