SPANISH government develops new ‘rural Erasmus’ scheme for work experience
In a unique move against the depopulation of remote areas of Spain, the government has launched a new ‘rural Erasmus’ scheme for the 2021-2022 academic year which will see students offered the opportunity to carry out their three month work experience in a village or small town setting.
“We want to launch a job exchange program, training, in the style of what has been done with Erasmus in Europe, breaking borders. That at least three months of the first work experience of our young people take place in this type of environment for an emotional and work connection,” explained the minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, on Monday, March 29.
During the closing of a ceremony in the Senate, the government official announced that the first stage of the Erasmus plan would be offered to one hundred students, with a special focus on “empowering” women who want to work in this sector. Ms Ribera added that this will be done through a series of training projects, digital training and loans to self-employed people registered in the smaller municipalities.
The minister pointed out that inland Spain in particular has seen a massive population decline in recent years, while its labour force has decreased “almost by half” since the middle of the last century. Additionally, twice as many women as men has chosen to leave rural areas in favour of larger towns and cities.
In her fight against the depopulation of rural areas of Spain, the minister also plans to convene a Permanent Forum for the Demographic Challenge in the next few weeks which will invite input from local actors, rural associations and academics with a special interest in this issue.
“With this Forum, together with the 130 measures of the Recovery Plan in the face of the Demographic Challenge, we are taking a qualitative leap in the attention to our small municipalities”, she added.