Citizen Service is a life experience that is strong in meeting people and learning about oneself and others. Every year, nearly 650 young Belgians between the ages of 18 and 25 (inclusive) embark on the adventure!
Additional advantages of the project: the acquisition of valuable skills with a view to job search and real recognition from Forem and Actiris.
But what is a Citizen Service?
The Citizen Service is aimed at all young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who wish to engage in volunteering in Belgium. There are no prerequisites, except for a good dose of motivation and a minimum knowledge of French.
A Citizen Service is 3 things:
A mission of 4 days a week within a host organization
Group time with other young people aged 18 to 25
Individual follow-up (not mandatory)
Each young person in Citizen Service chooses the mission that interests them from a catalogue on the site: https://service-citoyen.be/faire-un-service-citoyen/les-missions. There are currently more than 1200 missions available in Belgium!
These missions are very diverse, there really is something for everyone! They are divided into 4 sectors with SENS: assistance to people (rest homes, centres for people in precarious situations or with disabilities, Red Cross or Fedasil centres, etc.), the environment and sustainable development (educational farms, nature park, animal shelter, market gardening cooperative, etc.), culture and education (concert hall, cultural centre, youth centre, library, etc.). primary school or kindergarten, etc.) and education through sport (ADEPS centre).
A Citizen Service is also a collective experience. Groups of 25 young people start every month between September and May in the 5 branches of the Citizen Service: Brussels, Liège, Charleroi, Namur and Leuven. Groups are also organised in Verviers, Tournai and Libramont this autumn!
Even if everyone is alone at their place of mission, the group meets about 2 or 3 times a month for collective time: 1 or 2 day training modules on citizen themes (non-violent communication, European First Aid Certificate, eco-citizenship, etc.) but also workshops and exchange times to take stock of the skills acquired and reflect together on the aftermath of the Citizen Service.
Throughout the Citizen Service, each young person has the opportunity to meet an individual coach in order to address all types of difficulties and reflect on their orientation at the end of the Citizen Service. The objective is to draw on this very concrete experience lived at the place of mission to orient oneself with more confidence after the Citizen Service. After these 6 less intense days, some start looking for a job, others choose to go back to school or training. Still others are once again volunteering, sometimes abroad.
The Citizen Service has 4 objectives:
The personal development of each young person
Exercising Engaged Citizenship
The Citizen Service is recognised by Forem and Actiris. The young jobseeker continues his integration internship during his Citizen Service and is also exempted from active job search. If they receive family, social or unemployment benefits, they keep them for the 6 months of their Citizen Service. However, it is not mandatory to be registered as a job seeker in order to carry out a Citizen Service.
In addition, each young person is compensated for this commitment up to €10/day worked. He is insured and his travel expenses between his home and his place of mission are also covered with a monthly ceiling of €100.
What should I do if I get a job during my Citizen Service?
It often happens that young people continue their job search during their Citizen Service. If they get a job that interests them, they can of course end their Citizen service without consequences.
How to register?
The gateway to Citizen Service is compulsory participation in an information session. Each branch organizes one every week. At the end of the information session, each young person can complete a registration form if they wish. To see the upcoming info session dates and to register: https://service-citoyen.be/faire-un-service-citoyen/sessions.