Brightwork supports young Spanish film stars
Daniel De La Pascua Ramirez and Sergio Mangas Chica, who are both Spanish but live and work in Edinburgh, have major roles in the film In a Foreign Land, by award-winning Spanish filmmaker Icíar Bollaín.
The director, screenwriter and actress, who starred in Ken Loach's Land and Freedom, has just had her film screened at the Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival and in Glasgow to critical acclaim.
It focuses on the plight of young, well-educated and highly qualified Spaniards who have had to leave their homes because of the blight of unemployment in their own country and seek work in the Scottish capital's booming hospitality industry.
Figures in October this year show that joblessness in Spain remained stubbornly at 24%. Youth unemployment - that is, people under 25 - stood at 53.8%, more than half the country's young people. 700,000 people have emigrated from Spain since the recession began and 20,000 Spaniards live in Edinburgh.
By contrast, in the UK as a whole, it is estimated that between 475,000 and 660,000 new hospitality jobs will be created by 2020 and, even at present, one in every 14 jobs in the country is in the sector. More than 20% of UK hospitality workers are migrants.
Hazel Neill, divisional director at Quality Link Recruitment (QLR), the Scottish staffing and event management service which is part of the Brightwork Group, explained that QLR had helped both Daniel and Sergio when they first sought work in the UK.
She said: "They are smart, intelligent young people who have had to find work as a kitchen porter and a waiter. They did not have great English or particular skills at first, but they were so keen to work that we found them good jobs very quickly.
"Daniel is a quantity surveyor and building engineer in Spain, but there were no opportunities for him. He is now working in a takeaway food shop in Edinburgh. He knows that this is not what he wanted to do, but it is his only means of earning money."
In the film, a young girl who trained as a teacher works as a shop assistant. Another, who works as a housekeeper says that she earns as much as she would if she were an engineer in Spain.
A young migrant in the film says: "I miss home. I want to go back. We did everything we were supposed to do to have a future. Our parents worked so hard to give us the training we have."
Hazel Neill said: "We can find them good jobs, but it seems such a waste of their talents. Recently, I was helping a Spanish man in his thirties who has not worked since 2011. I know every country has an unemployment problem, but he was so keen to work. It's such a shame there is not more hope for them."