Europe is facing problems with unemployment of young people. Around 5 million young people (under 25) were unemployed in the EU-28 area in December 2014, of whom over 3.2 million were in the euro area. In December 2012, the European Commission launched the “Youth Employment Package”, a raft of measures to prompt EU and member state action to improve youth employment prospects. Particularly noteworthy was the Commission’s proposal to Member States to establish a Youth Guarantee, which was officially adopted on 22 April 2013 in the EU Council’s recommendation.
The Youth Guarantee is an approach to tackling youth unemployment which ensures that all young people under 25 – whether registered with employment services or not – get a good-quality, concrete offer within 4 months of them leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The good-quality offer should be for a job, apprenticeship, traineeship, or continued education and be adapted to each individual need and situation.
Developing and delivering a Youth Guarantee scheme requires strong cooperation between all the key stakeholders: public authorities, employment services, career guidance providers, education & training institutions, youth support services, business, employers, trade unions, etc.
The European Commission has helped each EU country to develop its own national Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan and start implementation. The Commission has supported awareness raising activities on the setting up of the Youth Guarantee, with a pilot running in 4 Member States (Latvia, Finland, Portugal and Romania) in 2015. The concept, products and visuals from this pilot as well as lessons learnt have been put at the disposal of national, regional and local authorities who wish to use it further as an electronic toolkit.
The Commission continues to support awareness raising and outreach activities in further four Member States (Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania and Slovenia) in 2016-17 (Description of projects under call VP/2015/005). In addition, a call for proposals has been launched in April 2016 to provide support to Youth Guarantee outreach activities in five more Member States in 2017-18.
The Youth Guarantee is based on successful experience in Austria and Finland that show that investing in school-to-work transitions for young people pays off. The Finnish Youth Guarantee helped to reduce unemployment amongst young people, with 83.5% successfully allocated a job, traineeship, apprenticeship or further education within three months of registering.
For most Member States, implementing the Youth Guarantee requires in-depth structural reforms of training, job-search and education systems to drastically improve the transition from school to work and the employability of young people. This cannot be delivered overnight.
The implementation of the Youth Guarantee has started in all EU countries and is already bringing results. All EU countries have presented comprehensive Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans, complying with the deadlines set by the European Council. The plans identify precisely the measures to be taken to implement the Youth Guarantee. They outline the timeframe for youth employment reforms and measures, the roles of public authorities and other organisations, and how it will be financed. Further information about implementation Youth Guarantee initiatives in your country you can find here.