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Press release, 17 January 2013

Eurofound publishes new report on active inclusion of young people with health problems or disabilities:

Active inclusion of young people furthest from the labour market

(Dublin, Ireland) Young people with health problems or disabilities are currently being missed by both employment policy and practice. Eurofound argues in a new report on active inclusion of young people with health problems or disabilities that there is a need and opportunity to bring these young people into focus. There are good practices across the European Union, that include flexible benefits, promotion of better school-to-work transitions and taking a pathways-to-employment approach. However, until now public policies have not given enough support to implementation of this positive and pro-active approach. The report will be presented at a joint international conference with the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in The Hague, The Netherlands, on 17 January 2013.

Nearly all Member States are experiencing with high levels of unemployment and economic inactivity amongst young people. Even before the onset of the crisis there were increasing numbers of young people with health problems or disability who very often due to mental health problems, in large numbers, were entering into disability or social assistance schemes A number of countries have been paying more attention to this group (including Norway, the UK, Denmark, Finland and most of all the Netherlands where the dramatic increase was quite evident because of a separate benefit scheme for youngsters).

The social and economic disadvantages associated with ill-health or disability are reflected in the employment rates for persons with very severe and severe degrees of disability, currently at 20% and 44% respectively. In 2009, the  poverty for persons with disabilities which was 70% higher than average. The ongoing crisis makes the situation even more difficult.

A range of policies are relevant to the situation of young people with health problems or disabilities. The most appropriate strategy seems to be 'active inclusion' with its emphasis on joined up actions across the pillars of flexible income support, inclusive labour market measures, access to social and health services and lifelong learning.

This Eurofound study examines the situation of young people with health problems or disabilities in 11 countries (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom) and at EU level. The main aim of the research is to examine how the policies have been implemented to move young people with health problems or disabilities from inactivity into employment. The report showcases 44 innovative case studies across the member states.

The report identifies a trend towards dealing with the needs of people with health problems or disabilities in mainstream rather than specialist services. However the targeting of young people with disabilities or health problems by these measures varies considerably across the Member States. The good practice examples show hot to strengthen the integrated approach to skills development, training and job placement. The cases underline the value of rapid placement in a real job to ensure momentum is maintained. The role of mental health problems as a factor in the social as well as economic exclusion of the target group needs to be addressed more effectively. Finally some employers need support with the recruitment, acknowledgment and retention of staff with disabilities.

More information is available at http://bit.ly/actincl13

For further information, contact Måns Mårtensson, media manager, on email: mma@eurofound.europa.eu, telephone: +353-1-2043124, or mobile: +353-876-593 507. 

Notes to the editor

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Page last updated: 16 January, 2013