EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Estonia: ERM Comparative Analytical Report on Recent Policy Developments related to those Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET)

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



About
Country:
Estonia
Author:
Pirjo Turk, Kirsti Nurmela
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 level of interest in the issue of NEET has increased along the recession as the young persons’ employment was hit hardest by the current economic recession in Estonia. In 2010, there were approximately 20% of young people aged 15-24 classified as NEET. In terms of governemt policies, unemployed aged 16-24 are defined as one of the labour market risk groups and in the Government Programme 2011-2015, one of the main focuses of active labour market policies is to decrease the youth unemployment. However, there are very few special measures targeted at NEETs and the approach is rather to tackle the overall problem of unemployment.

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?

The issue of unemployed young people has been discussed in media as an issue which needs immediate policy intervention to prevent long-term negative effect on the youth. Also in Estonian national level policy making the risks arising from high youth unemployment are acknowledged and unemployed youth aged 16-24 are defined as one of the labour market risk groups according to the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act.

In relation to NEET another problematic issue discussed is the share of early school-leavers in Estonia and reducing early school-leaving has been defined as one of the aims in the Estonian Action Plan for Growth and Jobs 2008-2011.

Also the issue of young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs has been brought out lately by all different stakeholders. This has been the main issue of concern for employers and trade union organisations alike.

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

Some 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)

No concern

No concern

No concern

No 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

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Teenage/ single parents

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Migrants and minority groups

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with disabilities

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from workless families

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

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

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Other (please specify):

.

       

Note: information is based on the expert assessment of the authors of the current report

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 are no measures in Estonia targeted specifically at NEETs with tertiary education. In terms of persons who have acquired tertiary education, the main focus is on supporting employment. NEETs with tertiary education have the same opportunities for entering active labour market measures in Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) as other unemployed people. However the principle is to offer different services to unemployed based on their individual needs. It means that when offering different labour market services persons’ individual work experience, education and skills are taken into consideration and different labour market services are offered to the person based on that.

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 share of early school leavers among 18-24 year old population remained at 13.9%, slightly below EU-27 average of 14.4% in 2009. The issue concerns mainly mail population. Compared to 16.3% in EU-27 countries, the percentage of male leaving school early is 18.4%. Reducing the amount of early school leavers has been one of the aims for the Estonian government. The measures include teaching Estonian to non-nationals already in pre-schools; developing counselling systems, introducing customised measures to children with special educational needs, etc. In autumn 2010 a new Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act was introduced which obliged teachers to contact parents in case of pupils’ absenteeism or truancy. The roles and responsibility of different parties involved were also defined (i.e. student, parent, school, local municipality).

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?

Boarding school programme

The programme is meant for children from families struggling with financial difficulties to help children through school programme (i.e. children from families, who have difficulties in coping, may live and study at the school during term time) and also provide them food. The aim is to prevent early-school leaving among families in social and financial difficulties.

Scale of measure: national

The measure is unilateral

Funding: national state funding and European funding.

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

It is targeted to children from disadvantaged background

ESF programme “Developing an Educational Counselling System”

The aim of the programme is to improve the quality of the educational counselling system and create academic advice centres on the county level to prevent students from dropping out of school, and to increase coping strategies and competitiveness for young people in their everyday life and in the labour market.

Scale of measure: national

The measure is unilateral

Funding: European funding (European Social Fund)

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

It is targeted to all students needing study and pedagogical-psychological aid.

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:

  • Description of the measure: aims and objectives

The obligation to contact parents in case of pupils’ absenteeism or truancy aims to prevent early school leaving.

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

It is national policy.

  • Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

Unilateral

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

National state funding

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

It is not NEET-specific measure.

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

No

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?

The obligation to contact parents in case of pupils’ absenteeism or truancy was introduced in autumn 2010 with Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act. Most probably this policy will remain.

  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?

It is a mainstream, public policy.

  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?

As it is a policy established on national level, it is difficult to assess how much this obligation has created additional work and what are the costs for the additional obligation.

  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?

It is a public initiative.

  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?

The target group is all basic and upper secondary school students. According to the Statistics Estonia database, in 2010 there were 138,448 students at these educational levels.

  • What activities are involved?

In case of students’ absenteeism or truancy the school staff must contact parents.

  • What are the success factors?

The success factors are to minimise the percentage of students absent or truant from school through cooperation with the parents. The overall aim is to decrease the amount of early-school leavers.

  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Compared to 2009, early-school leaving has decreased from 13.9% to 11.6% in 2010. However the reason for the decrease of early-school leavers is achieved due to various measures used in order to decrease the amount of early school leavers, not this measure in specific.

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?

During the economic growth period, the share of drop-outs increased on the account of those who entered the labour market. The crisis period and high unemployment are seen as a chance to motivate people to continue their studies and prevent NEET. Thus drop-outs from higher levels of education have been approached and in recent years there have been several measures introduced in order to reintegrate youth, who have dropped out from school back to the education. Also in the Government’s Programme 2011-2015 it is stated, that the early school leaving should be minimized and the aim is to reintegrate temporary school leavers back to the education.

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?

KUTSE (meaning “invitation” or “vocation”)

The measure aims at inviting students who have dropped out from vocational education back to school to finish their studies. Additional study places in the respective institutions have been and will be provided for the drop outs who will return along the KUTSE program. In order to notify the target group about the measure “KUTSE” various media channels have been used (including articles in mainstream publications). There are no financial incentives for the returning students, however all of the education allowances eligible for the VET students, are also eligible for the students of KUTSE programme.

Scale of measure: national

The measure is unilateral

Funding: national state funding and European funding. The programme will be financed until 2013 at the extent of €1.9 million (€1.63 million of which is provided by the ESF).

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

The measure is not specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group.

TULE (meaning “come!”)

The measure is targeted to those who have dropped out of their studies in higher education during 2003-2009 and who have fulfilled at least 50% of their curricula. The programme is aiming at helping 800 students to finish their studies in a period of 2010-2015.

Scale of measure: national

The measure is unilateral

Funding: national state funding and European funding. 95% of the programme costs are covered by ESF, the total cost is €4.8 million.

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

The measure is not specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group

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:

  • Description of the measure: aims and objectives

APEL (Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning) programme is a process where person can take their study and work experience and convert them into study results (credits) when continuing or entering education. Since 2004 the APEL system is implemented in higher and vocational education level.

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

National

  • How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)? When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?

The system was developed in the framework of an extensive European Social Fund project during 2005-2008. As a result the system was implemented in higher and vocational education.

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

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

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

No

  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?

The system was developed based on a pilot project, but is continuously implemented.

  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?

The budget of the program is €1.8 million until 2013.

  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?

Public

  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?

The system can be used in higher education as well as in vocational education. In 2009 there were about 6,040 persons applying for APEL programme.

  • What activities are involved?

The knowledge and skills of an individual will be assessed as a whole and taken into account when starting to study in a new educational establishment or returning to education after a while.

  • What are the success factors?

The programme enables taking into consideration earlier experience in labour market as well as in terms of training. It enable to convert experience into educational credentials.

  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

In 2009 there were about 6,040 persons applying for APEL programme. Approximately 8% (568 cases) of the persons in 2009, who successfully participated in the APEL programme, were able to use their work experience in the programme.

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?

In national level the focus is to make the education system and the skills and competences of the labour force more compatible with the labour market needs. In recent decades, the vocational education hasn’t been as popular in Estonia as the general education. According to Eurydice database, in 2008 only 31% students were in vocational education, whereas in EU 27 countries the average reaches 52%. Thus as young people often don’t have any work experience or vocation, their chances to enter the labour market are mild. Thus the Government’s Programme 2011-2015 aims to popularize and increase the quality of the vocational education and turn the vocational schools to local competence centres. The measures facilitating the transition from school to work include more cooperation between the vocational education providers and employers as well as career counselling and providing apprenticeship.

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?

Career counselling

See information below (paragraph 2.2.3)

Apprenticeship

See information below (paragraph 2.2.6)

   

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:

All of the measures (e.g. providing career-related information, providing work experience) targeted to youth have good potential in terms of supporting youth employment. The most effective measures for the youth are found to be those, which facilitate contacts with potential employers (Effectiveness of active labour market measures in Estonia).

  • Description of the measure: aims and objectives

Career counselling aims to support people in developing their career. Career counselling disserts options related to vocation, education and finding a suitable job. Career counselling is a measure of Estonian Labour Market Fund

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

National

  • Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

The measure is unilateral

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

The measure is funded nationally.

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

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

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

No

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?

Career counselling provided by Estonian Labour Market Fund has been an active labour market service, which has been provided since 2006. There is no limit for the implementation period.

  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?

It is a mainstream policy.

  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?

In 2010 Estonian Labour Market Fund costs for career counselling were approx. 16 949 euros.

  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?

It is a public initiative.

  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?

The career counselling is available for all unemployed people who have registered themselves as unemployed in the Estonian Labour Market Fund.

  • What activities are involved?

Career counselling involves activities from personal career development plan to advice how to write an attractive CV and how to be successful in the job interview.

  • What are the success factors?

Potential employees:

  • know their expectations and options in labour market better,
  • know about the studying opportunities
  • better knowledge for job seeking, -interviews, etc.
  • Better knowledge on career developing
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Not available

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 focus in fostering employability among NEETS in Estonia is mainly through work camps (in Estonian “töömalev”), student companies, career services, voluntary work and apprenticeship training as well. The focus of policies and measures lies mainly on giving different work experience and advice to the youth. However NEET persons are not privileged in getting those services – all of the young people can apply for the work camps, student companies and voluntary work.

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?

Work camp (Õpilasmalev)

Student work camps take place in Estonia every summer and are meant for students aged 13-18. The aim of the student work camps is to give young people work experience. The participants of the work camp have a fixed-term contractual relationship with the employer and the work is paid. There are two kinds of work camps – project camps, were the participants spend over night and youth work projects, were the participants don’t spend the night in the camp.

Scale of measure: national

The measure is unilateral

Funding: national state funding

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

The measure is not specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education

The measure is not specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group

Student firms

Scale of measure: national

The measure is unilateral

Funding: information not available

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

The measure is not specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education

The measure is not specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group

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:

  • Description of the measure: aims and objectives

Apprenticeship training scheme is an active labour market measure provided by Estonian Labour Market Fund, which aims to offer unemployed people to gain practical work experience and also improve their professional skills and knowledge.

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

National

  • Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

The measure is unilateral

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

The measure is funded nationally.

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

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

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

No

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?

The apprenticeship training scheme was introduced as a Active Labour Market measure in 2006 and the implementation period of the measure is not limited.

  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?

Mainstream project

  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?

Information about the measures budget is not available.

  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?

Public initiative.

  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?

The target group is all unemployed people, who have registered themselves in Estonian Labour Market Fund

  • What activities are involved?

Participating in the apprenticeship training scheme is based on the agreement between the Estonian Labour Market Fund and employer. The person participating in the programme must write a training diary and deliver it to Estonian Labour Market Fund monthly. The duration of the training programme depends on the demands and needs of the employer. The maximum time period for the apprenticeship training is 4 months.

  • What are the success factors?

The success factors are the usage of the measure and overall decrease of unemployment.

  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Compared to 2009 when there were 1722 unemployed people who used the scheme, the participation in apprenticeship training has doubled in 2010 (with 3769 people using it). Also the costs on the measure have increased. In 2009 51 367 Euros were spent on that measure, whereas the costs were 116 250 Euros in 2010.

However there is no information on characteristics of participants of the apprenticeship training scheme. Thus, it is not possible to assess its effectiveness of the measure.

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?

There are no specific services to remove practical and logistical barriers for NEETs. But there are special services for disabled people in order to remove practical and logistical barriers. Also in order to enable unemployed people to participate in different labour market services, some barriers are addressed, for instance the transportation costs are compensated. However these measures are not NEET specific.

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?

Adaptation of the workplace for people with special needs

Estonian Labour Market Fund measure aimed to persons with a disability for whom it is difficult to function in a working environment where special needs haven’t been taken into account.

Scale of measure: national

The measure is unilateral

Funding: national state funding

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

The measure is not specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education

The measure is targeted to disadvantage people, however there is no age limit

Transport allowance by Estonian Labour Market Fund

Scale of measure: national

The measure is unilateral

Funding: national state funding

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

The measure is not specifically targeted at NEETs who already have a tertiary education

The measure is not specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group

   

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).

The wage subsidy is the main incentive measure for employers to recruit unemployed people. The service can be granted to employers who hire a long-term unemployed person. Young unemployed people (aged 16-24) are entitled for wage subsidy scheme under more favourable conditions as they can be hired with wage subsidy already after 6 months of unemployment while for the other groups the unemployment period must be 12 months. Before Riigikogu Election in March 2011, there were campaign promises by on of the coalition parties Pro Patria and Res Publica Union to create more incentives to employers in order to hire long-term unemployed young people. The aim was enable half-year exemption on paying social taxes on the wages of young people, who have been unemployed for a long period of time. Unfortunately this campaign promise is not in the Government Programme 2011-2015.

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?

Wage subsidy

See below (paragraph 2.2.11)

   
   

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:

  • Description of the measure: aims and objectives

The aim of the wage subsidy is to help long-term unemployed persons to find a stable job and make the engaging of those workers for employers cheaper. It is measure provided by Estonian Labour Market Fund.

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

National

  • Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

The measure is unilateral

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

The measure is funded nationally.

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

It is more general measure, which has an impact on NEETs.

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

No

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?

The wage subsidy was introduced in 2006.

  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?

It is a mainstream policy.

  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?

In 2010 it was one of the most used measures for the Unemployment Insurance Fund and thus had the highest costs in 2010. 10,885 people used this service and €557,337 were used for wage subsidies.

  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?

It is a public initiative.

  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?

The target group is unemployed people aged 16 to 24, who have been unemployed for at least 6 consecutive months or unemployed people aged over 25, who have been registered as unemployed for a period of at least 12 consecutive months. The measure is not NEET specific, but for the youth there are advantages compared to people aged 25 and over to be employed in a newly created job (which is supported by the Estonian Labour Market Fund).

  • What activities are involved?

Wage subsidies are only granted for newly created jobs. The unemployed worker must be offered a contract for an unspecified- or a fixed-term contract for a period of at least half a year. The subsidy is calculated as 50% of the wage or salary of the new staff member, but the maximum amount of the subsidy (per month) cannot exceed the official minimum monthly wage (278,02 Euros). Also the subsidy is paid for wages for half of the duration of the employment contract, but with a maximum of six months.

  • What are the success factors?

The success factor is decreased unemployment rate and increase of newly created jobs.

  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

In 2010 there were 10,885 participants for the wage subsidy measure, compared to 2009 when the usage was 192 the usage of that measure has increased tremendously. There is no evaluation on the success of the measure.

3. Conclusion

In general, NEETs as a specific target group has not been widely recognised in Estonia. At the same time, there are a number of measures targeted at youth or unemployed in more general, which also contribute to tackling the NEET issue as well. In general, young people aged 16-24 are defined as a labour market risk group in Estonian policy. It is acknowledged that long-term youth unemployment is a problem, which needs immediate action in order to avoid social problems in the future. There are many different labour market measures to tackle the problem of youth unemployment. At the same time, most of these measures have not been evaluated in terms of their success in supporting the youth or reducing the number of NEETs in specific.

The role of EU level in the NEET agenda is twofold. On the one hand, many measures described above are financed by European funding. On the other hand, the term of NEETs has been introduced from EU level. Even though the term is not widely used in Estonia, the issue has been recognised in some occasions.

There are several measures implemented to tackle the issue of NEETs, although these are not straightforward in terms of targeting this issue. The most important first step should be acknowledging the target group of NEETs more widely, their size in Estonian economy and opening a discussion on possible solutions, including whether the current solutions targeted at young people are enough to tackle NEETs as well. Thus, a more widespread discussion would be necessary.

Pirjo Turk, Kirsti Nurmela, PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies

Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Add new comment