In view of the job crisis in Europe and record-high youth unemployment, global staffing leader Adecco has organised journeys for young people to gain first-hand international work experience and share their insights of the labour market. Schemes that allow young people to acquire work experience, both at home and abroad, are key to improving their employability and essential to helping school leavers to successfully enter the world of work.

On the back of the global job crisis, which hits young people particularly hard in Southern Europe – 64.9% unemployed youth in Greece, 56.1% in Spain – Adecco decided it was time to act and created the Adecco Way to Work™ initiative. It was launched in April 2013 to give a helping hand to school leavers and graduates in their search for a job. After the global Street Day on 30 April, at which over 10,000 Adecco employees in 50 countries went onto the streets, visited 300 schools and universities to offer career advice, guidance and free training workshops, the initiative sent 9 winners of a work experience contest around the world to gain a first-hand insight into the world of work by taking on various jobs in a wide variety of countries and professional fields.

The 9 winners, selected from over 23,500 contestants, received a unique opportunity to experience the world of work in the most diverse and international way: Adecco designed job journeys across five continents. The winners’ jobs were as varied as working with the technology start-up Mornin’ Glory in Berlin, interning with the editorial team at Cosmopolitan magazine, spending a day with leading advertising agency IFB McCann, joining the staff of CUPNOODLES MUSEUM in Yokohama, spending time as a chef on a cruise ship in Norway, experiencing work at a power plant in Chile, selling beer for world-renowned brewer Heineken in the Netherlands, working at a multinational bank in Ho Chi Minh City or being a kids’ party planner in Singapore. For a deep dive into all job experiences and the personal insights of the winners, visit their blogs at

Adecco Group CEO, Patrick De Maeseneire, who had the chance to meet winners of the work experience contest from Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US, commented:

“I was impressed by the enthusiasm of these young people, by their desire to learn and their openness to new and varied experiences. Acquiring hands-on professional experience is absolutely fundamental to successfully enter the world of work and make the right career choices. Young people must be willing to learn languages, work abroad and show a can-do attitude: all crucial to seizing opportunities on today’s job market. My sincere thanks to our clients around the globe who supported this initiative by providing such a varied and enriching range of jobs for our winners.”

Andri Bodmer, HR Director of the five star hotel Dolder Grand in Zurich, who mentored a winner for a day, commented: “It is of utmost importance to acquire work experience as early as possible, especially in order to develop the soft skills crucial in any business in which personal or client relations are essential. We look for people with emotional intelligence, which can only be developed through daily work and interaction.”

The winners’ learnings will surely benefit them when entering the job market in the coming months. Federico, a contest winner from Italy, commented: “Don’t believe anyone who tells you that there are no jobs out there. There are, but we need to broaden our horizons and look a bit further afield. A job opportunity could take you abroad for a while, and it may not be exactly what you expected. But that’s fine, because you’re getting experience and a clearer idea of what you really want to do.”

With all nine winners back from their trips now, the work experience contest and with it this year’s edition of the Adecco Way to Work™ programme will come to an end in September. The first edition was very well received in over 50 of the countries where Adecco operates. For a full overview of the programme visit the main programme website