Policy coordination and the implementation of the Youth Guarantee (YG)

A picture from the second Negotiate national stakeholder meeting

The second Negotiate national stakeholder meeting took place on November 27th 2016 once again at the Representative Office of the ‘Land’ Bremen in Berlin. The meeting brought together social partners, Federal Associations of vocational training providers and welfare organisations, representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the regional government in Bremen (senator) as well as members of Bremen’s Representative Office.

After welcoming the stakeholders and a short introduction, Gabriele Zaremba gave a presentation about the establishment of the Youth Career Agency (YCA) in Bremen. YCAs seek to combine public employment services, educational institutions, youth welfare services and other relevant institutions to provide career guidance for young people as well as access or information to entitlements of benefits. YCAs are implemented in very different ways in the individual federal states and regions. The presentation addressed the challenges and coordination efforts of many actors in establishing such an agency. It was stressed that the successful implementation needs uniform criteria on what is considered as YCA as well as strong political initiative and support also from national level to secure its existence in the long-term.

Subsequent to the discussion on the YCA, Irene Dingeldey presented first preliminary Negotiate project results on policy coordination and the implementation of the Youth Guarantee (YG) in nine European countries. The presentation addressed challenges and illustrated different YG implementation strategies across countries. Common challenges included the varying standards and diverse realization of YG programs across regions as well as low sustainability of measures due to temporarily project funding. Furthermore, the presentation emphasized the distinct economic and institutional conditions countries are facing when implementing the YG.

The National Stakeholder Committee showed great interest in the presentations and provided important advice for further research activities. Lively debates developed during the meeting. The main issues of debate concerning YCAs were about the role of employers regarding the provision of training positions. Furthermore, it was discussed how the YCA could be more successful in approaching and counselling young people. With regard to different YG implementation strategies, the debate concentrated on whether dual vocational training is a solution to low youth unemployment rates. Subsequently, the connection between the tendering practice of some YG measures and low wages for project staff was discussed.

Words by Lisa Steinberg