FRAMEWORK ACTION ON YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT

The Framework of Actions aims to promote solutions to reduce youth unemployment, deliver concrete measures to improve young people’s employment opportunities. It calls on national social partners, public authorities and other stakeholders to act together and achieve concrete progress. It builds upon existing and new practices linked with the four priorities identified:   1 Learning 2 Transition 3 Employment 4 Entrepreneurship. Let’s have a look at two priorities in this article namely: Learning & Transition 

Education systems must provide adequate skills development to support individual qualification and a growing sustainable economy. Modern systems understand the way labour markets function. Modern systems must be able to respect the aspirations of young people while directing them towards sectors which are hiring now and in the future. The reform of educational systems has been a priority in some countries. The Poland has took such initiative. But most commonly, reforms of the vocational education and training systems (VET) are being undertaken in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Finland, Ireland, Malta, Latvia and Portugal. With respect to reforms of VET systems, social partners such as in Finland, Latvia and Portugal play a central role to influence the content of programmes and the way in which the work based learning component is organised. Social partners are generally concerned that the quality and content of education does not match with labour market requirements. Especially when employers seek to hire persons with specific technical skills. Education system must therefore get closer to the world of work in consultation with employers and employee organisations so that curricula are adapted and up-to-date. In Malta, information and communication technology (ICT) alternative learning programme summer courses are organised between July and September for young people wishing to improve their competences in ICT. The courses comprise group sessions spread over three weeks. Each covering a total of sixty hours. Students are obliged to attend a minimum of 80% of the courses and upon successful completion they are given an allowance equivalent to the minimum wage. The successful participants are awarded the standard certificate. After completion of the summer course, young people are either encouraged to enroll  in an educational institution to further their vocational training or to enlist another Scheme. For the working population which lacks the necessary basics to attain certain qualifications or vocational training, the French social partners have created the first inter-professional certification: CleA Certificate. It has established a professional knowledge and skills base. CleA’s main concern is the 3 to 4 million of poorly qualified employees or job seekers. It has a national impact and is recognised in all sectors.

The transition from education to the world of work is not always an easy step for some young people. Young people who have benefited from a traineeship, apprenticeship or another form of work-based experience have a higher chance to find an opportunity than those who are only relying on theoretical knowledge. Unless they have very specific qualifications. But this is not the case for the majority of young people who often lack information and insiders’ tips to better prepare for job hunting, job interview and company integration. Guidance and information  is a first step to be considered. Social partners have a role to play in facilitating the information flow towards young people but also and often with the public employment service (PES). But this is sometimes not enough. In Austria, Germany, Belgium and other countries incentives are offered to facilitate young people’s transition into work through further training and/or apprenticeship. In Austria, there is Supra-company-training (ÜBA) which gives training guarantee to young people who do not have a place in full time school based VET and who do not find an apprenticeship training place in a private enterprise can follow workshop based programmes in the framework of dual apprenticeship training. The first aim is supporting the young person in finding a “regular” apprenticeship training place. In Bulgaria, the national structures of workers and employees’ organizations – CITUB and CL “Podkrepa” actively involved in informing young people about the opportunities and services offered by employment offices as well as the rights and obligations of youth. Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) has signed partnership agreements with seven leading universities for refreshing university curricula and syllabus so that the expected learning outcomes comply with labour market skills demands and thus tackle skills mismatch.

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