EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Greece: 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:
Greece
Author:
Elena Kousta
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.

As the financial crisis represents an ever greater threat for young people not in employment, education and training, Greece is strengthening its efforts to prevent and deter early school leaving, to ensure reintegration into the school environment, the smooth school-to-work transition (by supporting programmes for the acquisition of work experience) as well as full-time or part-time employment through incentives provided to private enterprise, with a view to expanding the employee’s stay in the specified position. A common effort, especially the activation and participation of the Local Government is the key to the further and more systematic treatment of that category of citizens.

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)

In Greece, various stakeholders show particular interest in tackling problems related to the integration in the labour market – support of education – training of young people aged 16-24. Such high level interest is justified, as the particularly high rate of unemployment among young people of up to 25 years of age (approaching 30%, a rate that is one of the highest among European countries) is one of the major problems facing our country. The institution of training programmes and also of incentives granted to enterprises for the employment of young workers aged 16-24 becomes ever more imperative, as the financial crisis intensifies the threat of unemployment for the specified group of the population.

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

Some 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

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs

Some concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Significant concern

Teenage/ single parents

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Migrants and minority groups

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with disabilities

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Significant concern

Young people from workless families

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Significant concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

Significant concern (mostly at local level)

Significant concern

Some concern

Significant concern

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

Significant concern

Significant concern

Some 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).

Actions for the support and integration into the labor market of those NEETs coming from higher education have been implemented in Greece over previous years. The recent announcement of “subsidies to companies for the recruitment of 5.000 unemployed higher-education university and technical institution graduates up to the age of 35” is an indicative of actions realized “to confront their difficulties in being integrated into the labor market and cases of underemployment and employment in fields other than those they have specialized in”. For the first time, these actions offer enhanced motives (such as a daily subsidy of 30 EUR for the first 12 months + 100% subsidy of the employer’s and employee’s social security contributions for the next 12 months). In addition, through the financial aid it offers, the Program for Young Freelance Professionals & Young Scientists encourages young scientists – doctors, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, lawyers and engineers that have graduated from Universities and Polytechnic Institutions to practice their profession. The amount of funding for every new professional is set at 15.000,00 EUR, while its duration is12 months.

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?

According to the findings of the Report for the year 2010 drawn up by the Educational Policy Development Centre of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (KANEP/GSEE), in Greece the rate of early school leaving in 2009 amounted to 14.5%, while, according to data provided by the Ministry of Education, Life Long Learning & Religious Affairs for the academic year 2010-2011 –when the impact of the financial crisis on the country first made itself felt– the students who enrolled in the 1st grade of the upper secondary school were 21,542 less than those who graduated from the 3rd grade of lower secondary school. The rate of early school leavers amounts to 20.6%, and it is not known whether those students chose to enter earlier the labour market or turned to technical – vocational training.

At this point, it should be underlined that, pursuant to the provisions of art. 2 of Law 1566/1985 and art. 73 of Law 3518/2006, in Greece attendance is compulsory in Primary Education as well as in Lower Secondary Education (art. 2, section 3, of Law 1566/85), as long as a student is not older than 16 years of age. Whoever has the custody of a minor and neglects to enroll them in school or supervise them with respect to school attendance may be punished pursuant to article 458 of the Criminal Code. Furthermore, pursuant to Presidential Decree 161/2000, Prefects are now competent to impose sanctions on parents and guardians who fail to enroll their children in school and to make sure they attend school regularly.

In this context, through the implementation of the national strategy for education and lifelong learning, the primary objective of the Operational Programme (2007-2013), through cohesive measures and actions, is tackling early school leaving, especially as regards the vulnerable groups. Probably, the most ‘innovative’ change is the recent consolidation of schools. According to the Ministry of Education & Religious Affairs, the consolidated schools that are established will be attended by children of the same grade. As a result, a better socialization of students will be achieved and school violence and early school leaving will be prevented. The term “New schools” was used by the Ministry of Education to pinpoint the various, recent, changes in the educational system. The Unified Restated Program, is already implemented pilot, beginnings 2011 in elementary schools and will be introduced in the secondary education by September 2011. The consolidated schools (from 1,933 to 877 school units) is a new policy measure aiming at uniting schools, infrastructure and educational resources so that become robust.

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:

The EPZs (Educational Priority Zones) are national plans under the auspices of and co-financed by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs and the European Social Fund (ESF - European Social Fund - Investing in people). Their objective is to deal with failure in school per geographical area; namely, areas that record the highest rates of failure in school, delayed graduation and early school leaving, as well as the lowest rates of access to higher education. The areas that are most in need are, for instance, Thrace, Pella, the periphery of Pireaus, Elia and the run-down districts of urban centres.

Schools that will be turned into EPZs will be granted additional funds, will have modern infrastructure, will employ specially trained teachers who will commit themselves to stay in a specified school for an adequate period of time, will implement new teaching methods, etc.

This educational intervention that aims at tackling social disparities shall also include all the particular programmes (Roma, Muslims and Repatriated Greeks) that deal with vulnerable groups in terms of education.

Measure 2:

The establishment, operation and administration of public Intercultural Education Schools, Reception Classes and Tutorial Courses at national level, under the auspices of and co-financed by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs and the European Social Fund.

The Intercultural Education Schools implement the curriculum’s of the respective public schools, which are adjusted to the particular educational, social or cultural needs of their students, whereas the Reception Classes and the Tutorial Courses provide lingual and learning support in general to foreign students during normal teaching hours (the Reception Classes) and in addition to normal teaching hours (the Tutorial Courses). Intercultural Education Schools target at Roma, Muslims, repatriated Greeks. At that moment 26 Intercultural Education Schools are operating (13 primary schools, 9 high schools and 4 lyceums. The duration depends on the specific educational, social, cultural needs of the students and once successfully completed the students move to, as you call them, “mainstream schools”. These schools operate within “mainstream schools” buildings and some of the lessons such as music, sports etc are common.

The implementation of these actions prevents and deals with the phenomenon of early school leaving, with emphasis being put on repatriated Greeks and foreign students.

 

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:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Law 3879/21.09.2010 about Lifelong Learning includes, among other provisions, actions that are not clearly related to lifelong learning, but mostly aim at mitigating various social disparities. The most important one is the creation of Educational Priority Zones (EPZ) in Primary and Secondary Education, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs. The EPZs constitute an innovative feature of the “New School” and their primary objective is to eliminate educational disparities and to facilitate access of students coming from different social and cultural environments to education.

Their establishment is based on the sense of positive discrimination, so that students may overcome the obstacles they face in terms of education due to economic, social and cultural reasons. They include support actions for the improvement of performance at school in areas where problems have been detected, such as the operation of reception classes, tutorial courses, and courses for teaching the mother language of the students’ country of origin. The areas that are most in need are for instance, Thrace, Pella, the periphery of Pireaus, Elia and the run-down districts of urban centres.

Schools that will be turned into EPZs will be granted additional funds –more than 25 million Euros-, will have modern infrastructure, will employ specially trained teachers who will commit themselves to stay in a specified school for an adequate period of time, will implement new teaching methods, etc.

That measure has been implemented recently and, therefore, cannot be evaluated in terms of quality/quantity.

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?

In Greece, particular emphasis is being put on facilitating reintegration into the school or “learning” environment, in order for a smooth and reliable reintegration of early school leavers to be achieved. So, the State recently proceeded with the expansion and support of the institution of Second Chance Schools through actions that shall expand and upgrade the services provided by these structures. For that purpose and through financing by the European Social Fund (ESF), the available resources allocated to the specified intervention are increased. Precedence is given to the commitment to increase the investments regarding Lifelong Learning and, at the same time, to the support of socially vulnerable groups that are threatened with exclusion. At the same time, a similar intervention for Second Chance Upper Secondary Schools is being planned, focusing on forms of distance learning and flexible curriculums (e.g. part-time attendance in case that the student should wish to cover the subjects of an academic year over two calendar years).

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:

The Second Chance School, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs is an innovative school for adults (persons of 18 years of age or above, who have not completed the compulsory lower secondary education). The Second Chance Schools serve the fight against social exclusion through education, with a view to enabling the reconnection with formal education, to forming a positive attitude towards learning, to acquiring basic knowledge and skills and to facilitating access to the labour market. The Second Chance Schools are co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Greek State.

Measure 2:

The operation of Evening Lower Secondary Schools, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs, is a measure that tackles early school leaving and facilitates the smooth reintegration into the learning procedure, allowing employed persons to attend courses, provided that they are aged 14 or older. Attendance of these courses may be deemed as sufficient by increasing the number of unjustified absences by 30, thus recognising the difficulties that these students face because of their employment.

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:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The Second Chance Schools in Greece, under the auspices of and financed by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs and the European Social Fund, were instituted by Law 2525/97 in the context specified by the principles of the European Union, with a view to combating social exclusion and enabling the smooth reintegration into the learning procedure. The curriculum differs from the respective one offered by formal education in terms of content, teaching methodology and assessment of students. The programme runs for 2 academic years. Successful graduation leads to the conferment of a degree equivalent to the Lower Secondary School certificate. Educational services in Second Chance Schools are provided for free to citizens.

After the recently announced expansion, 58 schools and 35 out-of-school courses will be set up. The number of students is expected to amount to 13,000 in the next two years, while the project’s budget is 14,500,000 Euros. In September, 56 schools were operating since now with a total of approximately 5,000 students/per year.

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 Greece, according to the latest data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the rate of unemployment among young persons aged 15-24 is 39.6% (in the first quarter of 2011) as against 30.9% (in the respective quarter of 2010). In this context, the country put particular emphasis on the strengthening of structures for collecting and studying data regarding the transition of young people from school to the labour market, as well as on structures supporting counseling and promotion to employment. In Greece the entities competent for Vocational Guidance in the area of Education are the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, through the Directorate of Advisory Vocational Guidance and Educational Activities, and through the School Vocational Guidance Sector of the Pedagogical Institute, whereas in the area of Employment the competent entity is the Ministry for Labour and Social Security (YPAKP), primarily through the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED). Since 1997, by virtue of Law 2525, the institution of School Vocational Guidance has acquired particular importance, as its contribution to the upgrading of the role played by Education and to its harmonization with the current socio-economic reality is being recognized. So, the National Center for Vocational Orientation (EKEP), 68 Counselling and Guidance Centers (KESYP) based at the capitals of the country’s prefectures and also at other major cities, and 2 Counseling and Guidance Centers of a particular nature have been established. The first one operates at the Directorate of Advisory Vocational Guidance and Educational Activities of the Ministry of Education, and the second one at the Pedagogical Institute. Also 200 School Vocational Guidance Bureaus have been set up in major Secondary Education school units. At the same time, "Career Education" programmes are implemented and "Career Days" are organized in schools. In this context, the General Secretariat for Youth, since 1982 ‒when it was established as a line governmental body with the primary objective to work out, monitor and coordinate the government’s policy on youth and its connection to society and the social actors‒ has developed a set of actions and programmes in the core of the policy on youth, especially in sectors like: Information / Counseling, Entrepreneurship, etc. In that context, it cooperates with government entities, the local government, youth organizations and entities dealing with youth and childhood, with a view to mitigating and resolving problems.

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:

The Youth Information Centers (YIC) are structures instituted by the General Secretariat for Youth and the Ministry of Interior and operating at the Local Government’s responsibility. Their primary objective is to provide information/counselling about matters that regard young people in their entirety, regardless of their socio-educational background, such as education, vocational training, employment and work, provision of information about education and vocational training structures through THETIS electronic database, etc. The project is addressed to young persons aged 15-30 who are in educational system or not, unemployed persons and vulnerable Social Groups (Disabled persons, Minorities, Immigrants).

Measure 2:

The “Youth Entrepreneurship Support Structures”, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, via the Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning” and under the co-funding of the European Social Fund (ESF) are structures /bureaus operating throughout the country. Their objective is to provide consultancy services to young persons interested in entrepreneurship and the setting up of enterprises. In the context of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) the Support Structures were redesigned so that they be upgraded from an organizational and operational point of view, and so as to optimize their efficiency and to increase the prospects of viability for the institution. Their primary concern is that young persons are provided with all the necessary information about business initiatives and, at the same time, with specialized counseling through a network of collaborating professionals. The project is addressed to young persons aged 15-30 not in education, students of post-secondary education (Institutes of Professional Training, Post-secondary Education Centers, etc.), young persons in the education system (Upper Secondary Schools – Universities) in synergy with other co-financed institutions, Disabled persons, other vulnerable Social Groups (Minorities, Immigrants).

Measure 3:

The Career Offices of Universities and Technological Educational Institutes (40 departments throughout Greece) were established in 1991 with a view to providing services to students and university graduates who seek employment. Their objective is to assist students and graduates in entering the labour market. They also provide Vocational Guidance services, career consultancy services and information about postgraduate studies, education or training programmes, scholarships and professional rights. They implement the traineeship of students when it is provided for by the curriculum and organize “career days”. These Bureaus are financed by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs (through the management of national and community resources – National Strategic Reference Framework 2007 – 2013/Operational Programme “Education & Lifelong Learning).

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:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The Youth Information Centers (YIC) were first established in 1997 and are operating in the capitals of prefectures and in major cities of Attica and Thessaloniki (according to data provided by the General Secretariat for Youth (GSY) 11 YIC are operating in the 1st semester of 2011) under the supervision of the GSY and at the responsibility of the Local Government. Their objective is to familiarize young people with Information and Communication Technologies, and to provide reliable and timely information on sectors that interest young people (education, EU programmes, vocational training, leisure time, etc.). More specifically, young persons aged 15-30 are able to: obtain information about the EU programmes for young persons –mainly, the programme “Youth in Action”-, use a PC of the Centre for free under the supervision of a person in charge and look for information on the Internet, connect to data bases kept or accessed by the YIC (for instance, Eurodesk), receive newsletters. Moreover, they may participate in various programmes or events implemented and organized by the YIC in cooperation with local authorities or specialized professionals. These activities include: provision of consultancy services on various matters, like, for instance, social problems, vocational orientation, etc., presentations, conferences, exhibitions, youth festivals and other entertainment activities, cultural and sports events. At this stage, financing comes mostly from resources of the Municipalities and, to a lesser extent, by the General Secretariat for Youth (mainly financing of events).

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?

As the financial crisis makes the threat of unemployment for large parts of the population ever more severe, five new programmes were recently announced in Greece, focusing on young people and the creation of opportunities to study and acquire work experience. These programmes, whose implementation will begin in September 2011, aim primarily at mobilizing the young people in terms of personal and social progress, at promoting their active participation and at increasing their possibilities for social integration and employment.

They mainly focus on actions of initial vocational training, updating of knowledge for university and technological institute graduates, in order for them to upgrade their skills in accordance with the recent developments in science and technology, and also on traineeship programmes in enterprises that create added value. These recent programmes are intended approximately for 400,000 citizens (half of whom are young people aged 18-30) and their budget exceeds 140 million Euros.

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:

The object of the project “Initial vocational training voucher”, which is implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, through the Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning” and co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), is the granting of initial vocational training vouchers to young persons aged 18-25, regardless of their social and economic status. Upon application, candidates will be able to receive the said vouchers for attending initial vocational training programmes in the public or private Institutes of Professional Training they may select. The first initial training coupons will be distributed in September 2011. The project will have a total budget of 44 million Euros for the period from 2011 to 2015 and training vouchers will be distributed to about 55.000 young persons aged 18-25, who desire to study in public or private Institutes of Professional Training.

Measure 2:

The programme entitled “Ticket to Employment”, which is implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, through the Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning” and co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), is intended for young persons and adults who will acquire initial training and new vocational skills in the entirety of the areas – sectors of economic activity, more specifically with enterprises that create added value. More specifically, young persons and adults will be integrated into the labour market through the acquisition of knowledge and skills and through traineeship programmes in enterprises of the various sectors. Upon completion of the programme, the enterprises will undertake to hire a certain number of trained persons for a specified time period. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 young persons will benefit from the programme from 2011 to 2013, while the project’s costing is currently being conducted.

Measure 3:

“Knowledge updating for University-Technological Institute graduates”, implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, through the Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning” and co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF): This action refers to the organization and implementation of training programmes for university graduates, in sectors related to the scientific scope of their studies, in order for them to upgrade their skills in accordance with the recent developments in science and technology. A training programme has a minimum duration of 30 hours and a maximum duration of 200 hours. It is estimated that a total number of 17,000 persons will be trained. The programmes are expected to begin in September of the current year. The project’s budget is 20,000,000€.

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:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The programme entitled “Ticket to Employment”, which is implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, through the Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning” and co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), unlike the other programmes, has not been submitted for approval to the Administrative Authority. This is expected to take place in the near future, whereas it has not been made clear yet which will be the entity to implement it.

Young persons and adults will benefit from the programme by acquiring initial training and new vocational skills in the entirety of the areas/sectors of economic activity, more specifically with enterprises that create added value.

The Ministry of Education’s objective is to encourage the carrying out of traineeship in certain sectors of enterprises, so that a certain number of trained persons are eventually hired by those enterprises for a specified time period, immediately after the end of the training programme.

According to the plans of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs, it is estimated that approximately 20,000 young persons will benefit from the programme from 2011 through 2013, while, at the current stage, the project’s costing is being conducted.

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?

The targeted action for the elimination of practical and logistical barriers, however not exclusively for NEETs, in Greece is depicted in the Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning” (Development Strategy 200-2013). So, particular reference is made to the improvement of the education conditions and education level of disabled persons and/or persons with special educational needs, by continuously supporting actions to enrich the curriculums, the educational material –in both printed and digital form–, suitably adapted for each category of disability, the training of teachers, distance learning. The improvement of the quality of the offered education, which is adapted to the singularities of each disabled pupil and/or pupil with special educational needs, is also ensured through actions of precise depiction of the pupils’ abilities and skills at the stage of differential diagnosis as well as actions to support their parents and their immediate social surroundings. Another important sector is that of facilitating the access of vulnerable social groups (VSG) to all grades of the educational system. More specifically, as regards groups of the population with linguistic and cultural singularities (aliens, repatriated Greeks, Roma, Muslim Minority of Thrace, Greek expatriates), targeted actions are taken for assisting these pupils in the educational integration process and for combating the phenomenon of early school leaving. Intercultural education is promoted primarily by supporting the teaching of the Greek language, the development of the pupils’ skills, the psycho-social support of pupils and their families, as well as by providing assistance to teachers and education functionaries through training courses. As regards the planning and implementation of the actions, both the local conditions and the social and cultural singularities of each target group are taken into account and special emphasis is put on accepting diversity, on mutual understanding, on respect and on the elimination of stereotypes and prejudice.

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:

The programme entitled “Education of foreign and repatriated Greek pupils”, implemented in the context of Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning & Religious Affairs and co-financed by the European Social Fund, provides for a series of actions for supporting vulnerable social groups (foreigners, Repatriated Greeks, Disabled Persons), such as the enhanced instruction of the Greek language that aims at the linguistic support of foreign and repatriated Greek pupils facing language-related problems and at the support of pupils speaking foreign languages who have disabilities that affect the comprehension of the modern Greek language in its oral or written form. The programme targets young people in the primary or secondary education.

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 redesign of the entirety of incentives provided to enterprises, so as to make the recruiting of young people (NEETs) aged 16-30 more attractive, and the radical “restructuring” of the employment services provided by the Hellenic Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) are two frontier intervention measures taken by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in the labour market aiming at tackling unemployment. So, 4 new programmes were recently announced, which grant incentives to enterprises (mainly in the form of increased subsidization of the social security contributions or of the employment) to recruit about 60,000 young persons, mostly unemployed, of up to 30 years of age. Last, but not least, the Law 3986/2011 about “Urgent Measures for the Implementation of a Medium-term Fiscal Strategy Framework 2012-2015” that was passed recently provides for employment contracts of a specified term for young people of 18 to 25 years of age, aiming at the acquisition of professional experience. Employers and employees may now conclude employment agreements for a maximum duration of 24 months that provide for earnings reduced by up to 20% compared with those provided for a newly hired employee without any previous work experience in the specified profession. Employees are insured by the pension, sickness and professional risk sectors of the Social Security Fund (IKA-ETAM), and the respective social security contributions are paid to ΙΚΑ-ΕΤΑΜ by the employer.

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:

The “special four-year programme for the promotion of employment through the subsidy of social security contributions for the recruitment of 40,000 unemployed persons”, which is implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, managed by the OAED and co-financed by the European Social Fund, aims at creating new full-time jobs, focusing on young people of up to 30 years of age (including NEETs) and special groups of unemployed (unemployed who are close to the age limit for retirement, long-term unemployed women, parents of many children, single parents) through the subsidy of the wage cost and non-wage cost, that corresponds to the amount of social security contributions. The term of the subsidy will be 48 months and employers are obliged to maintain their personnel for a further 12-month period.

Measure 2:

The programme for the “acquisition of work experience by 10,000 unemployed persons aged 16-24 who enter the labour market, through their employment in private enterprises”, which is implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, managed by the OAED and co-financed by the European Social Fund, refers to the conclusion of agreements for the acquisition of work experience, with a view to facilitating the integration of young people into the labour market. The term of that agreement may be 12 months, and, in case it is converted into an employment agreement, the term of subsidy may reach 24 months.

Measure 3:

The “special two-year programme for the promotion of employment, through the subsidy of social security contributions for the recruitment of 25,000 unemployed persons”, which is implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, managed by the OAED and co-financed by the European Social Fund, aims at creating new full-time or part-time jobs for young people of up to 30 years of age (including NEETs) and special groups of unemployed (unemployed who are close to the age limit for retirement, long-term unemployed women, parents of many children, single parents). The programme’s objective is to create new jobs through the subsidy of part of the wage cost and non-wage cost that corresponds to the amount of social security contributions, which are calculated based on the emoluments that correspond to the minimum wage, as determined each time by the National General Collective Employment Agreement, in private enterprises. The term of the subsidy will be 24 months. After the expiry of the subsidy, enterprises are obliged to maintain their personnel for a further 12-month period.

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:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The programme for the “acquisition of work experience by 10,000 unemployed persons aged 16-24 who enter the labour market, through their employment in private enterprises” aims at enhancing the skills of and the acquisition of work experience by unemployed persons aged 16-24, who are entrants on the labour market, through their employment in private enterprises and private sector employers in general. The scheme is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and is intended for entrants on the labour market aged 16 - 24, who are Greek citizens, or citizens of another EU member state or Greek expatriates entitled to stay and work in our country. The term of subsidy that regards the 1st stage of the programme (acquisition of work experience) may be up to twelve (12) months. The amount of subsidy is equal to the amount of social security contributions for the pension, sickness and occupational hazard sectors of the Social Security Fund (ΙΚΑ – ΕΤΑΜ), as it is calculated based on the gross earnings that are equal to 80% of the minimum wage, or based on the gross monthly earnings that are equal to 80% of the minimum daily wage, as determined each time by the National General Collective Employment Agreement. The term of subsidy for the 2nd stage shall be twelve (12) months. The amount of subsidy corresponds to 70% of the monthly social security contributions (payable by employers and employees), for all the principal insurance sectors of ΙΚΑ-ΕΤΑΜ and supplementary insurance sector of the Uniform Supplementary Social Security Fund (EΤΕΑΜ), and to 70% of the monthly social security contributions that ΙΚΑ collects or jointly collects on behalf of social security entities and sectors.

3. Conclusion

The unemployment of young people tends to acquire unprecedented proportions, as in the 1st quarter of 2011 it skyrocketed to 39.6%, as against 30.9% (in the respective quarter of 2010) as regards persons of up to 24 years of age, according to data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.). Still, even among the young persons who are employed, the rate of those who are “lucky” enough to enjoy full-time employment with a decent remuneration and decent working terms is low, creating an explosive social situation.

In this context, the country’s policy focuses on the promotion of young people’s employment, on maintaining young people’s professional stability. The proactive steps that are taken with respect to the employment sector are of a general nature; namely, they are intended for all the young people, without exception, and for special groups of the population, unlike those actions that deal with early school leaving, school-to-work transition and the various opportunities for training and the acquisition of skills, which are intended primarily for young people not in employment, education and training. The operational programmes entitled “Lifelong Learning” and “Development of Human Resources” incorporate the European Union agenda as regards the NEETs, adapting it to the Greek reality. Further reforms, both of the educational system and in terms of employment policy, are required for supporting the specified group of the population. At the same time, though, a joint effort is also required: the State, the Local Government, employer organizations and trade unions shall have to adopt a common action plan with a view to protecting the young people who are not in employment, education or training. At this point, the important role played by the Local Government in treating the specified category should be underlined. The Local Government, the state institution that is closer to citizens, may implement programmes intended for ΝΕΕΤs, by setting up the competent offices and after taking notice of the proportions of the problem in every local society. At the same time, the Local Government, in co-operation with the local employer entities (Industries, Companies, Associations of Craftsmen and Merchants, self-employed persons, etc.), may give to young people who wish to acquire experience the opportunity to work for a limited period of time in the context of paid traineeship programmes.

Elena Kousta, Labour Institute of Greek General Confederation of Labour (INE/GSEE)

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