European Youth Guarantee, it’s lessons and future

The header of the final Negotiate conference

Ten years after the onset of the financial crisis, unemployment and job insecurity are still challenges that affect young people in all European countries. The NEGOTIATE project reveals that despite convergence of policies there is still significant divergence of outcomes. Bad luck in timing of labour market entry leaves scars on the young. During the final conference to take place on 4 and 5 December in Brussels we will discuss ‘Scarred youth – What can the EU do?’.

The European Youth Guarantee – lessons learned and future

The third session will discuss the European Youth Guarantee – Lessons learned and future. Irene Dingeldey, University of Bremen (Germany) will discuss how the EU could ensure continuity into youth unemployment policies in times of ongoing changing labour market.

Addressed in the NEGOTIATE policy brief on the ‘Coordination of European strategies to tackle early job insecurity and youth unemployment: Lessons from a comparative study (pdf)’, the situation of the young unemployed has become an increasing concern of national governments and the European Union (EU) after the financial crisis. Hence, in 2013 the Council launched the Recommendation on the Youth Guarantee (YG) and the Member States made a commitment to ensure that young people under 25 years “receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education”. NEGOTIATE has been researching the implementation of this guarantee as a policy strategy because it is innovative due to its clear objective and provides dedicated financial resources for youth employment policy through the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).

According to the researchers it is paramount for Member States to facilitate their national institutions to better support their young people systematically during their transition into the labour market. Especially the national capacity of the public employment services with regards to its financing and human resources is in need of strengthening by also offering a more qualitative support to youth in local employment offices. Hence, further (financial) support and guidance is required at national level, to implement measures such as one-stop shops or work experience placements. Social partners and other stakeholder need to be included in the design and monitoring of the youth employment measures. Additionally, Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems play an important role to bring together the demands of employers and the needs of young apprentices while safeguarding the quality of both work and education, as well as fair wages. Thus, efforts of member states to build such institutions are appreciated.

The EU should aim at facilitating the exchange of ideas on youth employment policy at Member State level and remove bureaucratic obstacles. As for the European Semester, it should monitor the progress made on national level through the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans (YGIP) and its country specific goal-setting on a more qualitative basis and enhancing models of good practice.