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Training kit

Circular economy for youth inclusion

Module 1 - About Youth inclusion

A) Social Inclusion

The EU defines social inclusion as “a process that ensures citizens have the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social and cultural life and to enjoy a standard of living and well-being that is considered normal in the society in which they live. It encompasses, but is not restricted to, social integration or better access to the labour market, and also includes equal access to facilities, services and benefits. It is a concept that is now central to the European policy agenda.

Social inclusion policies aim to correct the structural and multifactorial inequalities that affect the people and groups that make up a society; placing people at the center, beyond material well-being.

A fundamental tool, but not the only one, to promote social inclusion is work. Although it is true that it is a right, as established in article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), not all people have the same opportunities to access employment and, unfortunately, decent employment that breaks the situation of poverty and vulnerability. Long-term unemployed people, people deprived of liberty, immigrants, people over 45 years of age, people with functional diversity or mental health problems or young people who have failed at school are in a disadvantageous position in getting and keeping a job.

If for anyone having a job is important, for groups in vulnerable situations, it is not only a means to obtain economic income but also to reverse their situation of vulnerability, integrate and participate fully in society.

B) Labour market inclusión

Lack of access to employment is one of the most determining factors of exclusion. Employment in many cases behaves not only as a factor of integration in economic terms, but goes further. It is not only about having a job and a salary, but it is also a step to occupy a place in society and is directly related to other key integration factors of the personal and social cultural sphere. (Cultural integration, relational network, motivation, mental health, etc.)

Employment, therefore, acts in many cases as a key factor in breaking out of the circle of exclusion of the most vulnerable young people. But what are we talking about when we say most vulnerable young people? There are numerous factors related to vulnerability:

  • Aspects related to employment: Unemployment, submerged employment, job insecurity, unstable jobs, abusive working conditions, lack of work experience.
  • Aspects related to the personal sphere: Mental health, addictions, legal residence status, victim of gender violence, lack of personal skills, criminal record, disability, etc.
  • Aspects related to education: lack of a minimum level of formal training, school failure, training not adapted to the needs of the labor market, lack of necessary support throughout the career path, illiteracy, etc.
  • Aspects related to the social sphere. Lack of relational network, ethnic minorities, discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, ethnic minorities,
  • Aspects related to the economic sphere: Poor households, insufficient income, debts, underground economy, substandard housing.
  • Aspects related to the family environment: Consumption environments, violence, lack of strong family ties, young people without families, etc.