EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Cyprus: Comparative Analytical Report (ERM) on young people Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET)

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



About
Country:
Cyprus
Author:
Yannis Eustathopoulos
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.

This report reviews a set of measures and policies implemented in Cyprus for NEETs. Since implementation of these policies is rather recent, it is not yet possible to draw up clear conclusions on their overall effectiveness and impact. Among all the measures examined, Educational Priority Zones (ZEPs) seem to be the most successful and acknowledged due to its contribution in tackling social exclusion of children and early school leaving. Mainstreaming of ZEPs is expected to help further the integration of immigrants’ children in the Cypriot educational system and society.

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?

Initially, it should be noted that the term “NEET” is not used in the public discussion in Cyprus. Measures for NEETs are designed and implemented in the frame of policies against poverty and social exclusion. The National Strategy Reports on Social Protection and Social Inclusion (2008-2010) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance can be considered as the reference document concerning these specific issues. More precisely, the National Strategy for Social Inclusion establishes both policy priorities and population groups which require greater attention due to their increased exposure to poverty risk. This strategy focuses on the following priorities:


  1. Reduction of poverty risk and social exclusion.
  2. Promotion of active integration of vulnerable population groups in thelabour market.
  3. Prevention of the social exclusion of children.
  4. Modernisation of institutions for the enhancement of procedures and policies for social cohesion.

Overall, the strategy distinguishes the following target groups:


  • Persons who live in one-person households.
  • The elderly (65 years and over) at high poverty risk.
  • Recipients of public assistance.
  • Single-parent families.
  • Unemployed women and the inactive female force.
  • Young persons who leave school early.
  • Persons with disabilities.
  • Economic immigrants and refugees, especially those from third countries.

Based on the review of mainstream policy documents, the pubic/media debate and social partner’s positions and initiatives, six population groups can be characterized as NEET priority groups:


  • Early school leavers.
  • Persons with disabilities.
  • The inactive female force.
  • Single-parent families.
  • Economic immigrants and refugees.
  • Unemployed young persons.

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

Significant 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 to No Concern

Some Concern

No concern

Significant concern

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

Some concern

Significant Concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs

No concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Teenage/ single parents

Some concern

Some concern

No concern

Some concern

Migrants and minority groups

Some concern

Significant concern

No concern

Significant concern

Young people with disabilities

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people from workless families

No concern

Some concern

No concern

Some concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

No concern

Some concern

No concern

Some concern

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

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant 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).

Scheme for the Recruitment of Higher Education Graduates

The Human Resources Development Authority has developed a specific scheme aimed at providing incentive to companies for the recruitment and training of new higher education graduates. The main objectives of this scheme are:


  • The upgrading of management and the improvement of competitiveness.
  • Helping young graduates for a smooth and successful integration in the labour market through the acquisition of work experience and specialized knowledge and skills. Training programmes are implemented for a period of 6 or 12 months.

According to the Human Resources Development Authority, total spending for this scheme in 2012 is planned to reach €5.685.000 (in comparison with €5.100.000 in 2011). The number of beneficiaries will be 670 in 2012 against 600 in 2011.

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?

The Ministry of Education and Culture is implementing the “Programme against Early School Leaving, School Failure and Delinquency in Zones of Educational Priority”. This project involves the implementation of measures for the support of schools that fall into areas designated as “Educational Priority Ζones” (EPZs). EPZs are clusters of schools in disadvantaged areas with a student population belonging to families with a low socioeconomic and educational background.

The project aims at:


  • Reducing early school leaving.
  • Reducing school failure.
  • Reducing delinquency.
  • Strengthening social cohesion by reducing the risk of social marginalization and exclusion.

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: Education Priority Zones (EPZs)

(Public – unilateral policy/ Financed by public funds)

Zones of Educational Priority aim at reducing illiteracy and school failure. EPZs were initiated as a pilot project but are evolving into a mainstream national policy. EPZs are co-financed (85% from the European Social Fund and 15% from National Funds). EPZs are implementing preventive measures for decreasing the number of children not in education. This measure is targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background.

Measure 2: Measures for the smooth integration of foreign speaking pupils (Public- unilateral policy / Financed by public funds)

The Ministry of Education and Culture has developed a formal policy on Intercultural Education to address special needs of foreign speaking children. In line with the relevant recommendations of the Educational Reform, a set of measures have been introduced to speed up and smoothen the integration of foreign speaking pupils in the school system and society of Cyprus: - Parallel sections of accelerated learning Greek.

- Workshops for teachers in order to teach Greek as a second or as a foreign language.

- Publication of a guide in order to embrace foreign speaking students available in 8 foreign languages ​​(English, Turkish, Georgian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic). This guide provides key-information for students and their parents about the educational system Cyprus.

- Emphasis on intercultural issues in the new curricula and textbooks.

Measure 3: Multicultural camps for children and young people (Trade union initiative / Financed by public funds)

The Cyprus Labour Institute of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (INEK-PEO) organised in 2010 a multicultural camp for children and young people. This initiative aimed to bring together children from different cultural background, through workshops and pedagogical activities. The main goal of the “multicultural camp” was to promote mutual understanding and respect between children of Third Countries Nationals and Cypriot children, engaging them in intercultural dialogue. This program was co- funded by the European Integration Fund and the Republic of Cyprus.


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:

The Educational Priority Zones

Educational Priority Zones (EPZs) are a key-policy for tackling early school leaving in economically and socially deprived areas. EPZs are included in the National Strategy for Social Inclusion (Priority Policy Measure 3, Prevention of the Social Exclusion of Children, Axis 2 "Upgrading the Educational System").


Towards mainstreaming

EPZs have been included in the Operational Programme "Employment, Human Capital and Social Cohesion" 2007-2013 as a project entitled "Programme against early school leaving, school failure and delinquency in Educational Priority Zones". This programme aims at:


  • Ensuring the operation of the 4 existing EPZs: EPZ of Faneromeni (Nicosia), St. Anthony (Limassol), Theoskepastis (Paphos), Faneromeni (Larnaca).
  • The creation of 4 new EPZs from 2010 to 2013.

Funding Total budget of the project is approximately € 11.000.000 and is funded by the European Social Fund (85%) and national funds (15%). As an expected result, at least 10% of the entire student population will be served by Zones of Educational Priority.


Target group

Educational Priority Zones are complexes of schools consisting of the Elementary School, a High School and Kindergartens. The schools are located in poorer areas and the majority of the students come from families with low socio-economic and educational background.


ZEP areas

The criteria to determine an area as a ZEP are: 1) a high rate of school failure and illiteracy, 2) a high percentage of foreign students, 3) large proportions of drop outs and incidents of violence and delinquent behaviors.


Activities and Success Factors

Some fundamental principles of ZEP operation in Cyprus are the following (EPASI, 2007):


  • A Guidance Team and a Networking Council contribute to guarantee educational continuity between the three educational levels (Kindergarten - Primary -high school).
  • Cooperation between school units and local institutions /authorities.
  • Small number of students per class.
  • Oral and written skills are given a high priority. All teachers contribute to this goal independently of the course they are teaching.
  • Each ZEP implements a three-year plan of action. Each school unit inside the ZEP shapes its own plan of action according to its specific needs.
  • Teaching is based on contemporary pedagogical research and methods (e.g. “child-centered” pedagogy).
  • Special importance is given to cultural and athletic activities.


Evidence of Success

Education Priority Zones have been considered as successful. Reduction of school failure and the growth of literacy levels were accomplished in all three ZEPs in Limassol, Paphos and Nicosia. The operation of the ZEPs has also been well accepted by parents and the wider community. Older data suggest an encouraging contribution of ZEPs against school failure (EPASI, 2007):


  • ZEP of Panagia Theoskepasti in Paphos. Ιn the school year 2002-2003 the number of students who left from High School was 97, while at school years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 the number decreased to 29 and 14 students respectively. Also between the school years 2002-2003 and 2004-2005 (which was the first year of operation ZEP) the drop-out rate decreased from 2% to 0%,. During the same period, a drastic reduction in the number of students reexamined in September was achieved (from 33% 9%) and the number of honors doubled (from 12% to 25%).
  • ZEP of Faneromeni in Nicosia. The rate of school failure in Faneromeni was 5% during the school year 1998-1999 (16% of foreign students). The increase in the number of foreign students in the coming years (53% in 2003-2004) was accompanied by a drastic increase in school failure (19.5% in the same year). During the school year 2004-2005 (i.e. the second year of the ZEP operation), the rate of drop-outs declined back to 1999-2000 levels despite a further increase in the number of foreign students (57%).
  • ZEP Saint Antoniou in Limassol. The problem of Drop-outs during the third year of operation of the ZEP (i.e.2005-2006) has almost been entirely resolved (only one 1 drop-out against 13 in 2002-2003).

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?

Overall, two categories of actions for the reintegration in the education system can be distinguished:


  • The Apprenticeship Scheme, in operation since 1963, is a two-year initial vocational education and training programme, which addresses drop–outs from the formal education system between the ages of 14 and 17.
  • Evening high schools: Evening Technical and Vocational Schools operate as a “second chance school”.

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: Apprenticeship Scheme (Public policy in co-operation with employers from the private sector / Public and private funds)

The Apprenticeship Scheme addresses drop–outs from the formal education system between the ages of 14 and 17. This scheme is applied at the national level and relies on european and national funding

Measure 2: Evening School (Public – unilateral policy / Financed by public funds)

Evening schools exist in all districts (regions) of Cyprus. This measure is addressed both to persons at work and to NEET wishing to complete their secondary education.


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:

The Apprenticeship Scheme

The Apprenticeship scheme is addressed to pupils who discontinue their attendance of secondary education. This scheme is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance (MLSI) and the Ministry of Education and Culture (MLC). Apprentices must be at least fourteen years old to be admitted and must not be over eighteen at the time of graduation.

Theoretical and practical training

The Apprenticeship Scheme study programmes provide alternate practical and theoretical training over a period of two years. Practical training takes place in companies (three days per week). Theoretical training is provided at Technical Schools (two days per week). Apprentices are remunerated by their employer. The Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA) subsidizes employers for the days during which apprentices are attending classes at the Technical Schools.

Administration of the Scheme

The Apprenticeship Council evaluates developments during the previous year and takes decisions with regard to the occupational training courses that will be offered the following year. Representatives of employers and employees participate in this council.

Decline of the scheme and gradual implementation of the New Apprenticeship Scheme

The Apprenticeship is being redesigned in order to provide young people an alternative education pathway, and at the same time, to meet new labour market needs. It should be noted that the scheme has been experiencing a drastic decline in the number of apprentices over the past few years. Indeed, only a limited number of those dropping out of the formal education system joined apprenticeship. The main reasons are considered to be the limited number of occupational training courses offered and the rather low prestige of the system among school students. The reformed New Modern Apprenticeship Scheme (NMA Scheme) is gradually replacing the old one. The NMA Scheme, which is targeted at young people between the ages of 14 and 25, aims at enabling early school leavers to upgrade their skills and become more employable. The goal is also to recognise and accredit their skills and/or to give apprentices the opportunity to continue with their education after the end of apprenticeship.

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?

Three key-measures to facilitate the transition from school to labour market can be distinguished:


  • Grants for young people, in order to promote integration in the labour market through entrepreneurship.
  • Accelerated Vocational Training Programmes offered to low-skilled unemployed young individuals.
  • Appointment of employment counselors within the Public Employment Services to provide a more personalized service for unemployed persons belonging to vulnerable population groups.

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: Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship (Public policy – unilateral / Financed by public funds)

Scheme for Youth Entrepreneurship is part of the structural funds programming period 2007-2013. The Scheme offers incentives under the form of financial subsidies and training on entrepreneurship to support the creation of innovative, viable and environmentally sustainable micro-enterprises by young people.

Measure 2: Accelerated Vocational Training Programmes (Public – unilateral policy / Financed by public funds)

A key-measure offered to unemployed low-skilled young individuals is the Accelerated Vocational Training Programmes provided by the Human Development Resources Authority. These programmes are accessible to young people and target both individuals who have completed secondary education and early school leavers. The programmes are offered on an annual on-going basis. According to the Human Resources Development Authority, total spending for these programmes is planned to reach €1.030.000 (300 beneficiaries) in 2012 in comparison to €1.000.000 in 2011

Measure 3: Employment Counselors (Public – unilateral policy / Financed by public funds)

The appointment of employment counselors within the Public Employment Services aims to provide a more personalized service for unemployed persons belonging to vulnerable population groups (see below).


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:

Employment Counselors:

The appointment of Employment Counselors (ECs) within the Public Employment Services aims to provide a more personalized service for unemployed persons belonging to vulnerable population groups. ECs provide services in all regional and local employment offices. Their activities consist into:


  • Guiding unemployed persons through an evaluation of their abilities and qualifications.
  • Identifying relevant further training and/or work experience.
  • Providing information and placing unemployed persons in the various programmes and schemes available including those offering vocational training, on-the-job training, and job placements.
  • Provision of ongoing monitoring and support.

The services of ECs are available to young unemployed (15 to 24 year-old), young secondary school graduates, female long-term unemployed, unemployed belonging to vulnerable population groups, persons with disabilities, and recipients of public assistance. ECs may also contribute to (a) the improvement of job-seeking and CV preparation skills (b) escorting the candidate to job interviews.

The appointment of Employment Counselors has been implemented in the frame of the National Strategy for Social Inclusion of the Republic of Cyprus. More specifically, this measure has been included in the 6th priority policy measure of the National Strategy (i.e. “Modernisation of the Public Employment Service”- PES). The implementation of this measure began in April 2006, when 18 Employment Counsellors started to provide individualised services to the unemployed along with the upgrading of the Regional and Local Employment Offices. During 2008-2010, the PES has been further enhanced and modernised in the frame of the 2008-2010 National Strategy.

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?

Several programs seek to enhance the employability of vulnerable groups such as inactive female, persons with disabilities and immigrants/refugees.


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).


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: Improving the employability of inactive women (Public – unilateral policy / Financed by public funds)

Provided by the Human Resources Development Authority. The programme aims at offering training and work experience opportunities to inactive women (see below).

Measure 2: Training Plan for disabled persons (Public – unilateral policy / Financed by public funds)

Training Plan for disabled persons: The purpose of the project is to expand training opportunities for people with disabilities based on individual programs provided by training institutions or companies. The training programmes facilitate recruitment or professional advancement of individuals with disabilities. The programme is provided by the Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance.

Measure 3: Quality career guidance for disadvantaged and migrant job seek (Trade union initiative / financed by public funds)

Quality career guidance for disadvantaged and migrant job seekers: The Cyprus Labour Institute (INEK-PEO) is implementing the project eGUIDE + within the European programme LEONARDO DA VINCI. This project aims to improve services for training and vocational rehabilitation of vulnerable groups such as women, young people, people with low skills, immigrants, etc. The eGUIDE + is a continuation of the project eGUIDE which has set out a structured career guidance to people outside the labour market. 75% of the project is funded by the European Commission while the remaining 25% from National resources. The project is expected to be completed in September 2012.

Measure 4: Adult Education Centres (Public – unilateral initiative / Financed by public funds)

The Adult Education Centres of the Ministry of Education and Culture is the most important program for providing general adult education in Cyprus, within the lifelong learning context. Their main objectives are the development of adult learners’ personality as well as their cultural orientation and citizenship. The Adult Education Centres offer a variety of interdisciplinary subjects which focus mainly on the teaching of foreign languages, on culture, arts and crafts, health and other subjects of general interest aiming at the acquisition of basic knowledge and skills by adults for further personal, professional and social development. Adult Training Centres cover all areas of the Republic of Cyprus offering opportunities for education to thousands of individuals aged 15 and above. Each year, they offer about 70 different classes for 20.000 students and have been recognized among citizens as a valuable training institution for adults. The programme for the school year 2010-2011 as well as the addresses of all schools and premises where the various courses are offered can be found at the Adult Education Centres’ website at www.moec.gov.cy/epimorfotika

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:

Improving the employability of inactive women: The aim of the project, provided by the Human Development Authority of Cyprus, is to offer training and work experience opportunities to inactive women in order to improve their labour market integration potential. The Project is implemented within the framework of the Operational Programme "Employment, Human Capital and Social Cohesion" 2007-2013. The training programmes provided are: • Computers classes.• English Language.• Secretarial Skills.

According to the Human Resources Development Authority, total spending for this measure is planned to reach € 1.305.000 in 2012 (685 beneficiaries) in comparison with 1.030.000 in 2011 (580 beneficiaries).

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?

Various programs are provided in order to remove practical and logistical barriers such as programmes for childcare in order to facilitate labour integration of women and language courses for adults with an immigrant background.

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: Expansion and Improvement of Care Services for the Children, the Elderly, the Disabled and other Dependants (Public – unilateral initiative / Financed by public funds)

The Social Welfare Services are responsible for the implementation of the project “Expansion and Improvement of Care Services for the Children, the Elderly, the Disabled and other Dependants” under the Single Programming Document, Objective 3, “Human Resources”. The project is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Republic of Cyprus. The project aims at the provision of low cost social care services at the local level in order to facilitate integration of women in the labour market as well as reconciliation of professional and family life. The programme is implemented by local authorities and NGOs. Currently, 18 childcare programmes are funded for children of all age groups. No data is available concerning the characteristics of beneficiaries, its impact and the continuation of programmes once the funding period ends.

Measure 2: Greek language courses for Third Country Nationals

(Trade union initiative / Financed by public funds)

The Cyprus Labour Institute (INEK-PEO) in collaboration with the School of Greek Language at the University of Cyprus provides Greek language courses addressed to adults of Third Country Nationals (TCNs). The program is funded by the European Integration Fund (75%) and the Republic of Cyprus (25%). The programme have been offering intensive and accelerated courses in the five districts of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Famagusta free areas). Courses have been provided by qualified teachers which have been offered additionally training on intercultural issues. By the end of the courses, TCNs are expected to effectively use Greek language for everyday communication situations and to develop intercultural competence.

Employer incentives


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).

Various programs under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance are being implemented to provide incentives to employers for hiring individuals from vulnerable groups (including youth).


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: Emergency Scheme for the Support of Employment through in-company individual training of the unemployed (Public – unilateral initiative / Financed by public funds)

The "Emergency Scheme for the Support of Employment through in-company individual training of the unemployed", implemented by a partnership of various public agencies, provides job placement and training of the unemployed (3-6 months). According to the Human Development Authority, total spending for this measure is planned to reach € 3.300.000 in 2012 (660 beneficiaries) in comparison with € 4.500.000 in 2011 (1000 beneficiaries).

Measure 2: Incentives to businesses for hiring unemployed persons from vulnerable social groups (Public-unilateral initiative / Financed by public funds)

The Department of Labour of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance is implementing a scheme aimed at providing incentives to businesses for hiring unemployed persons from vulnerable social groups. This project encourages employers to hire people from disadvantaged social groups by providing a substantial wage subsidy (65% of the wage for one year). 

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:

Emergency Scheme for the Support of Employment through in-company individual training of the unemployed

The "Emergency Scheme for the Support of Employment through in-company individual training of the unemployed", implemented by a partnership of various public agencies, provides job placement and training of the unemployed (3-6 months). More specifically, the scheme provides subsidies to “tailor-made” training programmes. The partnership between the Cyprus Productivity Centre, the Higher Hotel Institute of Cyprus (HHIC) and the Department of Labour of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance is coordinated by the Human Resources Development Authority. This measure was initiated in the frame of the Special Action Plan of the Human Resources Development Authority. The implementation of this scheme started in October 2009. According to the Human Resources Development Authority, total spending for this scheme is planned to reach €3.300.000 in 2012 (660 beneficiaries) in comparison with €4.500.000 in 2011 (1000 beneficiaries).

3. Conclusion

After a review of policies and measures addressed to population groups classified as NEET, the following conclusions can be drawn:


  • First, EU membership seems to have contributed positively to NEET policies. Most of the measures and policies discussed in this report are co-financed by European funds.
  • Efforts are being implemented to upgrade existing structures for NEET such as the apprenticeship system or the introduction of Employment Counselors for vulnerable social groups. Moreover, a significant number of training programs or supportive services targeted at inactive women, young unemployed, disabled persons and immigrants have been introduced during recent years. These initiatives involve -in addition to public authorities and organisations- institutions such as NGOs, local government authorities, social partners, etc.
  • Overall, given that many of these measures have been introduced rather recently, there is still insufficient data in order to proceed to an evaluation of their effectiveness and overall impact. It should also be noted that the term NEET concerns very diverse population groups and measures arising from a broad range of public agencies and organisations, making it difficult to draw general conclusions on NEET policies.
  • Policies to tackle early school leaving seem to be the most effective and acknowledged in the public debate among the various measures addressed to the different groups of NEET. According to the Ministry of Education, 10% of the entire student population should be served by Zones of Educational Priority in the medium term. This objective is consistent with the comprehensive challenges arising from the massive influx of foreign workers and Repatriated Cypriots. Indicatively, according to data from the Annual Report of the Ministry of Education and Culture for the year 2010, the foreign speaking students represented 11.7% of all primary school pupils.

References:


  • Christodoulides, G. (2008) “Review of the Higher-level Apprenticeship, Italy and an Assessment of its Transferability to Cyprus”, Peer Review on Higher Apprenticeship, Mutual Learning Programme.
  • Christou and al. (2010) “Poverty and Social Exclusion in Cyprus: Progress and Pension Reform amidst a Global Economic Crisis”, European Social Watch Report 2010 (National Report for Cyprus).
  • Human Resources Development Authority, Annual Targets 2012.
  • Giannaka and al. (2007) “Education Priority Zones – Cyprus case study report 1”, Education Policies that address Social Inequality (EPASI), October 2007.
  • Katsikides, S. (2009) “Can Cyprus learn from the Portuguese model?”, Peer Review on Professional Traineeships for Young Adults”, Mutual Learning Programme.
  • Manoudi, A. (2009) “The contribution of the Apprenticeship Scheme in addressing early school leaving in Cyprus”, Peer Review on “Project for Young Adults: A social integration programme helping young people back into work and education”, Mutual Learning Programme.
  • National Strategy Reports on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008-2010, Social Welfare Services, Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • Pavlou, S. (2010) “Active Inclusion Measures for Lone Parents: One Size Fits All?”, Peer Review on “Pathways to Work for Lone Parents”, Mutual Learning Programme 2010.
  • Soumeli, E. (2008) “Vocational Rehabilitation and Incomes Security for People with Work Incapacities within the framework of integrated flexicurity approaches”, Peer Review, 15-16 September 2008.
  • Spinthourakis and al. (2008) “Country Report: Cyprus”, Education Policies that address Social Inequality (EPASI), November 2008.
  • Stavrou, P. (2008) “Poverty risk factors and counter measures”, European Working Conditions Observatory (information update).
  • Stavrou, P. (2010) “Poverty, social exclusion and single parent families”, European Working Conditions Observatory.

Yannis Eustathopoulos, Cyprus Labour Institute



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