EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Final questionnaire for Comparative Analytical Report (ERM) on young people Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET)

  • Observatory: EMCC
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 06 February 2012



About
Country:
Belgium
Author:
Simon Erkes
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The NEET issue is quite hard to analyse in Belgium because of the multiplicity of the actors involved and the lack of an unique and clear policy on it. On the public action field,, the NEET issue refers to the communities (Communautés/Gemeenschappen) which are in charge of education and youth protection and therefore of early school leaving; and to the regions (Région/Regio) and federal state(Etat fédéral/federale State) for all the employment constituent Around it, we find a lot of non-profit association which act on those issue.

1. Introduction

1.1 What is the level of interest among the different stakeholders in your country (policy makers, the media, employers and trade unions) in the issue of NEETs? What are their reasons for having a high/ low level of interest in the topic? (Expected length 100 words)

The interest on NEETs issue is growing up for around five years due to the statistic of youth unemployment. Indeed, the first’s reports that highlights this problematic were published in 2009 by different association as The King Baudouin Foundation (Fondation Roi Baudouin/ Boudewijnstichting). It mainly focused on the transition between school and employment for young unskilled which included the NEET issue.

Nevertheless, statistics on NEETs in Belgium are still under the UE level and the OECD: in 2008, the “NEET rate” was at 9,8 % of the 15-24 y.o. for Belgium (12,2 % for UE and 10,9 % for OECD). It could explain why, beyond this growing up interest, an integreate approach hasn’t started yet.

1.2 Using the following table, please identify which sub-groups of NEETs are of particular concern to the different stakeholders in your country. Please indicate the relative importance of each group to the different stakeholders; for each group please state whether they are felt to be of ‘significant concern’, ‘some concern’, or ‘no concern’ to the different stakeholders.

Table 1 – NEETs sub-groups
 

Public/media debate

e.g. the extent to which the issue is discussed within the news media

Mainstream Policy

e.g. the range of policy documents tackling the issue, the amount of investment committed to tackling the problem

Employers

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Trade unions

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Young people who are unemployed

Some concern

Significant concern

Some concern

Significant concern

Young people who are in ‘precarious’ or unsuitable employment (e.g. temporary contracts, forced self-employment, part-time work, or jobs which are not commensurate with their level of qualifications)

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Significant concern

Early school leavers – young people who have dropped out of education before obtaining an upper secondary level qualification

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

No concern

Young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs

Some concern

Some concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Teenage/ single parents

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Migrants and minority groups

Significant concern

Some concern

No concern

Some concern

Young people with disabilities

No concern

No concern

No concern

Some concern

Young people from workless families

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

Some concern

Young people with tertiary education who have been unsuccessful in accessing the labour market

Some concern

No concern

No concern

Significant concern

Other (please specify):

.

       

1.3 Are there any policy measures in your country targeted at those NEETs with tertiary education? If yes please describe these briefly (expected length 100 words).

There is a particular paradox about youth unemployment and NEETs issues. Indeed, the unemployment level for the under 25 y.o. is still quite high but the people havn’t been so skilled. The employment measures aiming the under 25 y.o. are generally focusing on those who havn’t finished the secondary level and they often include a training part, organised by the vocational training public service or the employers, and financial advantage for the employer.

Some of the measures are more based on the length of unemployment so it may concern the NEETs with tertiary education. The NEETs issue for them seems quite anecdotic in Belgium where the young with tertiary education level (excluded doctoral level) the highest employment insertion rate (in Wallonia, more than 60 % of them have found a job in the first’s six months after the end of their cursus).

The employment measures for young (or NEET) generally aim to offer them a first professionnal experience because their main lack is a professionnal experience.

2. NEET Policies and Measures

2.1 Measures to tackle early school leaving

Preventive Measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.1 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to preventing early school leaving. Where does the focus of policies and measures to prevent early school leaving lie?

First of all, it seems important to precise than in Belgium, the early school leaving rate is lower than in Europe (according to the CEF: 12,3 % for Belgium; 14,8 % for UE27).

In the french communitee (Communauté française/ Frans gemeenschap), the early school leaving was subject of decree in 2004 that had been amended in 2009 after an important study on the causes and impact of that issue. After this decree, different measures and devices had been created: positive discrimination (differentiated supervision) and differential subsidy, school mediation, control of the registrement requirement, preventive action, homework school,…

The 2009 version of the decree tries to launch a collaborative dynamic between education and youth protection public service to supervise and support young people facing hard social situation as exclusion or early school leaving.

Next to that, every school is free to develop their own device according to their needs and their means.

2.1.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to prevent early school leaving in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: Preventive measures
Early School Leaving: Preventive measures
Name of measure

Description of the measure: aims and objectives

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

School mediation is a regional measure, funded by the communitees. It is not a NEET specific measure in the way that it concern a larger field of problem than the early school leaving. In Wallonia, the mediation team is mobile and goes form school to scholl where we need them. They intervene in case of trouble between parents and teacher or school, between pupil and teacher or school. The request may come from the school, the pupils family, the pupils or an external source as youth protection service.

Measure 2:

Homework schools are extra-school hosting organisation coming from a volunteer initative. Available for the entire pupil from 3 y.o. to 18 y.o., they fullfill cultural, social and educational mission and aim to offer solution to early school leaving and social exclusion. They focus on socialy disadvantaged group or particular minority. The structures get organized in a federation and five regional coordination offices.

Measure 3:

The differentiated supervision has been launched in the french communitee by a decree in 2009. It aims to focus on particularly disadvantaged shool by offer them more means and much more personal (educators, teachers, social workers,…). The access to these measures is calculated on a socio-economical clue based on the municipality of residence of the pupils. There are 5 differents categories of school, that receive much more money they host a public disadvantaged.

2.1.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the preventive early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

Reintegration measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.4 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to the reintegration of early school leavers. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

The reintegration logical does not appear as a topic that is subject of specific policies. In Belgium, education is compulsory until the age of 18 y.o. There are theorical sanctions for those who do not respect it. It also exist different field of secondary education: general education, technical education (with knowledge acquisition on a specific field) or professional (with technical skill acquisition). The technical and professional fields socialy appear as “under-field” of education. Student facing too much difficulties in the general fields will generally “be transferred” to one of the other field.

For those who decide to stop going to school (or who are too old for it) it exist an official exam (cf. reintegration measures) or they directly go to the labour market.

2.1.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to reintegrate early school leavers in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: reintegration measures
Early School Leaving: Reintegration measures
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

State jury: On the education field in the french communitee there is a way which allowed early school leaver to obtain their secondary degree diploma. By this way, according to the last level of diploma they get, they can take the official exam of the secondary education level. This is organised by the french communitee and there is an exam for every secondary level of education.

Such an exam appears as a great opportunity for those who stop going to school early. Indeed, by offering another chance to obtain the secondary level diploma, the education public authorities let them a chance to pursue (or resume) their training at a higher level or in a field that needs this level to enter it.

Measure 2:  
Measure 3:  

2.1.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the reintegration early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

2.2 Measures to facilitate access to employment

Facilitating the transition from school to work

2.2.1 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to facilitating school to work transitions. Where does the focus of policies and measures to facilitate transitions lie?

The policies focusing on facilitating school to work transition generally aim to qualify the “early leaver” and offer them a first experience. There are some different training measures or particular employment measures that will help them to make their first step at work.

Because skills and a professional experience are still the most important critera for a job, the measure often try to combine a training part and a working part (generally with an employer incentive). By this, the beneficiary of this measure will acquire new skills and pratice in a professional environnement. The goal is that he/she takes a stand on a particular profession or trade with basic skills (because of the training) and a first experience.

2.2.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to facilitate school to work transitions in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 4 - Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions
Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Professional Transition Program (PTP, Programme de Transition professionnelle): PTP is a regional measure for unemployed and unskilled person. It offers financial incentive to the employers who will hire him/her (the employer must be public or not profit). The main public is the unemployed under 25 without the secondary school level diploma. The employer enjoys the advantage of this measure for three years. During this time the hired worker will get access to training program and a general support from the employment public service.

Measure 2:  
Measure 3:  

2.2.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the school-to-work transition measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

Measures to foster employability

2.2.4 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to fostering employability among NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

The issue of fostering employability to among the NEETs makes us focus on the training and support program. As we said above, the specificity of the Belgian unemployement benefit program makes the NEET to be register. Then it is easier to support them and to encourage them to enter training program than in country where it is difficult to identify them.

The support and training program available in the Walloon region come from private non-profit organization or from employment public services (temporary agency start to act on this field too). The supply is quite important and varies.

Nevertheless, more than technical skills, it seems that the NEETs or people unemployed for a long time get an important lack in “behavioural working skills” (as being on time, being polite, self confident …) and that is why, the focus is also on those report.

As for the transition measures, those device often combine training and professionnal pratice as internship or “senario” (depending of the goal of the device).

2.2.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to foster employability of NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 5 - Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships)
Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships).
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Apprenticeships contrat (Contrat d’apprentissage): the alternation education program is a regional program for those left school early and would like to develop recognized skills (for more than an hundred job). This device offer the opportunity to follow a training two days a week and working in a company the three other days. The trainee keep is right to social benefits.

Measure 2:

PFI (Plan Formation Insertion): This plan may be consider between “fostering employability” and “employer incentive”. By this mechanism, the young unskilled (must be under 25y.o.) enter a company to get trained. By this way, he/she develops high level and practical skills. For the employer, this tool is quite cheap and offers him the opportunity to find someone he can form to the specificity of his professional environment. The trainee keeps the benfit he already received and a progressive incentive bonus is paid by the employer. This “contract” is divided in two part. First, there is the train period (from 3 month to a year). Then there is a real work contract that is as longer as the training period. The goal is to avoid that the employer hired somebody cheaper for short term and then do it again with “the next one”. At the end of the PFI plan, the trainee is skilled, experimented and ready pursue on this field.

Measure 3:  

2.2.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country to foster the employability of NEETs (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

Removing practical and logistical barriers

2.2.7 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to removing practical and logistical barriers for NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

It is hard to indetify measures or mechanism to removing practical and logistical barriers for the NEETs. Indeed, it exists at the public relief service (Centre Public d’Action Sociale/Openbare Centra voor Maatschappelijk Welzijn, CPAS/OCMW) a large range of measures of that type but generally, they are not especially implemented for NEETs public.

As said above, the lack of behavorial working skills lead to the developement of new kind of training (with games and senario) that aims to remove those barriers. Temporary work agencies are more often present on this new field of training.

2.2.8 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to remove practical and logistical barriers to employment for NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 6 - Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers
Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:  
Measure 2:  
Measure 3:  

Employer incentives

Some employers incentives have been presented above in the”fostering employability” and “school to work transition topic”.

2.2.9 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to incentivising employers to recruit young people (who are NEET). Where does the focus of policies and measures to incentivise employers lie? Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Same report than for the previous topics we cannot identify specific employer incentives for NEETs. On this field it exist many plan for which NEETs could be eligible.

The “Young” ACTIVA Win-Win measures in one of those. When an employer hired a NEETs (who is unemployed for more than a year) he may claim for two differents incentives. First, he may deduce the amount of the benefits which the new worker may kept (until 1100€). Second, he may obtain a reduction of employer social contribution (from a small part to the total).

This measure is the most important existing device in the field of employer incentives.

2.2.10 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to incentivise employers in your country.

Table 7 - Access to employment: Employer incentives
Access to employment: Employer incentives
Name of measure

Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

Is the measure specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education?

Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Measure 1:

Activa/Win-Win: federal measure, federal funds, general measure with impact on NEET (see above)

Measure 2:

APE: regional measure, regional funds, general measure with impact on the NEET. An association get some APE credits for recruitement. Each credit get a financial vaue. The management share the credit between the different worker. It for mainly for non profit organisation. The enter in the APE condition, a person should have one day unemployed. His graduation will define his “value” in APE point.

Measure 3:  

2.2.11 Please provide a more detailed description of the employer incentive which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

3. Conclusion

This study make us focus on the NEETs issue in Belgium (especially on the french part of Belgium). Regarding the different topics (early school leaving, reintegration, school to work transition, fostering employability, removing barriers and employers incentives), there is an important report: many different measures/devices already exist on each field. The NEETs, depending on the single situation, can use it even if they have not been implemented especially for them.

The main probel of the NEETs issue in Belgium is to linked to the instutitionnal situation of the state (with different level of public action, division of power,…). The multiplicity of the concerned actors, the hardness of implement a crossfields measures between education, employment, youth protection and social relief empede concrete and efficient action even if every single measure could be efficient.

The statistics we presented may also help us to understand why the NEETs issue is not yet at the top of the political agenda. Being under the European middle in this field will not help to tackle this problem in priority.

As for many other topics in Belgium, the biggest lack seems to be the political willing of working togheter hereafter the political (or other) divide. Of course, the involvment of social partners and non-profit sector looks important to develop an efficient network and weel targeted action that will help NEETs go past a hitch.

Simon Erkes, Université Catholique de Louvain - Institut des Sciences du Travail

Sources:

http://www.ffedd.be/

  • PTP

http://emploi.wallonie.be/THEMES/PTP/PTP.htm

  • IFAPME

http://www.ifapme.be/?id=32

  • PFI

http://www.leforem.be/entreprises/aides/formation/pfi.html

  • ACTIVA

http://www.rva.be/web_Embauche/Default.aspx

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