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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article24 September 2018European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

Your first EURES job helps young Italian to find work – and herself – in Portugal

Federica Passanante comes from the island of Sicily, which – like much of Southern Italy – continues to have a high unemployment rate a decade on from the global financial crisis.

Your first EURES job helps young Italian to find work – and herself – in Portugal
Federica Passanante

After graduating from the University of Palermo in Industrial Design, Federica had a series of short-term, “volatile” jobs and traineeships, none of which translated into long-term work experience.

“I couldn’t find a stable job in my area, but I also wanted to do an experience abroad, since I didn’t do the Erasmus [student exchange programme],” Federica says. She therefore began to search for job opportunities abroad in Europe.

Federica had already registered on the EURES Portal as a student, where she recalls seeing an advertisement for the Your first EURES job (YfEj) programme. After graduating, she was searching for a job when she heard from a friend that EURES had many connections with companies in Portugal and decided to focus her research on the country.

Federica soon applied to a job advertisement with global outsourcing provider Sitel. Like any global company, Sitel needs an international workforce made up of native speakers of an array of different languages.

After Federica sent her application, the recruitment process moved very swiftly. “I had a couple of calls and Skype interviews with Sitel’s human resources representative and team manager, and in a couple of days they offered me a job,” she recalls.

After accepting the job, Federica received financial support from YfEj, as well as additional administrative support from the EURES Lead Employment Office and Sitel’s human resources representative. The company also helped her to find accommodation when she arrived in Portugal.

Federica was happy with the job she found through the YfEj programme. “It was a very good experience,” she says. “I was working for Sitel, an outsourcing company, in the Marketing and Communications sector, where I was responsible for a leading global retailer’s customer care to support both Italian and European sellers.”

Alongside her work at Sitel, Federica also displayed her creative talent when she was crowned as the winner of a photo competition organised for participants of the YfEj programme in 2016. “I saw on the EURES Portal a photographic contest, called “My YFEj moment”, where I could share one photo of my experience in Portugal,” Federica explains.

Federica’s photo, “Discovering Lisbon”, was taken from a viewing point overlooking the Portuguese capital and the Tagus River. The photo represented a theme of discovery, encapsulating the idea that the YfEj programme not only allows participants to discover a new country and city, but also helps them to get to know themselves in the process.

As the winner of the contest, Federica received a €500 voucher to spend on flights, which covered the cost of her flight back home to Sicily. “After that, I also attended the award ceremony in Rome, where I had the chance to meet Susana Pessoa from the EURES Employment Service in Portugal, who had helped me with all the admin work during my selection process,” she recalls.

Your first EURES Job helped Federica to find work at a time when jobs were in short supply in her home country. She had opportunities to stay longer in Portugal, including with Sitel, but eventually decided to return to Italy in August 2017, where the experience she had gained abroad helped her to find a relevant position.

Federica, now aged 28, is working in the field of European mobility – something that she is naturally very passionate about – and she is keen to recommend her experience to other jobseekers.

“Our mission (and mine) is to help everyone get experiences such as YfEj and Erasmus+,” she says. “As an Italian coming from Sicily, I would be very happy if more people knew about this programme [YfEj] and had the opportunity to participate.”

For Federica, though, the programme was about more than just finding a job, as she expressed so eloquently in the caption of her winning photo:

“This YfEj experience makes [it] possible to discover a beautiful country, but especially myself and my potential!”

Your first EURES job is a European Union job mobility scheme. To find out more about employment and training opportunities across the EU or to find employees with the skills you need, contact one of the scheme’s employment services or get in touch with your local EURES Adviser via the EURES portal.


Related links:

Your first EURES job

“Discovering Lisbon”

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