Policy messages from peer review on Youth Guarantee

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The Youth Guarantee is an ambitious model to help tackle the EU’s youth unemployment crisis. All 28 Member States have submitted their Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans and are putting them into action. They are now learning from peer review and looking to the first results of the Youth Guarantee pilot projects underway in various countries.

Eurofound research on mapping youth transitions into employment and adulthood shows that damaging and prolonged absences from the labour market, education or training can be avoided via the Youth Guarantee.

Peer review

The peer review on the Youth Guarantee, hosted by the Finnish government in Helsinki in September 2014, resulted in a range of key policy messages. It brought together more than 30 representatives from 13 Member States and international bodies to discuss the experiences and practices at national level in implementing the Youth Guarantee. As well as Finland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland and Sweden took part.

This event was an opportunity to learn about the Finnish Youth Guarantee model, look at the first results of the Youth Guarantee pilot projects and discuss the experiences and practices taking place at national level. 

In particular, it focused on the revised Youth Guarantee model introduced in Finland in January 2013. The Finnish Youth Guarantee scheme was first introduced in 2005 and initially revised in 2010. As highlighted in a Eurofound study on experiences in Finland, from 2013 the target group includes not only unemployed young people aged under 25, but also young graduates aged under 30. The scheme aims to reduce the amount of time young people spend in the NEET status (not in employment, education or training) by improving their chances of finding a job or an educational opportunity. The study shows the success of the guarantee in Finland in helping to reduce youth unemployment: in 2011, nearly 84% of young job-seekers received a successful intervention within three months of registering as unemployed.

Pilot projects

At a seminar in Brussels on 9 September, the European Commission met with coordinators of 18 Youth Guarantee pilot projects launched in seven Member States between August and December 2013 at the request of the European Parliament: Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK.

The first findings report on the Youth Guarantee pilot projects (1.5 MB PDF) shows that they are ‘supporting innovation and development in the school-to-work and youth employment arenas’, allowing key aspects of the Youth Guarantee model to be tried and tested.

A total of 3,218 young people have taken part in the pilots during the first half of the project period. The findings show there is potential to make positive changes to school-to-work transitions and youth employment services, with clear benefits also emerging from involving employers and working in partnerships. These partnerships are now encouraged to review the process and learn from it, to bring this knowledge into future planning on making projects sustainable, and to share outcomes, impacts and lessons learnt.

The year-long pilot projects are intended to provide Member States with the practical experience necessary to assist in implementing their national Youth Guarantee schemes. They will do so using allocated resources from the €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative and the European Social Fund.

Policy messages

The key policy messages that emerged from the peer review relate to commitment and partnerships, engaging employers and monitoring and evaluation of Youth Guarantee schemes.

Political commitment and partnerships

  • Political commitment is a strong determining factor in effective design and delivery of national schemes.
  • Partnerships between various organisations and actors, including young people, are crucial in the design and implementation of policies. These partnerships should be established at national, regional and local levels to maximise impact.
  • Clearly allocating roles and responsibilities between partners can help create a coordinated service delivery and encourage a stronger commitment to the process.
  • Sharing and centralising the data associated with each young person’s experience is central to supporting their Youth Guarantee journey.

Employer engagement

  • Employers’ involvement is necessary for the successful design and delivery of schemes.
  • Employers can be encouraged to buy in to the scheme, for example if the administrative burden is minimised, there is a range of placement types or incentives are linked to the quality of the apprenticeships or on-the-job training.

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Ongoing monitoring of a scheme allows feedback to circulate to improve different elements of the scheme.
  • Using a robust evidence base is key to determining what works and what does not.
  • Assessing whether young people are receiving a good quality offer is an important step

Read the full policy document: Key policy messages - Peer Review on 'Youth Guarantee' - Helsinki (656 KB PDF)

Avoiding a lost generation

The Youth Guarantee will again be part of the agenda at a high-level seminar in Brussels on 19 January 2015, Avoiding a lost generation. The event will be hosted by Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European Economic and Social Committee.

Participants include Heinz Koller, Regional Director for Europe at the International Labour Organization, Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, László Andor, Senior Fellow at the Hertie School of Governance and former EU Commissioner, as well as representatives from the European Commission and government ministries. Eurofound Research Manager Massimiliano Mascherini will present Eurofound research on youth transitions, the Youth Guarantee and youth entrepreneurship.


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