Slovenia: Satisfactory results of Youth Guarantee
Slovenia's Youth Guarantee strategy for 2014–2015 was approved by the government in January 2014. It sets out a range of measures that are designed to improve the transition from education to employment, to get young unemployed people into vocational training or paid work more quickly, and to reduce unemployment among the young.
Aims of the Youth Guarantee
Slovenia's Youth Guarantee strategy aims to:
- improve the transition from education to employment;
- move young unemployed people into employment more quickly;
- reduce unemployment.
The strategy's target is to ensure that every young person aged 15–29 years is offered some form of employment, an internship, job-related training, formal training or shorter forms of institutional or skills-focused training within four months of registering as unemployed with the Employment Service of Slovenia (ZRSZ).
Slovenia is unusual among EU Member States in having raised the upper age limit for young people eligible for the programme from 25 to 29 years. Over €157 million will be allocated for the implementation of the Youth Guarantee scheme and it is expected that 63,000 young people will be enrolled in the programme in the 2014–2015 period.
In July 2014, ZRSZ saw a decline in the number of unemployed people registering with it the first time and attributed this fall partly to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee strategy at the beginning of the year. Between January and July 2014, 34% of the 42,000 people who found employment were under 29 years of age.- The youth unemployment rate among 15–29 year-olds in the first quarter of 2014 was 20.6%.
Key measures and results
The Youth Guarantee plan sets out 36 measures, of which 23 have been implemented. These are the programme's most important measures, accounting for 94% of the allocated funds for 2014. These include the 'First Challenge 2014', 'Enterprising in the world of entrepreneurship', 'Training at the workplace' and 'Mentorship for the young'.
'First Challenge 2014' seeks to promote employment among unemployed under 30 years of age from eastern Slovenia, integrate them into the work environment and improve their job prospects. It also aims to contribute to achieving fast and stable employment among the target group and reducing the disparity between supply and demand in the labour market. The programme will provide full-time jobs for 3,176 young unemployed people for at least 15 months, including a three-month trial period. Within the First Challenge 2014 programme, employers will receive a subsidy of €7,250 for employing first-time job seekers per person employed. Over €20 million has been set aside to fund the initiative. The first public invitation was published in May 2014; by July, 421 of a planned 690 job contracts had been concluded, placing 470 unemployed young in work.
'Enterprising in the world of entrepreneurship' is a programme to promote entrepreneurship among young unemployed people with higher levels of educational attainment. It is implemented by regional agencies across the whole of Slovenia and offers entrepreneurial training for young people. The four-month training programm is delivered to groups of 10 participants, under the guidance of mentors, to help them develop their own business idea, prepare a business plan and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to develop an entrepreneurial career. At the time of writing, 490 young people had been enrolled in this programme.
'Training at the workplace' offers employers support to train candidates in the workplace by reimbursing the training costs. Lasting three months, the training programme is open to unemployed people under the age of 30 years. In the first half of 2014, some 2,020 young people under the age of 30 years were enrolled on the programme, representing 59% of all those involved in Youth Guarantee measures.
Young people can also join the 'Mentorship for the young' programme, which is designed to promote the transfer of knowledge and experience from older workers to newly recruited young people. Employers who offer full-time employment to someone under 30 years of aged for a minimum of 12 months under this scheme are eligible for a subsidy. The measure is supervised by the Public Fund for Human Resource Development. Up to July 2014, more than 200 young people had found work and more than 200 mentors had been trained under this scheme.
Impact of the strategy
A comparison of statistical data shows that for unemployed people under the age of 30 who had taken part in a Youth Guarantee strategy measure since January 2014 received 40% more referrals for job vacancies than those who had not participated. They also had 10 times more meetings with employers and had 70% more involvement in training.
Youth employment was 24% higher than in the previous year. The results of the Youth Guarantee show that this strategy is really helping young people in Slovenia to find employment faster. In an effort to achieve even better results, a debate took place in the National Assembly at the end of December 2014 to discuss the reform of student work and the extension of the intervention law on youth employment for an indefinite period.