FRAMEWORK WORK ACTION ON UNEMPLOYMENT: PART II 

In order to deal with unemployment, we had express ourselves with framework of actions on unemployment( priority 1 Learning and priority 2 Transition) in previous article.  Let’s look at remaining two priorities I.e. Employment and Entrepreneurship to deliver concrete measures in order to improve young people’s employment opportunities.

Under the employment priority, social partners have reported a more diverse set of actions and measures taken at different countries’ national level. The social partners do not concentrate on a particular area but address different factors or causes preventing young people from getting an adequate position in a company and/or progressing into employment once their career has started. The first groups of young people which social partners pay attention are to the low qualified (reported in Belgium) and refugees (reported in Austria and in Germany). Here, young people need specific supporting measures involving many different actors. Activation strategies (reported in Ireland) are another priority for social partners who wish to help young people adapting to fast changing labour market needs and future opportunities for quality jobs. The fact that many vacancies in the fields remain unfilled is a source of concern. The level of vacancies shows that not enough young people are directed to those areas and sectors where they would more likely to find a job. This shows a disconnection between the world of work and the world of education which needs to be overcome notably by improving education and training provision and learning outcomes. 

The role of the public employment service is important, especially in countries where the public employment services(PES) is the main information platform for job seekers. PES must be modernised (reported in Ireland) and adapted to today’s methods to look for a job through networks and social media. Tax incentives and pay levels (reported in Luxembourg, Malta, Sweden) influence on enterprises’ capacity to create jobs as well as on the attractiveness of sectors/jobs for young people. Financial schemes aiming to create more job and training opportunities is also in use with some countries (reported in Cyprus). National collective bargaining (reported in Spain, Sweden, France and Germany) can create momentum for national discussions on employment and create incentives for further regional and/or sectorial negotiations. Social partners and labour market institutions have a key role to play to adapt labour markets and make them more dynamic. Housing difficulties can be a disincentive for some young people who are seeking a job in cities where housing becomes very expensive (reported in France). This is a phenomenon that social partners can take into account. 

Under the youth guarantee young people can be offered different types of employment contracts to gradually enter the employment market in Luxemburg. The contracts of apprenticeships with employers are namely employment initiation contracts (CIE) and employment support contracts (CAE). CIE and CAE contracts apply to young job seekers under the age of 30 who have been registered with the job centre for at least 3 months. Under a CIE contract, the young person receives the minimum wage and is supported throughout the contract by a tutor. Employers can in return reclaim 50% of wage allowances as well as their share of the social security charges. 

Some of the social partners have signed collective agreements on a form of youth introduction employment (YA) in Sweden.  The Swedish government has introduced financial support structures to promote employment within the agreements. The reform is being supported, monitored and evaluated by different authorities. The targeted group for the scheme is being broadened to encompass long term unemployed persons older than 25 years old and newly arrived immigrants.

Entrepreneurship is often seen as a way to become self-employed, autonomous and independent. Entrepreneurship is also a way for individuals and mostly young people to explore their creativity and capacity for innovation (reported in Ireland). Social partners have reported a number of initiatives to first promote the entrepreneurship mind set, attitude and culture (reported in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus). Some highlight that this can already be done at the level of education (reported in Austria, Germany), including in vocational education and training (VET). Information and guidance play a role (reported in France, Ireland, Sweden). Partnerships between administrations, schools/universities and social partners (reported in Bulgaria) can create an enabling eco-system to foster entrepreneurship and the promotion of individual initiatives. This is often combined with financial incentives or loans (reported in Poland, Portugal) and an effort put on certain sectors where the speed of innovation is greater such as in information and communication technologies (ICTs) sector.

The Government Program “First Business – Startup Support” is implemented by the state-owned bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) in Poland. The initiator of the Program is the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy commissioned by BGK to manage the Program. The Program’s objective is to develop entrepreneurship and create new jobs as elements of labour market development, counteracting unemployment and promoting employment. Under the Program, financial intermediaries selected by BGK provide low interest loans for starting a business and creating a job for the unemployed. All the instruments are dedicated for young people who do not have a job and do not perform any other paid work. The social partners were involved in consultation process, promotion action in the field of getting to youth organisations. Cyprus Entrepreneurship including young women. Despite the measures taken towards training and employing young persons, the social partners agree that promoting entrepreneurial thinking and skills can have a positive impact on the employability of young people as well as in creating more and better jobs. The Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, following social partners’ positions and suggestions has been implementing the “Youth Entrepreneurship” and “Women’s Entrepreneurship” Schemes, co-funded by the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative. With the support of these Schemes, the government aims in encouraging the two groups (youth and women) in setting-up their own business following a process of a business plan submission, mentoring etc., and create new jobs.

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