Combating youth unemployment

Three new measures aimed at keeping youth unemployment in check come into force in Austria in January 1998. One is meant as an incentive to hire trainees, one to facilitate the transition from school to employment, and one to facilitate the transition from training to higher education.

The Austria Government has taken three new measures aimed at facilitating youth employment. In the first, a clause was added to the Federal Tendering Act (Bundesvergabegesetz), as part of the general tendering conditions, requiring that in awarding tenders for contracts, the employment of persons on a training contract be taken into account. Parliament approved this change. No explicit mention of apprenticeship contracts was made, because this would conflict with European Union regulations. The new clause takes effect from 1 January 1998.

The second measure aims to facilitate the transition from school to work. Compulsory schooling in Austria comprises nine years. In the eighth and ninth grade a new compulsory subject will be introduced called "occupational orientation". Here the 13- and 14-year-olds will be informed about the labour market and about the occupations available in it. This is to counter the tendency for apprenticeship seekers to cluster in a few highly esteemed occupations while others have problems attracting any applicants. The overall number of teaching units will remain the same: in other words, the new subject comes at the expense of others.

In the same vein, vocational schools will in future be required to give special support to students aspiring to university entry levels. They should be offered special preparation courses and courses that might lead directly to passing one or the other of the four exams required (AT9706116F). The aim is to keep young people in the educational system who might otherwise be a burden on the labour market.

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