The concept of “Youth Guarantee” (also called “Job Guarantee” in some countries) is where governments, local authorities and/or public employment services commit to offer young people the opportunities for re-employment, education or training within a certain amount of time of being made unemployed or leaving formal education.
Research made by Eurofound says that in December 2012, the youth unemployment rate in Europe was 23,4% (5,7 million young people), reaching 55% in some countries like Greece and Spain; while the figure for young people aged 15-24 who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs, term adopted officially in 2010) is 7,5 million.
The cost of youth unemployment is 153 billion Euros, which is the 1,2% of the whole EU GDP (EU 27). This cost does not take into consideration the consequences that this unemployment rate has on the individual, on the social environment she/he lives in and on the society in general, like the alienation of these young people from the society, the loss of human capital and other costs related to deviant behaviours they might assume while being NEETs.
The Youth Guarantee, approved by the European Council on 28th of February is a part of the Youth Employment Initiative, to which 6 billion Euros are assigned for the period between 2014-2020. The measure will particularly support NEETs in the Union regions with a youth unemployment rate in 2012 at above 25%, and generally all young people up to the age 25.
But how does a youth guarantee looks like? We can “ask” this question to some countries like Sweden, Denmark, Finland or Austria, where sorts of youth guarantee systems have already been applied.
As the main concept is to provide opportunities for NEETs to gain more skills and competences in order to make them enter or re-enter the labour market, Sweden and Finland have programmes which offer training or work after a certain period of being NEET; Denmark focuses on vocational training for young people up to 30 and Austria, which does not have this right-based approach to a youth guarantee system but lets special measures be implemented. Also in Austria, different training places and public employment services are available for young people, providing them with counselling, assessment of needs and confrontation with experts to supply tailored services.
As we can see from these examples, the governments will have a certain freedom while designing their own plans for the execution of the Youth Employment Initiative, and most of this implementation part will be done by local administrations, so it will be also up to us, young members of the civic society, to communicate with such authorities and claim for a right usage of this opportunity to fight against youth unemployment!
YEU GB Member