2,000 candidates apply for five jobs in Italy's public sector

2,000 candidates apply for five jobs in Italy's public sector
By Emma Beswick
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Would you travel for over 13 hours to apply for a job if you knew you'd be one of 2,000 candidates? That's what thousands of people do in Italy every month.


Jobs in Italy's public sector are so sought-after that candidates flock from across the country to go through a gruelling selection process.

This Wednesday, 824 nervous applicants, most of them young university graduates, were whittled down to around 500 in a gruelling process to get a job as a nurse.

Over 2,000 people in total applied for just five nurse positions on the outskirts of Turin.

They arrived in the morning, sat one test and then, if successful, sat another in the afternoon.

Candidates wait for the test to begin.

Such was the scale of the tests that it took place in a local basketball stadium, with candidates perching on benches and filling in their tests on clipboards on their knees.

How can candidates afford to travel to the tests?

The "Bus to Go" was a scheme set up by an ex-candidate, Raffaele Di Sieno, who struggled to find the funds to sit the tests when he wanted to become a public-sector nurse.

The coach travels the length of Italy picking up hopefuls in the southernmost regions and transporting them to test sittings in the north — a journey which takes over 13 hours.

Gino Ferrara is a bus driver who has been transporting hopefuls on the Bus to Go for over a year.

"There are people who study last minute, talking to themselves. Some couples fell in love on the bus. We also had a 50-year-old woman who sat the test 25 times," he told Euronews.

Some candidates go through this process again and again, never sure if they will eventually succeed.

"This is my fourth attempt at the test," Giuseppe di Cava told Euronews, as he got back onto the bus to make his way back to the south.

He explained that the exams are always in the north of Italy, so he has many hours of travel under his belt.

"This one didn't go so well," he said, "but I'll try again".

What's at stake?

The five nursing jobs around Turin offer an monthly gross salary of €1,890 but candidates are really competing for what is perceived as a "job for life" in an unstable economic climate.

Nealy one in five young Italians are neither employed, job-seeking, nor in full-time study, according to a European Commission report released in July 2017.

Italy's youth unemployment rate, meaning for those between 15 and 24, was the third highest of all EU member states in January 2018, with just Greece and Spain coming in above it, according to Statistica portal.

With the burden of unemployment weighing heavy on many of Italy's young people, job seekers will continue to go through tests like the one in Turin to obtain a permanent contract in the public sector.

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