Training or work experience for unskilled young people

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Unskilled young people aged between 20 and 24 must undertake training or work experience programmes in order to maintain their right to receive unemployment benefit, according to a recent amendment to the Act on Labour Market Support.

The amendment to the Act on Labour Market Support, which came into force at the beginning of 1997, results from tripartite negotiations involving central trade union and employers' organisations and the Government. The aim is to "activate" 11,000 unskilled and unemployed young people between 20 and 24 (the entire age group numbering around 300,000, of whom 30% are unemployed), as an alternative to their simply drawing unemployment benefit. Under the new rules, an unemployed young person will not be allowed to draw benefit, if he or she refuses training or work experience. Only in cases where suitable provision for training or work experience does not exists, or cannot be arranged, will the right to receive unemployment benefit remain.

The reason for this reform is that professionally qualified workers have greater opportunities to obtain employment compared with those who are unskilled. The new measure should reduce unemployment due to lack of education or skills among young people.

As a result of the reform, training and work experience programmes have been increased considerably. The same practice has been operated for young people under 20 since the beginning of 1996. Educational institutions will provide professional education by increasing their student numbers, and apprenticeship schemes, because of their practical nature, have been assigned priority.

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