After studying to become a teacher in human sciences, Julie taught for 2 years in a school in Namur. After 2 years of work, doubt invaded him and the desire to reorient himself was more and more felt. She finally chose to stop teaching and embarked, at the age of 24, on a Citizen Service !
Julie, what was the trigger that triggered your desire to start a Citizen Service?
"I wanted to be more in the action. When you're a teacher, you transmit a lot. It's a wonderful job and I still love it as much as ever, but at some point, I felt the need to take action.
I was lucky enough to get to know the Citizen Service during my studies as a teacher. I had seen a video about the French Civic Service and while inquiring about the equivalent project in Belgium, I came across the Citizen Service!
I considered it directly after my studies but I ended up being directly hired in a school. So I had rather buried the project. In June 2021, after two years of teaching, I was 24 years old and had few prospects for the future. So I thought maybe it was time to take this time for myself and go for it because I needed it. "
What was your mission during these 6 months of Citizen Service ?
"I chose a mission in market gardening. Alice, my promotion manager, guided me in this choice. I wanted to be outside and get involved in the environmental sector. This mission was a lifesaver on many levels ! It did me a world of good to be outdoors ! I learned a lot about market gardening and I met some absolutely great people with huge hearts and super cool values! "
With whom did you start your Citizen Service?
"I started my Citizen Service with 24 other young people. We were training the class of October 2021. In this group, there was a great deal of heterogeneity. We had different ages and life paths that were sometimes very different. We came from different social backgrounds. Some were coming out of rhetoric and didn't want to go on to higher education right away. There were young people who had interrupted their studies during the year. Others to whom only the TFE remained to be handed over and who therefore had a lot of free time. Some were looking for a job and felt the need to be active during their job search.
What we have in common is a strong commitment to work! "
A year and a half later, what is your view of Citizen Service ?
"I finished my Citizen Service in April 2022. A year and a half later, I have the necessary hindsight to say that it was an important turning point for me personally and professionally in the sense that I was able to reset goals and have a much clearer vision of the work environment in which I want to thrive.
It also opened a lot of doors for me, I'm still a volunteer, this time in an association promoting culture. I met a lot of great people, and they will always be decisive for me. I have created very strong friendships with people in my class but also with the people who work at my mission. They are very important people to me and in my heart.
I became aware of my values, of what I want to put my energy into on a daily basis. I came out of it with certainty and a lot of skills acquired in the field. It has definitely enriched my CV. I've gained a lot of self-confidence. Now I know what I'm capable of. "
A training, a job or a Citizen Service?
"If you don't really know what to do, if you're hesitating between training or looking for a job, Citizen Service can be a great option ! The advantage of Citizen Service is that you can test a sector of activity without necessarily embarking on a training or study course. It's very concrete and it allows you to get a sense of the daily life of all these people who work in the sector of your mission. That's a huge added value. Too often, we choose to study or train without knowing what we are really getting into. The catalogue of missions is huge (almost 1300 in Belgium !), there really is something for everyone ! "
Administratively, is it a hassle or is it going well ?
"I was enrolled at Forem when I started doing Citizen Service and it was no problem. And I know it's the same with Actiris. As the Citizen Service is recognised by Forem and Actiris, this makes things easier. The integration internship continues throughout the Citizen Service. My counsellor Forem was not yet familiar with the Citizen Service but it was very well received. And I was exempted from actively looking for a job during my 6 months of Citizen Service. "
What would you say to someone who is still hesitating to get started ?
"Try it, you'll be very surprised at what it will bring you. The support is very serious in Citizen Service. We are surrounded in a very benevolent way by the employees of the Citizen Service, the other young people of the class and by the people who work in our mission. And that's very precious. It gives off and gives a huge force!
I was positively valued every day for what I was doing, it boosted my self-confidence ! "
Want to know more ?
Information sessions are organised every week in the 5 branches of the Citizen Service: