Austria: 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:
Austria
Author:
Bernadette Allinger
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.

A specific discussion on NEETs is not too highly pronounced in Austria; rather, it forms part of the general discussion on youth (un-)employment which targets specifically young people with low education, but not exclusively NEETs. In an internationally comparative perspective, the problem of disadvantaged youth is rather small and Austria can thus be considered a good-practice country at the European level (cf. Steiner 2005: 24). Several measures have been implemented in order to increase participation in education, training or employment. The discussion on disadvantaged youth and NEETs focuses mostly on teenagers who have fulfilled their compulsory education of nine school years, but have neither started employment (e.g. apprenticeship training) nor further education (e.g. higher secondary schools). To a much lesser extent, NEETs with tertiary education (e.g. young university graduates who have just received their degree and are searching for employment) are discussed in that framework. This is also due to the fact that generally speaking, the share of NEETs decreases with higher attained education levels (cf. European Commission 2007). Thus, the NEETs discussion in Austria focuses on teenagers with little education who are often from socially disadvantaged (and frequently migrant) backgrounds and whose parents have only very little education, as well. The focus of the measures in place lies at encouraging those young people to gain access to Austria’s dual system of apprenticeship training (e.g. by providing guaranteed apprenticeship places) and consultation (e.g. job coaching). There is, however, need for support in case of abandonment of an education or training measure in order to decrease the rate of early school leavers.

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)

There is varying interest among the different stakeholders in Austria on the different types of NEETs. The major focus for all stakeholder groups lies on preventing youth unemployment, towards which the majority of policies and measures have been implemented. Also, young people whose qualifications do not meet labour market needs are a big topic for all stakeholder groups. Furthermore, the problem of young people who are in precarious employment relationships also raises considerable interest among almost all stakeholder groups. This development has intensified within the last decade or so and many studies that have been published on the topic have also sparked considerable public interest. Early school leavers have thus far only been of some interest to the different groups, which is also shown by the fact that there are hardly any measures implemented which are targeted towards its prevention.

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

Significant 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)

Significant concern

Some concern

Little 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

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Migrants and minority groups

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with disabilities

Little/no concern

Some concern

Little concern

Little concern

Young people from workless families

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

Little/no concern

Little/no concern

Little/no concern

Little/no concern

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

Some concern

Some concern

Little concern

Some 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).

Currently, there is just one specific measure available which is also targeted towards NEETs with tertiary education: In September 2008, a funding scheme for one-person enterprises was implemented by the Austrian government which partly subsidises incidental wage costs of the first employee who needs to meet the criteria of being under 30 years of age and of either having been registered as unemployed or of just having finished an education or training measure. While this is not explicitly targeted towards graduates with a tertiary education, university graduates are among the target group. Until the first half of the 2000s, a so-called ‘Young Academics’ Training’ programme by the Public Employment Service (AMS) was in place. When participating in this programme, the employers had no costs, but the (comparatively low) wages of the young graduate were instead taken over by the AMS. With the implementation of the means-tested minimum income scheme (see AT1009011I), university graduates without employment are now automatically eligible to receive those funds and in turn are obliged to register with the AMS which will provide support (with regards to job search, providing educational courses etc.). Before that, young graduates who were not employed before and thus had not accumulated enough social insurance periods in order to receive unemployment benefits, could only voluntarily register with the AMS.

2. NEET Policies and Measures

2.1 Measures to tackle early school leaving

The policy focus in Austria rather lies on the (re-)integration of disadvantaged young people into employment, or rather the dual system of vocational training once they have left school (see below). Measures targeted towards tackling early school leaving are rather scarce. According to expert opinion (cf. Steiner 2009:156), this can be viewed critical.

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?

In Austria, there are practically no preventive measures implemented in order to tackle early school leaving. Once a student has reached nine school years of compulsory education, he/she is free to drop out, no matter whether a formal school-leaving degree has been obtained or not.

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

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: ---
Measure 2: ---
Measure 3: ---

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)?

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?

With regards to the reintegration of early school leavers, only one specific measure can be identified which concerns ‘second chance schools’, i.e. which relates to getting a lower secondary education degree (which is regularly obtained after eight years of compulsory schooling) when one has dropped out of school earlier or finished the eighth school year with a negative mark. The measure is described in more detail in 2.1.6.

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

.

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: Obtaining a degree of lower secondary education Nachholen des Hauptschulabschlusses

Aims and objectives: see below

National

Unilateral

National state funding, European funding (ESF)

General measure with impact on NEETs

Not specifically targeted towards young people from a disadvantaged background / minority group

Measure 2: ---
Measure 3:

---

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

  • 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 measure of obtaining a (belated) degree of lower secondary education after finishing the regular school career for young people up to 18 years of age was first implemented in Austria in 1998 within the framework of the National Action Plan (Employment) in order to give young school drop-outs the possibility to get a formal degree even at a young age. The programme is not centrally coordinated, but is implemented by the provinces. Thus, some regulations and requirements differ; e.g. there are some differences in age requirements and course costs. Preparatory courses are offered by various educational institutes at varying costs – a majority of them are subsidised publicly (e.g. ESF, Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture bm:ukk) and thus free of charge for individuals. The courses are not compulsory, however. Some thirteen different school subjects (including German, English and Maths) are to be passed. If someone does have a school certificate of the eighth year of education, which essentially covers the same syllabus as the ‘2nd chance exam’, in which subjects have been passed with a positive mark before, exams in only those subjects which were either not passed or not assessed due to various reasons, need to be taken. Courses available usually take between ten and twelve months and can be attended in the evenings so as to enable participants to work full-time during the day. Exams can be taken at any schools of the type of which the degree is to be obtained (‘Hauptschulen’, i.e. lower secondary schools). Evaluations and data on the measure are scarce; a study by L&R Social Research from 2004 estimates that an age cohort of about 5,000 students do not reach a formal school-leaving degree of compulsory education annually; every year, about 300 young people make use of the ‘2nd chance degrees’, marking a rate of about 6% only (cf. Lechner et al. 2004: 134). The drop-out rate of those young people starting preparatory courses lies at a very high 50% (cf. ibid.: 138). Of those students successfully passing the exam, however, some 58% start an apprenticeship thereafter and 36% find employment immediately and start working (ibid.). More recent data by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (BMASK) show that over the course of 2006, 1386 persons taking preparatory courses were approved, of which 43% were female (cf. BMASK 2010a: 268f); however, this includes adults over 18 years of age, as well. No information about funds allocated to this specific measure is available.

2.2 Measures to facilitate access to employment

The policy focus in Austria with regards to NEETs lies on the (re-)integration of disadvantaged young people into employment/apprenticeships. Measures that have been implemented in order to facilitate access to employment are targeted towards providing youngsters with apprenticeship places, enabling them to take part in short qualification measures and in providing coaching and consultation.

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?

A good deal of measures on facilitating school to work transitions takes place at schools. Since the school year 1998/99, specific courses on ‘career and educational guidance’ are compulsory in the 7th and 8th school year in Austrian schools (one lesson per week). The course subject can either be taught as a subject on its own or can be integrated within regular school subjects. The bm:ukk has installed working groups which have prepared teaching materials on career and educational guidance and provides material and master copies on its website. Furthermore, teachers usually visit career information centres with their students in which they can take tests on their interests and aptitudes for specific professions or further schooling. Schools can also invite external persons e.g. from the AMS or from companies or continuing education schools, as well as entrepreneurs or former students for information sessions on their working lives. Furthermore, schools may participate in so-called ‘job-practical days’ during which (apprenticeship providing) companies or vocational and higher schools can be visited. The aim of those ‘real-life meetings’ is to give students direct insights into working lives and employment and to give them practical information on processes in companies. All those measures are, however, voluntary, and depend on individual teachers’ commitment (with the exception of obligatory courses on career guidance as mentioned above). Additionally, some programmes on school to work transitions are available outside of schools, as well (see below).

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: Production schools (Produktionsschulen)

In production schools, young persons can obtain/catch up on basic knowledge and skills. They receive socio-educational counselling and are slowly introduced to the labour market with a combination of work and learning. The measure aims to integrate youngsters into schooling, apprenticeship training or the labour market, depending on individual needs and interests.

National, but not nationwide (i.e. there are currently 20 production schools in Austria)

Unilateral (AMS)

National and provincial state funding, occasionally communal funding, ESF funding

NEET-specific measure

Targeted towards youth who have fulfilled compulsory schooling

Targeted towards disadvanted youth with specific (educational) needs and difficulties (e.g. family problems, alcohol/drug problems)

Measure 2: Pilot project ‘C’mon 14’

See more detailed information in 2.2.3

Unilateral

National state funding

NEET-specific measure

Not targeted at NEETs with a tertiary education

Target groups are young people who have finished compulsory education and are in the need of support with regards to career or educational orientation

Measure 3:

---

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

  • 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)?

In the provinces Vienna and Styria, a project called ‚c’mon 14’ was initiated in order to facilitate the transition management between school and employment for disadvantaged young people who need support. The programme was initiated in January 2010 in Vienna (and in May 2010 in Styria) and is scheduled to run until the end of 2011. The target group of the project are young people between 14 and 17 years of age who have fulfilled compulsory schooling and need support and consultation for their career decisions. The consultants, who are called case managers, provide support with finding an apprenticeship place, provide information and support in making choices on further schooling or employment options, but also on other topics like difficult family situations or credit counselling. Furthermore, case managers hold informational workshops (on topics like how to write applications and CVs, or different professions and job profiles) and provide mobile consultation at some schools. Participation in the programme is free of charge for the adolescents. Case managers also accompany the students to important meetings. The duration of the programme for an individual is up to two years. In Vienna, the programme is funded by the AMS, ESF and ‘Viennese Employees Promotion Fund’ WAFF (Wiener ArbeitnehmerInnen Förderungsfonds), in Styria it is funded by the BMASK; partners are the AMS and the provincial government of Styria. In both provinces, the programme is implemented by ÖSB Consulting. The innovative character of this measure is that case managers also provide mobile consultation at schools for students, teachers and parents and can thus be considered a low-threshold initiative. Also, timing is an important factor in this programme; the earlier disadvantaged youth who are endangered of becoming NEETs are being approached, the better are the chances of a successful start into further education or training. An evaluation of the programme is not yet 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?

In Austria, the focus of measures implemented with regards to youth employment and education definitely lies at fostering employability. Austria’s dual system of apprenticeship training (practical work and vocational schooling) is often taken as a best practice example of how youth unemployment can be kept low. The unemployment rate for workers aged 19 and younger has been clearly below average in recent years. Even during the latest economic crisis, the rise in unemployment in the 15-19 year age group remained moderate at 0.8%, which suggests that measures taken to support Austria’s dual system of apprenticeship training (i.e. by guaranteed apprenticeship placements) seem to work very well. The focus of apprenticeship training can be seen by the fields of measures that were implemented by the BMASK in the last few years (cf. BMASK 2010a: 141ff).

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: ‘Überbetriebliche Lehrausbildung’ (Supra-company apprenticeships)

Sufficient offers of places in supra-company training facilities for those who cannot find a regular apprenticeship placement in a company are provided. This apprenticeship training guarantee means that every young person who is interested in an apprenticeship is guaranteed a place.

National

Unilateral with organisational support from the Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) and the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) which runs supra-company training facilities

National state funding

Not specifically directed towards NEETs; however, measure also implemented in order to prevent young people from becoming NEETs

Not specifically targeted at NEETs with a tertiary education

Targeted at young people from all backgrounds

Measure 2: ‘Berufsmatura’ (apprenticeship with higher vocational diploma which grants access to tertiary education)

Since September 2008, apprentices can take part in preparatory courses for a vocational diploma which gives them access to tertiary education during their apprenticeship at no costs. Before (i.e. since 1998), this was only possible after the completion of an apprenticeship and the costs had to be borne by the apprentices themselves. The new measure is funded by the Austrian state which subsidises the educational facilities providing preparatory courses with EUR 6,000 per student. It is expected that about 1,600 students will make use of the measure annually.

National, but not nationwide

Unilateral, with support from the social partners

National state funding (bm:ukk)

Not specifically directed towards NEETs

Not specifically targeted at NEETs with a tertiary education

Targeted at young people from all backgrounds

Measure 3: ‘Aktion Zukunft Jugend’ (‘Project Future Youth’)

Measure targeted towards decreasing unemployment among 19-24 year old persons by providing every person of that age group who has registered with the AMS a qualification measure or employment within six months of registering.

National

Unilateral

National state funding

Specific NEETs measure

Not specifically targeted at NEETs with a tertiary education

Not specifically targeted at NEETs from a disadvantaged background / 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:

  • 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)?

Since 2004/05, supra-company apprenticeship places are offered through the Youth Training and Education Provision Act (JASG, which was first implemented in 1998 in the framework of a National Action Plan for Young Workers). Additionally, in June 2008, the social partners negotiated a labour market package for young workers in Austria with a focus on improving the situation of young apprentices. Together with the federal government, an apprenticeship training guarantee was agreed upon (among other measures). This means that sufficient offers of places in supra-company training facilities are available for those who cannot find a regular apprenticeship placement in a company; in other words, every young person who is interested in an apprenticeship is guaranteed a place – if no place is found at regular approved apprenticeship employers, the apprenticeship can be taken at supra-company apprenticeship facilities. Compensation which apprentices receive in the supra-company facilities lie at EUR 240 per month in the first two years and EUR 555 in the third year (which is the last year) of the training. Over the course of the school year 2008/09, some 16,107 young people participated in the programme (with varying durations). 22% of them were either without employment or apprenticeship for more than six months or participated in educational courses before the onset of the measure. The number of young persons participating in the programme amounted to 10,213 on 31 December 2009. In 2010/11, the number of places was increased to 13,782 (1,500 more than in the year before) in order to provide every young person in need with a place. In 2009/10, EUR 187 million of funds were used of which 86% were taken over by the AMS and the rest by the provincial governments. This example was chosen as an effective practice as it provides every young person in need with an apprenticeship place and thus the dependency on employers providing places is reduced. In uncertain economic times, for example, when employers reduce their trainining activities, apprenticeship training for all adolescents is now guaranteed which is an important measure towards decreasing the number of NEETs in the country.

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?

A few measures are available which are tailored at disadvantaged youth or youth with educational difficulties and/or disabilities. In 2003, an ‘integrative apprenticeship training’ was implemented which allows young people with special needs to take part in apprenticeship training, but allows them to take longer (one year extension of the runtime, and in exceptional cases two years) or to obtain only partial qualifications of the training.

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

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

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

Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

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

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

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

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

Measure 1: Clearing

‘Clearing’ – programme for disabled or disadvantaged youth (a condition for taking part in an integrative apprenticeship training (see below) is to have gone through a ‘clearing’ process): a team of experts examines the individual capabilities of disabled young persons at schools and prepares a development plan for every individual based on their capabilities and skills; subsequently, individual support programmes are to be taken in order to improve the individual’s employability

Unilateral

State funding and ESF funding

Not a NEET-specific measure as it also targets young people who are still at school

Measure also targeted towards young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, but firstly towards young people with special educational needs, who are disabled, who have social-emotional disadvantages or who have not obtained a lower secondary degree

Measure 2: Integrative apprenticeship training

Integrative apprenticeship training (a condition for taking part in an integrative apprenticeship training is to have gone through a ‘clearing’ process (see above)): allows young people with special needs to take part in apprenticeship training with extended runtime (one year extension of the runtime, and in exceptional cases two years) or to obtain only partial qualifications of the training

National

Unilateral (AMS)

National funding

Not a NEET-specific measure as it also targets young people who are right at the transition between school and employment/training

Targeted towards youth who have finished compulsory schooling

Measure also targeted towards young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, but firstly towards young people with special educational needs, who are disabled, who have social-emotional disadvantages or who have not obtained a lower secondary degree

Measure 3: Project Managing Diversity

The measure is directed towards integrating disadvantaged young persons from migrant backgrounds in AMS measures or employment by improving the framework conditions (e.g. providing informational material in several languages, taking into account family context, providing companies with support with regards to diversity)

National

Unilateral

National state funding

Migrant NEET specific measure

Not targeted towards NEETs with tertiary education

Targeted towards disadvantaged youth with migrant backgrounds

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).

At the end of the 1990s and beginning of the 2000s, the number of apprenticeship places in Austrian companies was continually decreasing. In order to increase the number of places, the Austrian government therefore implemented the so-called ‘Blum-Bonus’ (named after its inventor) in 2006. This measure subsidised companies providing additional apprenticeship places with further funding of EUR 400 per month in the first year, EUR 200 a month in the second year and EUR 100 a month in the third year (additionally to EUR 1000 for every apprentice a company trains). This successful programme ended in 2008 and was replaced by a new system of funding for enterprises providing apprenticeship training to which EUR 200 million annually are allocated. While the first programme (Blum-Bonus) was directed towards all apprentices, the new funding programme is more specifically (but not entirely) directed towards NEETs (see below). Furthermore, in order to encourage more companies to offer apprenticeships, a new measure was implemented which allows apprenticeship employers to extraordinarily terminate an apprenticeship agreement after a mediation procedure.

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: OPE subsidies for first employee

One-person enterprises receive subsidies (incidental wage costs taken over for one year) when hiring the first employee under 30 years of age (registered unemployed person or person just out of education/training (thus, incl. university graduates))

Unilateral measure

National state funding

General measure also having an impact on NEETs

NEETs with tertiary education included

Not targeted specifically at young people from a disadvantaged background/minority group

Measure 2: Subsidies for employers training apprentices

Employers training apprentices: subsidies (see below)

Measure 3:

---

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

  • 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)?

In 2008, the AMS implemented a new funding programme for employers hiring apprentices. The measure is targeted towards girls in male-dominated professions with a low female share; young persons who are disadvantaged on the labour market; participants in an integrative apprenticeship programme (see above); and over 19-year old adults whose employment situation (due to little qualification) can be improved by taking an apprenticeship training. While companies receive up to EUR 400 monthly for apprentices of the first three types, the amount increases to up to EUR 755 when training over 19-year olds. Some EUR 200 million are allocated to the programme annually. Of the 17,000 new cases of apprentices for which the employers received funding in 2009, some 28% were disadvantaged youth; about 10% were participants in the integrative apprenticeship training; 5% were females taking an apprenticeship in male-dominated occupations; and 4% were apprentices over the age of 19. The rest (53%) considered the funding of additional apprentices for which the funding programme has since expired. Especially with regards to disadvantaged youth the programme seems to be quite successful. The funding programme for girls in male-dominated apprenticeships is one of several measures targeted towards the integration of females into technical and science oriented occupations in a country which has the second highest gender wage gap (25.4% in 2009 as compared to 17.1% in the EU-27). Furthermore, encouraging employers to train youth which generally have worse chances on the apprenticeship market can be considered a good practice as priority still lies at taking apprenticeship training at an employer and not at a supra-company training facility due to the expected better chances of integration into the first labour market.

3. Conclusion

The problem of NEETs is not very pronounced in Austria by international comparison. It is thus often not considered a separate topic on its own, but is rather integrated in the discussion on youth (un-)employment and the young people’s transition between school and employment, i.e. primarily between compulsory schooling and apprenticeships. Employers often complain that young apprentices lack basic skills and state that the level of general knowledge and qualification has decreased within the last years. As shown in this report, the focus of policies implemented in Austria lies on fostering employability and more specifically on providing enough apprenticeship places for everybody in need of one and adapting apprenticeships for disadvantaged or disabled young persons. Due to Austria’s relative good performance, the EU level has thus far not played a major role on the NEET agenda in the country. Austria’s dual vocational system with both practical training and schooling is often considered a role model. What needs to be done, though, according to experts, is to provide students with more information about the different types of apprenticeships and the salaries which can be earned, e.g. in order to prevent girls from choosing only among rather lowly-paid professions in the service sector. This has already been started with various campaigns and funding. The system of funding for employers who train apprentices has changed not long ago and is now dependent on training specific groups of young people (e.g. disadvantaged and disabled youth or girls in male dominated professions). Due to the decreasing number of approved apprenticeship employers, some groups (e.g. the ÖGB’s youth section ÖGJ) demand that every employer who has ten or more workers should be obliged to train apprentices. Furthermore, it is suggested to form a training fund in which employers who do not train young people need to pay money into; this money is then provided to employers who do train apprentices. The ÖGB furthermore demands that the ‘Berufsmatura’ (apprenticeship with higher vocational diploma which grants access to tertiary education, see above) is extended and offered nationwide. Of all policy areas covered in this report, the problem of early school leavers has been least tackled in Austria. An expert on ESL in Austria (Steiner 2009: 157f) suggests to intensify measures targeted towards prevention of early school leaving, to reform the compulsory schooling system (reduce its selectivity), intensify career guidance and develop a coordination strategy among all relevant actors. More specifically, he demands a higher degree of individualisation (orientation on individual strengths and not weaknesses, in order to increase the levels of motivation), orientations towards resources and fostering potential, empowerment and case management in order to decrease the number of ESLs. A reform of the Austrian school system has been on the agenda of the country’s government for some time; however, the reform process has turned out to be very lengthy due to opposing positions of the parties in power.

Sources:

  • BKA (2011): Erläuterungen. Nationales Reformprogramm 2011 (NRP). Übersicht Maßnahmen zu den fünf nationalen Kernzielen, Vienna.
  • BMASK (2010a): Dokumentation aktive Arbeitsmarktpolitik in Österreich 1994-2010. Maßnahmen, Instrumente, Programme und Politiken, Wien.
  • BMASK (2010b): Jugend und Arbeit in Österreich, Vienna.
  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION (2007): Employment in Europe 2007, Brussels.
  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION (2011): European Employment Observatory Review –
  • Youth employment measures 2010, Luxembourg.
  • Lechner, F. et al. (2004): Begleitende Bewertung der NAP-Maßnahmen für Jugendliche – Endfassung des Endberichts, L&R Social Research, Vienna.
  • Steiner, Mario (2005): Disadvantaged Youth: Austria. Nationaler Bericht über benachteiligte Jugendliche und politische Strategien im europäischen Vergleich, IHS, Vienna.
  • Steiner, Mario (2009): Early School Leaving und Schulversagen in österreichischen Bildungssystem, in Specht, Werner (Hrsg. 2009): Nationaler Bildungsbericht Österreich 2009, Band 2, Fokussierte Analysen bildungspolitischer Schwerpunktthemen, pp.156-160.
  • Steiner, Mario (2010): Early School Leaving in Österreich. Ausmaß, Ursachen, Konsequenzen und Interventionen, in: Hauer, M./Hinsch, S./Rittberger, M./Vana, I. (2010): arbeitslos – aussichtslos? Probleme und (fehlende) Perspektiven arbeitsloser Jugendlicher, Schulheft 138/2010, Innsbruck, pp. 31-43.

Bernadette Allinger, FORBA (Working Life Research Centre)

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