Building a better future for young people key focus of OECD Forum 2013

Eurofound’s findings on the problems facing young people across Europe and the economic cost of non-integration of those not in employment, education or training (NEETs) were referenced several times at the OECD Forum 2013 on 28–29 May in Paris. Low growth, record high unemployment among young people and their lack of trust in institutions means more needs to be done to rebuild confidence and improve prospects for Europe’s youth. A central aspect of inclusive growth, as one of the main priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy, is to increase employment, especially for young people, invest in their skills and training, as well as modernise labour markets and welfare systems. But the challenge is not unique to the EU and the issue was at the forefront of discussions during the two-day OECD Forum.

Among others, the sessions on ‘The Unemployees’ and ‘Scars of the Crisis’ highlighted youth issues and specifically economic and social costs of non-integration of young people into the labour market. Trust in institutions, social exclusion and mental health issues were also prominent in the debate. In addition, young people participating at the Forum highlighted the issues surrounding the provision of internships and establishing a quality framework for their implementation. The Forum feeds into the Ministerial Council Meeting on 29–30 May, where government leaders and ministers will hear more on the OECD’s Youth Action Plan, which is currently in the pipeline and aims to ensure that young people are given a good start.

Find more on the Forum 2013, see photographs and follow the debate at

Eurofound findings

Research carried out by Eurofound on youth issues reveals that:

  • youth disengagement from the labour market has a high cost and lasting effects for the individual and society;
  • those with low levels of education are more likely to be ‘not in employment, education or training’ (NEET) compared to those with tertiary education;
  • young people are a diverse group, with different levels of labour market readiness, and need tailored policy interventions that address specific needs;
  • youth have difficulties gaining a ‘foothold’ in the labour market due to lack of work experience, low levels of qualifications or mismatch between their skills and what employers need; they should be equipped with the skills needed to improve their employability, through apprenticeships, internships or training/re-training courses;
  • young people with a disability or those with caring responsibilities have complex support needs and efforts are needed to remove practical and logistical barriers to labour market access;
  • the role of mental health problems as a factor in the social exclusion of young people needs to be addressed more effectively;
  • NEETs have a lower level of political interest, political and social engagement and a lower level of trust than non-NEETs.

Read more about these issues in Eurofound’s reports on young people and NEETs.

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