Getting Europe’s youth into work and training: National examples

Image of young worker receiving training

Eurofound’s European Observatory of Working Life (EurWORK) gathers together information on working conditions and industrial relations across all EU Member States and Norway, supported by a network of European correspondents.

A number of recent articles from the observatory have focused on youth-related issues in various EU Member States, such as the Youth Guarantee, vocational training, entrepreneurial activity and school-to-work transitions.

Youth Guarantee and vocational training

Slovenia’s Youth Guarantee strategy for 2014–2015 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 youth unemployment. Slovenia is unusual among EU Member States in having raised the upper age limit for eligibility for the programme from 25 to 29 years. The first results show that those participating in the Youth Guarantee scheme received 40% more referrals for job vacancies than those who had not participated. Youth employment was also up 24% on the previous year. The results of the Youth Guarantee show that this strategy is really helping young people in Slovenia to find employment faster.

The role of the social partners has also been looked at in various Member States in delivering the Youth Guarantee. The EurWORK topical update on Social partners and the Youth Guarantee presents some of the key developments and research findings on aspects of skills, learning and employability in the fourth quarter of 2014. For instance, the social partners in Italy and Lithuania have committed themselves formally through memoranda of understanding to cooperate in the implementation of each country's national Youth Guarantee plans.

In Luxembourg, the results of the first implementation phase of the Youth Guarantee scheme show that 420 young job-seekers have signed a binding agreement with the National Employment Office (ONEm); of these, 65% could benefit from a quality offer, either in the form of a job offer or an apprenticeship. The social partners have supported the scheme. For example, the Independent Trade Union Confederation (OGB-L) put forward a number of proposals during its annual congress in December 2014 such as a strategy to validate and certify competencies.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) announced the creation of a new alliance for vocational and further training in December 2014. The new alliance covers the 2015–2018 period and unites all relevant actors under one umbrella. Employers have promised to provide 500,000 internship positions and 20,000 apprenticeship positions anually, in addition to those already registered with the Federal Employment Agency.

Entrepreneurial activity

Spain has seen recent growth in entrepreneurial activity. The difficulties experienced by young unemployed people in getting a job have led many to set up their own businesses. Experts acknowledge the success of Spanish measures to encourage self-employment, but argue that many unemployed people have decided to set up their own businesses only because they cannot find a job, and that necessity-driven new businesses have lower survival rates. They say entrepreneurship should be supported with long-term measures adapted to entrepreneurs’ actual needs.

School-to-work transitions

In Italy, framework agreements have been signed to strengthen school-to-work transitions. The Italian government aims to strengthen school-to-work transitions by means of apprenticeship contracts. Therefore, an experimental plan allows students to spend training periods within enterprises. In order to implement this plan, public institutions and a firm or an employers’ organisation are required to set up framework agreements. Two such agreements have been signed in 2014.

Report coming soon

  • Eurofound (April 2015): Youth entrepreneurship: Values, attitudes, policies

Ongoing research

Eurofound is currently investigating the early implementation of the Youth Guarantee in 10 Member States under the framework of its ‘Social inclusion of young people’ project which will result in a forthcoming consolidated report (autumn 2015).  

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