‘I no longer feel that learning opportunities are encouraged for people of my age‘
Salvatore’s story is emblematic of the discrimination many people are experiencing due to their age as they are looking for work and learning opportunities.
My day starts normally at around 6 am when I energetically get up and enthusiastically begin writing my bachelor thesis, hopeful to find a scholarship programme for those who are over 40s anywhere in the EU and increase my likelihood of finding future employment, upon completion of my studies.
In an effort to continuing my education, and be financially independent, in the meantime, I send as many job applications as I possibly can. However the market only offers positions in low paid, highly stressful, call centre roles,with poor working conditions, with temporary renewable contracts, normally associated with customer service roles and sales using one’s native language skills, all of which are totally unrelated to my field of study or interest.
I anxiously check my email inbox to find out whether the outcome of a previously sent job application has been attended to, by the Human Resources representative of a big multinational company. I hope that this time the person in charge of making decisions, is more open minded than the previous, and that he or she will have taken the time to objectively evaluate my previous experience and potential as a new joiner.
I feel a subtle hope to be offered a financially stable job and start planning my future ahead, however this is not often the case, given the fact that I rarely receive call backs with interview invitations.
In the meantime, I also try to locate equal opportunity universities, which are able to assist EU citizens who do not have an adequate income to self-fund their studies. However, these are also hard to find. Hence, the overall search becomes a frustrating experience, after reading that in most cases, both nationality and age restrictions apply to scholarships and vocational trainings of all sort, across several EU countries.
As a 41 year old Italian citizen, born and raised in one of the funding members of the EU bloc, and currently residing abroad, I no longer feel that learning opportunities are encouraged for people of my age. The prospect of landing the job opportunity of my life, which will someday enable me to look after myself financially, is out of sight, at least for now. Self-funding therefore, remains the only option available, for those who can afford it…
Salvatore, Psychology student