I am currently on a one-year contract. Before that I did a full year as a CIP (Editor’s note: Contrat d’Immersion Professionnelle). I was paid 800€ which is definitely not enough to live decently in Brussels while doing the job of a junior officer.
800€ with no right to holidays and no access to unemployment benefits at the end of the CIP period is extremely stressful. When one of my colleagues left, I had to cover for her duties with no compensation and while still being under a CIP contract. CIP contracts have effectively killed every entry position in our sector.
I find it absurd that while we are advocating for fair working conditions our sector is not even providing decent wages to their trainees. I was babysitting in order to afford living in Brussels and when the confinement hit and I could not work as a babysitter anymore it became extremely complicated to pay my rent and feed myself.
I was lucky to be able to get monetary help from my parents and grand-parents but I know that many other CIP workers in our sector did not get that luck and were truly struggling. I know that my story is not an isolated story and that most trainees in the Brussels’ CSO sector are really struggling.