ALI REZA ARABNIA (GEICO): “WE ENTREPRENEURS IN CHARGE OF THE COMPANY HAVE THE MORAL DUTY TO INCENTIVISE YOUTH EMPLOYMENT”

According to the most recent statement from Italian statistics agency ISTAT on last year, employment has increased by 186,000, a 0.8% rise on the year before. In terms of young people between 15 and 24, the 2015 unemployment rate has shrunk to 40.3% (2.4% less). This is the first annual decrease in this age bracket since 2007. The rate of unemployment for 25-34 year olds has come down to 17.8% (0.8% less compared to 2014).

“Young people are the driving force of our economy. They’re our future and bringing the best out of them is essential to add fresh ideas and innovation to any type of activity. We entrepreneurs have a huge responsibility towards society, from the micro-community of employees in our business to the macro-community that surrounds us. For this reason, it’s important to persistently, intelligently and stubbornly implement projects that can have a positive influence on the economy as a whole, and in particular on youth employment.

In this respect, we at Geico have set up a programme, J-Next, aimed at offering recent graduates a chance through a genuine path of development. As part of this, they will be offered the opportunity of working directly at our plants all over the world.

The jobs are not based on the actual needs of the company; we’re dealing with an investment apparently without return or, to be more specific, without financial return because in reality it represents our contribution to the fight against youth unemployment. This is the biggest return we could have: the satisfaction and pride of being able to help a young person set themselves up, and by extension their family, are priceless.

These motivations led us to creating the Fondazione Pardis, with its debut project Gate Bridge. The objective before 2020 is to find 100 young people aged between 18 and 30, who are actively looking for work but for various reasons cannot find it, and get them into local businesses in Lombardy, carrying out a role as mediator and financing internships of six months each. None of this has direct financial and professional benefits for our company; it’s purely an example of social work for our community.”