Youth Guarantee

Youth Guarantee

The implementation of the Youth Guarantee is still lagging behind. More effort is needed to assess the implementation, particularly on the quality of offers that are made to young people. Together with National Youth Councils, the Youth Forum identified the main challenges, good practice and proposals for improving the implementation of the Youth Guarantee to remind policy-makers that youth organisations are ready to play their part in this.

The infographics below portray the main challenges identified by the Youth Councils, while you can find best practice examples and full country reports from the organisations below in the map. For more information about the Youth Forum's position on the Youth Guarantee, see its recently adopted a position paper on the main challenges of the Youth Guarantee implementation.

The Finnish Youth Council: “The Government of Finland has just announced plans to cut funding for the Youth Guarantee by 53 % in 2016 and by 96 % in 2017. In the last few years Finland has been one of the forerunners in developing the Youth Guarantee, but the massive cuts in funding might change this situation dramatically.”

Click for more >>

The Austrian Youth Council: “Since 2013, young people receive voluntary assistance of up to one year, where specifically trained youth coaches identify their strengths and capabilities, whereupon they draft an adequate development plan. The objective is a successful transfer to working life or continuing training. In 2014, more than 35,000 young people have benefited from this programme.”

Click for more >>

Best Practice: Croatia has developed regional offices to specifically focus on young people furthest from the labour market. Young people’s independence should be strengthened by services including measures on housing, education, individual development and finances. Counsellors are specifically trained to support the most vulnerable young people and counselling starts as early as possible.

Click for more >>

The Slovenian Youth Council: “The youth guarantee has definitely the potential to contribute to the overall social inclusion of young people. However, many measures are short sighted and can’t offer long-term solutions. The youth guarantee would be a perfect opportunity for the government to test different solutions and to identify all areas in need of structural changes and improvements. We need measures in the scheme designed to comply with long-term economic and employment strategy.” ”

Click for more >>

The Spanish Youth Council (CJE) is currently setting up an observatory for the youth guarantee implementation, collecting information on the development of the plan. A committee of experts will meet up periodically to assess the evolution of youth employment and the effectiveness of the youth guarantee. Furthermore, workshops will be organised, and a quarterly publication dedicated to the youth guarantee analysis will be launched. Interviewing experts, policy-makers and young people will give an overall picture of the advantages and disadvantages of the implemented measures.

Click for more >>

Best Practice from Flanders: A new cooperation agreement between the Flemish employment services and the Community Education Network of Schools (GO!) is a very positive step in the right direction. Amongst others, the employment services train teachers in providing job market information to youngsters. The Flemish Youth Council hopes that other school networks will follow in having such agreements with the employment services. This way, youngsters hopefully get better prepared for the job market and know their way to the employment services once they graduate.

Click for more >>

The borders portrayed in the map are in line with the Youth Councils’ areas, not national borders, such as in Belgium. The Spanish Youth Council, Consejo de la Juventud de Espana, represents young people across Spain, including in the Catalan Region.

Best practice from Austria: Production schools are projects targeting vulnerable youth. Experience from previous programmes has shown that many young people lack basic qualifications and social skills and are confronted with personal problems, which hinder them starting regular education or work. Between school and the labour market production schools provide a comprehensive low-threshold offers like professional orientation workshops, teaching through creativity and support of social workers. This practical approach targets young people between the age of 15 and 19 but is also open for young people up to 25 with difficulties finding a job.

Currently there are 33 production schools in Austria; in 2014 1268 participated successfully. One example is a production school in Vienna called spacelab (http://www.spacelab.cc/). With little binding character and individual mentoring young people can gain experience in gardening or in creative media workshops for example.

Click for more >>

The Belgian French speaking youth council asks for a map of NEET’s to improve identification and support for the ones furthest away from the labour market. The cooperation within the youth sector was strengthened for the youth guarantee’s measures not only for the youth but by including them.

Click for more >>

The Bulgarian Youth Council: “Although the youth guarantee makes references to other measures, programmes and documents introduced in the past few years, there is still need for the development of a comprehensive long-term strategy to tackle youth unemployment. We need more coordinated efforts as well as the development of cross-sectorial policies in the area. In the national report for the youth guarantee implementation, around 32 different programs and initiatives are listed.”

Click for more >>

The Catalonian Youth Council: “For an effective youth guarantee, it is necessary that the public administrations take more proactive measures to reach young people and to help them register. Youth organisations need to be closely involved in the youth guarantee design and implementation. ”

Click for more >>

The Spanish Youth Council: “We think that the youth guarantee has real potential to change the grave situation of young people in Spain if it is implemented respecting its spirit. At present, we could say that the Spanish authorities are doing the same things they have been doing the last decades, but in this case, under the tag of the ‘youth guarantee’. To the contrary, to work efficiently, the youth guarantee scheme needs integrated, structural and ambitious changes, shifting as well the mentality towards youth employment, turning it into a right accessible to any young person.”

Click for more >>

Best practice from Finland: Despite budget cuts, the Finnish authorities are establishing a network of one-stop-shops where young people have easy access to a wide range of services provided. One-stop-shops provide single point youth services that bring together public employment services, guidance, education as well as career services and have been identified as a priority in Finland.

Click for more >>

The Croatian Youth Council: “Although some of the vulnerable young people are covered by the youth guarantee measures, there are no quality interventions for the most vulnerable young people, like the long-term unemployed for example. It is therefore questionable whether and how much the youth guarantee contributes to the overall inclusion of young people. Most users of the youth guarantee have a university diploma and are therefore already more likely to get a job compared to their peers in more vulnerable situations.”

Click for more >>

Best practice: The Slovenian Youth Council together with other youth organisations and the support of the governmental office for Youth in Slovenia organised a national communication campaign to make young people aware of the youth guarantee scheme. Before the start of the campaign, a strong coalition of youth organisations, namely the Student Organisation, the Youth Network MaMa and the trade union youth was built.

Launched in October 2013, there were multiple activities such as press conferences, high-level meetings and other conferences. A website and a facebook page was set up to actively inform young people about the youth guarantee and latest news. For promotion reasons, a competition where the best works on the youth guarantee theme were awarded (photos, drawings, videos, poems etc.) and exhibited on the opening conference of the campaign.

Click for more >>

The Flemish Youth Council: “One of the big challenges is implementing the youth guarantee when in Belgium existing youth social security measures are being cut off for the most vulnerable youngsters. To illustrate, in Belgium, the labour market insertion allowances for people up to 21 years old now only applies to youngsters who have obtained a degree or certificate. We are very concerned with the exclusion of the young people most at risk of being unemployed from the social security system, as this way they were inscribing themselves at the unemployment office and receiving the needed guidance and help.”

Click for more >>

CYC: “We regret the fact that the Youth Guarantee programme in Cyprus only focuses on paid internships, there is no education or job offers and no specific career guidance. The amount and the quality of offers both seem to be insufficient and the internship offers do not always match the qualifications and competences of young people.”

Click for more >>

CNAJEP: “Counselling and guidance offered to young people via the youth guarantee should not only focus on employment. It should also take into account young people’s social needs and young people’s life plan to help them to mobilise their own resources to ease their participation and emancipation.”

Click for more >>

NYCI: “We are concerned and disappointed with the pace and scale of implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Ireland to date, we are of the view that current levels of youth unemployment would be lower if the youth guarantee was rolled out as promised. For example the implementation of the Youth Guarantee pilot in Ballymun led to a 29% reduction in numbers of young people on the live register compared to an 18.9% decrease nationally between December 2013 and December 2014.”

Click for more >>

CNJ: “We consider that the youth guarantee did not address the structural problems that are at the root of the youth unemployment crisis in our country. In fact, the youth employment policies that were implemented have contributed to maintaining a situation in which young people cycle in and out of employment, education or training without the adequate guarantees of long term success and emancipation. We believe that a new and more inclusive program should be built with a concrete focus on sustainable youth employment and emancipation and not just the short-term reduction of youth unemployment.”

Click for more >>

What is being done in Austria?

The Austrian Youth Council: “Since 2013, young people receive voluntary assistance of up to one year, where specifically trained youth coaches identify their strengths and capabilities, whereupon they draft an adequate development plan. The objective is a successful transfer to working life or continuing training. In 2014, more than 35,000 young people have benefited from this programme.”

What is the youth guarantee in Austria?

Some schemes implemented under the youth guarantee are:

  • Training guarantee (already in place since 2008): the right to an apprenticeship for every young person under 18 who has completed compulsory education. Those who do not succeed in a private company apprenticeship attend a supra-company training that is financed by the public employment services.
  • The “future of youth programme”: a wider-based training guarantee to open-up career perspectives for young adults aged 20 to 24. The Austrian Government guarantees unemployed young job-seekers offers of employment, targeted training or a subsidised job within six months.
  • Youth coaching schemes: young people are contacted at the end of compulsory education directly at schools or can address the youth coaching individually. Youth coaches provide free advice and support in matters of education, career or personal problems. The main target groups are pupils at risk of dropout and/or early school-leaving, young people up to the age of 19 who are no longer in education or young people until 25 with special educational needs or disabilities.
  • Production schools: Training courses that combine working in workshops, teaching though creativity and support by social workers, mainly targeting the most vulnerable youth between 15 and 19.

Unfortunately, civil society and youth organisation were not involved neither in the design nor the implementation of the youth guarantee.

What are the main challenges in Austria?

The quality of offers
Unfortunately the Austrian Youth Council does not have any information available on the quality of jobs offered by the public employment services. The supra-company training is generally a good tool but the salary is a third lower than in a regular apprenticeship, the drop out rates are still too high, transition in the labour market remains a huge problem and job prospects should be improved, too.

Reaching out to most vulnerable young people
The education system in Austria is highly selective: pupils are pre-selected at a very early stage, which largely defines their future career prospects. Youth with a migrant background are systematically discriminated against in education, particularly in upper secondary level and even more in the apprenticeship systems where they are extremely underrepresented.

What are the next steps?

In autumn 2015 a new law is expected that foresees mandatory education and training until the age of 18. It replaces the right to an apprenticeship with the obligation to either do an apprenticeship or continue school- or VET-based education after completing compulsory education until the young person reaches the age of 18.

In comparison to other European countries, Austria performs generally quite well on the social inclusion of young people (see below best practice). However, the situation can still be improved as especially preventive measures and special outreach strategies for NEETs need strengthening.

The focus of the new law therefore lies on preventing early-school leaving as well as reaching out to NEETs. In contrast to the youth guarantee, the Austrian youth council is closely involved and can influence the process from a youth perspective.

Let’s get inspired! A best practice from Austria:

Production schools are projects targeting vulnerable young people. Experience from previous programmes has shown that many young people lack basic qualifications and social skills and are confronted with personal problems, which hinder them to starting regular education or work. Between school and the labour market production schools provide comprehensive low-threshold offers like professional orientation workshops, teaching through creativity and support of social workers. This practical approach targets young people between 15 and 19 but is also open for young people up to 25 with difficulties finding a job. Currently there are 33 production schools in Austria; in 2014 1268 young people participated successfully. One example is a production school in Vienna called spacelab (http://www.spacelab.cc/). With little binding character and individual mentoring young people can gain experience in gardening or in creative media workshops for example.

General information

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: Austria did not qualify for receiving any funds, as the youth unemployment rate is below 25% in all Austrian regions

Link to the Austrian Implementation Plan:
http://www.sozialministerium.at/cms/site/attachments/7/2/0/CH2120/CMS1400134734651/implementierungsplan_jugendgarantie.pdf

For more information, please get in contact with Jonas Meixner from the National Youth Council in Austria: jonas.meixner@bjv.at

Print

What is being done in the French speaking community of Belgium?

The French-speaking Belgian Youth Council: “We should be aiming for a structural shift into youth employment policies with the Youth Guarantee, but it is not done and the youth are left out!”

What is the youth guarantee in Wallonia and Brussels?

Belgium has presented a youth guarantee implementation plan in 2013, which was updated last year. Four sub-plans at community/regional level (Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels and the German-speaking community) were then elaborated. Generally, different competences on national, regional and community levels make the set up rather complicated. Three public employment services are responsible, but a federation of all employment services called “synerjobs” coordinates the implementation plan.

Progress was made by improving partnerships with employers, for example subsidies are offered to companies that provide internships in Brussels. In addition, offering training mainly on language skills was improved. Tailored services for young people at the public employment services were developed. An online registration tool to better reach out to young people was also implemented but the budget for young people was cut down.

The French speaking Youth Council in Belgium has developed a network of youth associations to involve the young people in the implementation. The federal Minister of Employment met the Youth Councils and general contact has been established to the Ministers on the regional level.

What are the main challenges in Wallonia and Brussels?

The general environment
On the national level, some measures for youth inclusion disappeared. It worsened the situation of some young people, particularly the NEET’s. The youth guarantee in the French community missed the point of structurally rethinking youth employment policies.

The quality of offers
The French speaking Youth Council in Belgium does still not have all the information to conduct a sound evaluation. Generally, they are quite sceptical with the internship programs in Brussels, which do not offer quality or a guarantee of hiring prospects. The employment aspect of the youth guarantee was left out. Another concern is the lack of staff at the public employment services that was improved but remains a problem. This directly affects the most vulnerable or the so-called NEET’s who are not registered at the public employment services.

What are the next steps? What should be improved?

On involvement of youth organisation / cooperation between stakeholders
The consultation with the youth sector was quite low, particularly in Brussels. In Wallonia, to counterbalance the federal measures, the youth sector got involved to reach especially the so-called NEET’s. The cooperation with the education sector was reinforced in order to avoid early school leavers being left out of the employment measures.

Better strategy to reach out to young people
The new federal controlling system of unemployed people does not encourage young people to register at the public employment services and they are therefore kept out of the programmes. In addition, some public services are overwhelmed; applicants are waiting at least four months to get an appointment.

Let’s get inspired! A best practice from the French speaking youth council in Belgium

The French speaking youth council in Belgium asked for a map of NEET’s to improve identification and supports for the ones furthest away from the labour market. The cooperation within the youth sector was strengthened for the youth guarantee’s measures not only for the youth but by including them.

General information

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: Belgium has received €39.6 million and €120 millions for the eligible regions with youth unemployment above 25% Brussels, Liège and the Hainaut.

Youth unemployment rate in Wallonia in June 2015: 32,1%
Youth unemployment rate in Brussels in June 2015: 36.7%

Link to the Implementation Plan:
http://www.conseildelajeunesse.be/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Belgian-Youth-Guarantee-Implementation-Plan.pdf

For more information, please contact Aurélie Vanossel from the French speaking National Youth Council in Belgium: aurelie.vanossel@cfwb.be

Print

What is being done in Bulgaria?

The Bulgarian Youth Council: “Although the youth guarantee makes references to other measures, programmes and documents introduced in the past few years, there is still a need for the development of a comprehensive long-term strategy to tackle youth unemployment. We need more coordinated efforts as well as the development of cross-sectorial policies in the area. In the national report for the youth guarantee implementation, around 32 different programs and initiatives are listed.

What is the youth guarantee in Bulgaria?

In Bulgaria 35 specific measures were introduced in the youth guarantee implementation plan. On the one hand, there are measures for early intervention and activation such as the development of distance education forms, individual and group mentoring for early school leavers or young people at risk of early school leaving. On the other, the plan includes measures for the integration into the labour market such as apprenticeships, subsidised employment, and literacy training as well as training for professional qualifications. However, most of the measures are still not implemented.

What are the main challenges in Bulgaria?

A strategy to reach out to young people
Most of the measures are still not implemented and in general, little has been done regarding the inclusion of disadvantaged young people. Most of the young people in Bulgaria are still not aware of the youth guarantee scheme or do not understand it. At national level, there was no effective communication campaign.

Cooperation between stakeholders and the involvement of youth organisation
One of the biggest challenges is the lack of collaboration in the youth guarantee implementation and the highly institutional approach concerning youth issues without involving youth organisations. This also creates a general lack of information on the implementation process for the Bulgarian Youth Council.

What are the next steps? What should be improved?

There is a need for a youth-friendly communication strategy and a more direct approach to young people via mediators or street-based youth work. Particularly the local authorities are not sufficiently involved; more efforts are needed from their sides. Furthermore, the access to funding for youth organisations could help to promote and implement activities related to the Youth Guarantee.

Let’s get inspired! A best practice from Bulgaria

In 2014, the Ministry of Economy launched a project “Technostart” that aims to encourage young entrepreneurs – students, PhD and graduates in the earliest stage of the entrepreneurial cycle. Submitting their business idea in the fields of IT, research and development and manufacturing, they can win a grant for their start-up company.

General Information

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: € 55 million was allocated to the implementation of the youth guarantee in Bulgaria.
Youth unemployment rate in March 2015: 23.8%, 45,000 persons
Link to the Bulgarian Implementation Plan:
http://www.mlsp.government.bg/ckfinder/userfiles/files/baneri/evropeiska%20garanciq%20za%20mladejta/BG_NPIGM_Eng_final.doc

For more information, please contact Mircho Hristov from the Bulgarian National Youth Council: mircho1@yahoo.com

Print

What is being done in Catalonia?

The Catalan Youth Council: “For an effective youth guarantee, it is necessary that the public administrations take more proactive measures to reach young people and to help them register. Youth organisations need to be closely involved in the youth guarantee design and implementation. ”

What is the youth guarantee in Catalonia?

The Catalan government started to implement the youth guarantee in the framework of the Spanish government’s policy strategy 2014 – 2020. It includes a better identification of NEETs, funding allocation for the next three years and evaluation mechanisms for the youth guarantee.
During the first three years until 2016, the youth guarantee will be focused on young people with unfinished training, without working experience and over 20 years old. Measures that have just been launched include training schemes in the field of ICT and foreign languages, a programme on youth apprenticeships, targeted at small and medium enterprises as well as second-hand opportunity programmes for early-school leavers.

Special attention and specific measures are foreseen for young people with migrant background and young people from mono-parental young families, although there is no information available about the concrete measures to target these beneficiaries.

Finally, other measures already implemented were included and re-edited under the umbrella of the youth guarantee:

  • Inserjoves – a programme tailored for unemployed young people under the age of 30, aimed both at training and employment opportunities.
  • Joves per la ocupació – a programme to enhance the employability of young people under the age of 25 through training and orientation.
  • Fem ocupació per joves – a program that combines training and temporary training at enterprises, in order to facilitate the acquisition of professional experience and training, guidance, mentoring and individual mentoring in parallel.

These three main programmes existing until now do neither offer a tailored attention nor a vision for a job tailored to the young people’s profile as the youth guarantee scheme foresees. The Catalonian Youth Council does not consider them as programmes that respond to the unique circumstances of young people, nor do they fully embody the European youth guarantee scheme.

What are the main challenges in Catalonia?

The general economic environment
Youth organisations and trade unions in both Catalonia and Spain have denounced that labour reforms implemented by the Spanish government have triggered structural reforms that have facilitated the reduction of wage labour costs and the increase of temporary contracts in particular. In addition, the Catalan government has to pre-finance considerable amounts, while the funding already allocated but not paid yet counts as regional public deficit.

A strategy to reach out to young people
The registration system creates problems and makes it complicated for young people to register. The unified computer database by the Spanish government did not work properly; a separate Catalan system was created to register young people online. After registering online, the young person is invited to come to the employment office. In four months, the employment office will get in touch and inform the young person about the programme to the young person. An individual questionnaire helps to set up a tailored progress with different measures and programmes available.

Comments by the Catalan Youth Council on the progress of the implementation

The implementation process is still at the very beginning. It is not clear to what extent the youth guarantee offers will be of good quality and how the complicated registration process is being simplified.

However, the cooperation approach taken by the government to include different departments, universities, local administrations, social entities and enterprises is quite good. Still, the Catalan Youth Council was hardly involved in the implementation process. They could participate in the advisory bodies to consult the government but did not have an effective impact on the initial design of the youth guarantee.

Lets get inspired! A best practice from Catalonia

The Catalan public employment services have hired 72 youth-specific staff under the age of 30, exclusively in charge of promoting young people’s registration and counselling. These ‘promoters networks’ (xarxa d’impulsors) will be present in municipalities and counties in Catalonia and facilitate guidance and counselling, in close cooperation with the Catalan employment services.

General information

Registration website : http://garantiajuvenil.gencat.cat

Media campaign for the youth guarantee , video example :
www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7lMFiKhthM

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: From the €881 million that Spain has received; €75.9 million has been allocated to Catalonia.

For more information, please get in contact with Cristina Rovira Izquierdo from the Catalan Youth Council: internacional@cnjc.cat

Print

What is being done in Spain?

The Spanish Youth Council: “We think that the youth guarantee has a real potential to change the grave situation of young people in Spain if it is implemented respecting its spirit. At present, we could say that the Spanish authorities are doing the same things they have been doing the last decades, but in this case, under the tag of the youth guarantee. To the contrary, to work efficiently, the youth guarantee scheme needs integrated, structural and ambitious changes, shifting as well the mentality towards youth employment, turning it into a right accessible to any young person.”

What is the youth guarantee in Spain?

The main action carried out to implement the youth guarantee in the last two years was the establishment of a website to facilitate the registration of young people into the youth guarantee’s system. However, it has not been accompanied by a powerful public campaign to promote this process of inscription – the results are therefore disappointing.
Equally, the actions undertaken by the regional governments have been very limited, and they have only started to approve some youth employment plans or actions. The concrete actions are mainly to subsidise the hiring of young people through different ways (reductions of taxes and social contributions) and to promote different models of hiring (mainly apprenticeship and traineeship contracts).

What are the main challenges in Spain?

The general economic environment
Some measures of the youth guarantee contradict the general economic situation. Official documents speak of strengthening public employment services and investing in emerging economic sectors but to the contrary these last years the budgets for employment services and the investment in research and development were cut. The youth guarantee can only work if accompanied by investment in quality job creation.

A strategy to reach out to young people
Most young people are not aware of the youth guarantee and the system to register is very complicated. A very limited number of young people are registered: 60,094 out of more than 800,000 potential beneficiaries. A sound campaign using different means like social media, street actions or TV shows would be necessary. In addition, most actions target young people in formal education (university or vocational training); there are no specific measures for those furthest away from the labour market. Youth organisations and social services should receive funding to support young people through the registration process. They are the organisations that know best how to reach young people in sports facilities, concerts, non-formal organisations and social spaces.

Missing evaluation and monitoring mechanisms
As signalled by the European Court of Auditors, there is neither a system of monitoring nor a plan of evaluation for the youth guarantee implementation. We need a participative and transparent system of monitoring and evaluation, including information from macro (the evolution of the economic system, labor market and education system), meso (the actual process of implementation of the youth guarantee scheme) and micro levels (how people are being benefited from the scheme, their own stories). For each level, different specialized organisations should be made responsible, being for example the youth organisations well fitted for doing the micro level monitoring. In conclusion, we need a strategic plan for the evaluation of the youth guarantee scheme in Spain.

Remarks by the Spanish Youth Council

The Spanish Youth Council was involved in the follow-up commission of the Spanish youth guarantee implementation plan but only as an observer and the commission has only met once. As they were not involved in the design and the evaluation, the main problem is the lack of information on the actual implementation and the quality of jobs offered to young people. The Spanish Youth Council therefore is setting up a youth observatory on the youth guarantee implementation (see best practice).
Generally, there is no one-size-fits-all solution; the youth guarantee cannot work in Spain the same as in other countries. Therefore, we have to find innovative solutions and new ways to implement the youth guarantee, involving all stakeholders.

Lets get inspired! A best practice from Spain

The Spanish Youth Council is currently setting up an observatory for the youth guarantee implementation, collecting information on the development of the plan. A committee of experts will meet up periodically to assess the evolution of youth employment and the effectiveness of the youth guarantee. Furthermore, workshops will be organised, and a quarterly publication dedicated to the youth guarantee analysis will be launched. Interviewing experts, policy-makers and young people will give an overall picture of the advantages and disadvantages of the implemented measures.

General information

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: € 943.4 million was allocated for the youth guarantee implementation in Spain.

Youth unemployment rate in March 2015: 50.1%, 780,000 people
Link to the Implementation Plan:
http://www.empleo.gob.es/es/estrategia-empleo-joven/destacados/plannacionalgarantiajuvenil_en.pdf

For more information, please contact Miriam Morales from the Spanish Youth Council mmorales@cje.org

Print

What is being done in Finland?

The Finnish Youth Council: “The Government of Finland has just announced plans to cut funding for the Youth Guarantee by 53% in 2016 and by 96% in 2017. During the last few years Finland has been one of the forerunners in developing the Youth Guarantee, but the massive cuts in funding might change this situation dramatically.”

What is the youth guarantee in Finland?

The Youth Guarantee has brought more resources to many important services such as outreach youth work, workshops, as well as guidance and counselling services. There is a wide variety of measures for young people with different needs; not just apprenticeships or traineeships but also different education opportunities, youth work, special counselling and employment subsidies. However, after the implementation of budget cuts next year there will be no more employment subsidies for young people.

Outreach youth work and workshops run by municipalities reach out to the young people furthest from the labour market. According to feedback from young people, these services are well tailored to young people’s needs. These services will continue after the cuts, but with a smaller budget.

One major new project is to establish a network of one-stop-shop service centres for young people in many cities.

What are the main challenges in Finland?

The general economic environment

Major funding cuts from the Youth Guarantee, the education system and the public employment services compromise the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, and as long as the economic situation remains grim, few jobs are available for young people in the labour market.

Remarks from the Finnish Youth Council

The Youth Guarantee has definitely not met all the expectations that were laid on it in the beginning. Youth unemployment remains at a high level. However, it has increased cooperation between authorities, brought new resources to prevention of social exclusion and made new services available for young people.

The Finnish Youth Co-operation Allianssi has been an active proponent of the Youth Guarantee. Allianssi has also been a member of key working groups to monitor the implementation process and had an active and fruitful dialogue with public administration.

Before the parliamentary elections in 2015, the majority of all current MPs in each parliamentary party were of the opinion that the Youth Guarantee should be continued and developed further. However, after the elections the funding was cut from 60 M€ a year to 3,5 M€ a year.

Let’s get inspired! A best practice from Finland:

Despite budget cuts, the Finnish authorities are establishing a network of one-stop-shops where young people have easy access to a wide range of services provided. One-stop-shops provide single point youth services that bring together public employment services, guidance, education as well as career services and have been identified as a priority in Finland.

General information

Position paper on the youth guarantee: www.alli.fi/youthguaranteemodel

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: Finland did not qualify for receiving any funds, as the youth unemployment rate is below 25% in all Finnish regions.

Youth unemployment in March 2015: 22,5%

For more information, please contact Hanna Sauli from the Finnish Youth Co-operation Allianssi Hanna.Sauli@alli.fi

Print

What is being done in Croatia?

The Croatian Youth Council: “Although some of the vulnerable young people are covered by the youth guarantee measures, there are no quality interventions for the most vulnerable young people, like the long-term unemployed for example. It is therefore questionable whether and how much the youth guarantee contributes to the overall inclusion of young people. Most users of the youth guarantee have a university diploma and are therefore already more likely to get a job compared to their peers in more vulnerable situations.”

What is the youth guarantee in Croatia?

Croatia mentions 37 different measures in the implementation plan, of which some already were and some are being implemented. Unfortunately, most measures were already part of government strategies and planned before. They were then re-labelled as youth guarantee measures.

One of the truly new measures is a NEET tracking system, where early school leavers will be systematically identified and analysed to support the registration process at the public employment services.

Most young people get offered an ‘occupational training without starting employment’. It usually lasts a year; young people get a monthly reimbursement, while the government pays their social welfare contributions. Unfortunately, this measure is widely used by government institutions or other public institutions as a way to circumvent the self-imposed new employment ban. Most young people do not get a job at the end of the training. Also, other active labour market measures are not being used sufficiently to make a difference for young people.

The Croatian Youth Network has been actively involved in the process of creating the youth guarantee implementation plan but not in the implementation itself. Currently, they are members of a body that is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the youth guarantee. Unfortunately, in the current situation it is quite hard to change the implementation plan and adapt it to the real needs of young people.

What are the main challenges in Croatia?

The general economic environment
The youth guarantee doesn’t contribute significantly to creating new jobs, which is the main problem in Croatia. The Youth Council hoped that additional European funds would contribute to more a comprehensive approach, especially including also reforms on vocational education. This process has unfortunately not started yet.

The quality of offers
Most offers are damage control instead of providing good quality employment to young people. The ‘occupational training without starting employment” slowly becomes the only way for young people to enter the labour market.
This is even worse as its low quality offers do not allow young people to live an autonomous life. Only 47.4% of young people enter quality employment within 6 months after the training.

Remarks by the Croatian Youth Council

One of the main problems with the youth guarantee in Croatia is its outreach out to the most vulnerable young people. The development of a partnerships approach with schools, universities, grass-roots organisations, youth organisations and social services would be crucial to increase the level of registrations at the public employment services. Also an online registration tool would help in this direction.

In addition, career guidance needs to be much more often and tailor-made, particularly for the most vulnerable young people individual approaches need to be developed.

Finally, the involvement of the National Youth Council would be crucial, not only to better reach out to young people. Two measures in the youth guarantee implementation plan even target the youth sector. Nevertheless, the Youth Council has not benefitted from the youth guarantee funding, which would be essential for them.

Let’s get inspired! A best practice from Croatia

Croatia has developed regional offices to specifically focus on young people furthest from the labour market. Young people’s independence should be strengthened by services including measures on housing, education, individual development and finances. Counsellors are specifically trained to support the most vulnerable young people and counselling starts as early as possible.

General information

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: € 66 million was allocated to the implementation of the youth guarantee in Croatia.

Youth unemployment rate in March 2015: 45.5%, 80,000 people
Policy brief on Croatia:
www.mmh.hr/files/ckfinder/files/Policy%20brief%20on%20Youth%20Guarantee_MMH.pdf

Link to the Implementation Plan:
http://www.mrms.hr/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/implementation-plan-yg.pdf

Further information:
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsee/2014/07/29/the-beginning-of-the-end-or-the-end-of-the-beginning-a-framework-for-understanding-youth-unemployment-in-croatia/

For more information, please contact Marin Zivkovic from MMH, the Croatian Youth Council: marin@mmh.hr

Print

What is being done in Slovenia?

The Slovenian Youth Council: “The youth guarantee has definitely the potential to contribute to the overall social inclusion of young people. However, many measures are short sighted and can’t offer long-term solutions. The youth guarantee would be a perfect opportunity for the government to test different solutions and to identify all areas in need of structural changes and improvements. We need measures in the scheme designed to comply with long-term economic and employment strategy.” ”

What is the youth guarantee in Slovenia?

The implementation plan was adopted in January 2014 and consists of 35 different measures. In Slovenia the youth guarantee is in place for all young people up to the age of 29.
Some measures were already in place before like subsidies for self-employment or subsidies for employers for employing young people. Measures such as job training, apprenticeships and mentorship schemes for young people are some of the new measures. Also counselling to young job seekers at the public employment service is one specific measure.

There are four different pillars of measures:

  • Preventive measures such as scholarships and practical training during education
  • Measures immediately after registration of unemployment such as preparation of plans for active labour market measures and counselling
  • Measures until up to three months of unemployment such as mentorships and entrepreneurial consultation
  • Measures after four months of unemployment such as co-financing internships and further inclusion of active employment policies measures.

The Slovenian Youth Council was involved in the process to improve the measures together with the national students organisation and the trade union youth. As a member of the working group, the National Youth Council could actively monitor the implementation of the programmes and its efficiency as well as propose improvements for the next financial period.

What are the main challenges in Slovenia?

The cooperation within stakeholders and involvement of youth organisations
Although the government has engaged with youth organisations, the Slovenian Youth Council has noted a lack of cooperation between various ministries, which were supposed to develop a partnership scheme to achieve synergies in education, training and economic development. Its aim was particularly to set up a system for registration and recognition of non-formal experience and on measures for promotion of entrepreneurship among youth.

The quality of offers
Not all offers are of good quality and not all are tailored to the needs of young people that should receive long-term employment. A survey by the trade union youth identified the experiences of young people with the current measures. Young people prefer fewer measures but enhanced in quality, that lead to high-quality and long-term employment. The mentorships for young people and the subsidies for employers when hiring young people on long-term contracts were identified as good measures under the youth guarantee scheme.

Remarks by the Slovenian Youth Council

The Slovenian Youth Council strongly advocated the need for a long-term strategy to tackle youth unemployment, which consists of more than only one new measure and a variety of already existing measures.

To strengthen the youth guarantee implementation it is vital to re-open recruitment in the public sector. Furthermore, more support is needed for existing projects from NGOs on social entrepreneurships and cooperatives to benefit from the youth guarantee measures.

Let’s get inspired! A best practice from Slovenia

The Slovenian Youth Council together with other youth organisations and the support of the governmental office for Youth in Slovenia organised a national communication campaign to make young people aware of the scheme. Before the start of the campaign, a strong coalition of youth organisations, namely the Student Organisation, the Youth Network MaMa and the trade union youth was built.
Launched in October 2013, there were multiple activities such as press conferences, high-level meetings and other conferences. A website and a facebook page were set up to actively inform young people about the youth guarantee and latest news. For promotional reasons, a competition where the best works on the youth guarantee theme were awarded (photos, drawings, videos, poems etc.) and exhibited on the opening conference of the campaign.

General information

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: €9 million was allocated to the implementation of the youth guarantee in Prekmurje, the East part of Slovenia.

Youth unemployment rate (up to the age of 25) in March 2015: 18%, 13,000 people

Link to the Implementation Plan:
http://ec.europa.eu/social/contentAdmin/BlobServlet?docId=13900&langId=en

For more information, please contact Manja Zorko from the National Youth Council MSS aktiven@mss.si

Print

What is being done in the Dutch speaking community of Belgium?

The Flemish Youth Council: “One of the big challenge is implementing the youth guarantee when in Belgium existing youth social security measures are been cut off for the most vulnerable youngsters. To illustrate, in Belgium, the labour market insertion allowances for people up to 21 years old now only applies to youngsters who have obtained a degree or certificate. We are very concerned with the exclusion of the young people most at risk of being unemployed from the social security system, as this way they were inscribing themselves at the unemployment office and receiving the needed guidance and help.”

What is the youth guarantee in Flanders and Brussels?

Belgium has presented a youth guarantee implementation plan in 2013, which has been updated last year. Following this, 4 sub-plans (Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels and the German-speaking community) have been elaborated at community/regional level. Generally different competences on federal, community and regional level make the set up rather complicated. Three public employment services are responsible, but a federation of all employment services called “synerjobs” coordinates the implementation plan.

The Flemish public employment services (VDAB) has implemented the youth guarantee in Flanders, offering every person below 25 a job or personal guidance within four months of registration at their services. In contrast to before, reaction time was shortened to four months and it applies to all young people, not only the low educated ones.

The Flemish public employment services offers training and guidance to young people. Interesting in the case of Flanders is that youth organisations are carrying out part of the work in ‘finding, minding and binding’ vulnerable youngsters in order for them to find work. Although, a considerable amount of measures are taken, they are not enough to reach all the youngsters in need. Furthermore, the jobs and personal guidance offered do not lead enough to long-term labour market prospects.

What are the main challenges in Flanders and Brussels?

A strategy to reach out to young people
Young people are often not aware of the youth guarantee or about the importance of registering at the public employment services, which is very important, as only this way they will get a youth guarantee offer. To improve this, the Flemish government should further focus on working closely with the educational institutions in order to prevent young people leaving the education system without the necessary information.
Once registered, young people do not always receive enough quality career guidance and counselling as the employment service does not have sufficient staff to carry out tailored career guidance and counselling. The Flemish government should invest in hiring more people at the public employment services and certainly not cut the number of employees.

The general economic environment
Many young people who do find a job often work in temporary contracts, which can lead to unemployment after their contract finishes. This also is the case for the internships and jobs offered under the youth guarantee framework. Some people go from one internship or temporary job to another one. In addition, conditions for receiving integration benefits have changed, which is particularly a problem for the registration of NEETs in Belgium. The labour market insertion allowances for people up to 21 years old now only applies to youngsters who have obtained a degree or certificate. The Flemish Youth Council believes that the government has taken away an important incentive for early school leavers to register at the Flemish employment services. Finally, the government itself is cutting personal budget and hiring less people, while long-term investment and quality job creation would be crucial for an efficient youth guarantee to work.

Remarks by the Flemish Youth Council

Most offers made to young people are internships, apprenticeships and short-term jobs. The Flemish Youth Council therefore would like more information on whether young people are able to find long-term jobs after such short-term work experience. A study on this matter would therefore be very much wanted both in Belgium as well as on the European level.

Let’s get inspired! A best practice from Flanders

The new cooperation agreement between public employment services and the Community Education Network of Schools (GO!) is very positive. Amongst others, the public employment services will train teachers in providing job market information to youngsters. The Flemish Youth Council hopes that other school networks will follow in having such agreements with the public employment services. This way, youngsters hopefully get better prepared for the job market and know their way to the public employment services once they graduate.

General information

Link to the Belgian and Flemish Implementation Plan:
http://www.vdab.be/synerjob/docs/Belgian%20Youth%20Guarantee%20Implementation%20Plan.pdf

Youth Employment Initiative Fund allocation: The Flemish region doesn’t receive money from the YEI, the Flemish community does.
Youth unemployment rate in March 2015: in March, 18,4% of the job seekers inscribed at the public employment services is under 25 years old.

For more information, please contact Alice Kooij Martinez from the Flemish Youth Council: alice.kooij@ambrassade.be

Print

What is being done in Cyprus?

CYC: “We regret the fact that the Youth Guarantee programme in Cyprus only focuses on paid internships, there is no education or job offers and no specific career guidance. The amount and the quality of offers both seem to be insufficient and the internship offers do not always match the qualifications and competences of young people.”

What is the Youth Guarantee in Cyprus?

In 2013, the National Human Resources Authority (HRDA) introduced a program to Tackle Youth Unemployment, which, in 2014, included the Youth Guarantee. The aim of the programme is to target young people aged 15-29 facing multiple discrimination to access the labour market and exposed to long unemployment spells. However, in Cyprus, people mostly associate the youth guarantee with paid internships. The government is making substantial efforts to implement the Youth Guarantee, but the policy measures are not comprehensive enough to cover all NEETs in Cyprus.

The National Action Plan has a total budget of €47,2 mln financed mostly from the European Social Fund (€29,2), the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) (€11,6 mln) but also from the ERDF (€3,1) and national funds (€3,3). It encompasses a Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan (YGIP) to which funds of €37,6 mln have been allocated. The YGIP includes measures for an early intervention in the form of a Youth Guarantee (YG) to prevent school leavers and newly unemployed individuals in the younger cohort (15-24) from falling into long-term unemployment and inactivity traps. The YGIP was concluded in December 2013 and was submitted thereafter to the European Commission.

What are the main challenges?

  • The capacity of public employment services:

    The biggest challenge for the delivery of the youth guarantee in Cyprus remains the capacity of the public employment services to provide youth guarantee-related services to all NEETs.

  • The Quality of offers under the youth guarantee:

    Some companies are abusing the programme and hiring interns to replace real job opportunities. Most of the companies do not give young people the opportunity to learn and to get useful work experience during their internship. The quality of an internship also depends on the probability of getting a permanent job offer at the end of the internship, which does not happen a lot since many young people are placed in the Government sector. The program is also not very well communicated to young people and some of them have complained about the low salary they receive.

  • The need for better evaluation and involvement of young people:

    The Government should learn lessons from the evaluation of the programme and take into account the voice of young people during this evaluation. This could surely make the Youth Guarantee Programme more effective and attractive for young people.

Remarks by the Cyprus Youth Council:

The Government invited CYC, together with Youth Organisations, Trade Unions - Youth Department, Universities and Government Departments related to Youth issues to a 3 days consultative meeting on the design of the Youth Guarantee Program. Following this meeting, CYC sent feedbacks based on Structured Dialogue Recommendations of the first Trio Presidency on the topic of Youth Employment, as well as CYC Policy Paper on how to tackle youth unemployment.

However, the Government did not share the Final Action Plan and did not give CYC the opportunity to discuss it. CYC did not even receive any notification to inform them about the launch of the Program. Therefore, they were quite surprised to be invited by the Parliament of Cyprus in November 2014 to the committee of Labour and Social Insurance to evaluate the Program. The implementation of the Youth Guarantee Programme had indeed begun under the supervision of Human Resources Authority (HRDA) and all the organisations consulted in the design of the youth guarantee were very disappointed to receive no information about the final Action Plan.

During the implementation process, CYC was sharing the calls for the paid internship program via the website, social media etc. The next step for CYC is now to update our policy paper and consult with policy makers.

General Information:

Link to the website of the National Human Resources Authority (HRDA) for calls: www.hrdauth.org.cy
Presidency Unit for Administrative Reform (2015). Cyprus National Reform Programme 2015. Nicosia: Presidency: http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/csr2015/nrp2015_cyprus_en.pdf
European Commission (2015). Commission Staff Working Document. Country Report Cyprus 2015: http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/csr2015/cr2015_cyprus_en.pdf
Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development (2014). Partnership Agreement 2014-2020 (Greek only): http://www.structuralfunds.org.cy/Partnership-Agreement
Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development (2014). Operational Programme “Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion” 2014-20. Nicosia: Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development: http://www.structuralfunds.org.cy/Employment-Human-Resources-and-Social%20Cohesion
Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development (2015) National Lifelong Learning Strategy 2014-2020. Nicosia. Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development: http://www.dgepcd.gov.cy/dgepcd/dgepcd.nsf/499A1CB95981643FC2257C7D00486172/$file/National%20Lifelong%20Learning%20Strategy%20in%20Greek.pdf

For more information please contact Nicolas Christofi from the National Youth Council of Cyprus at info@cyc.org.cy

Print

WHAT IS BEING DONE IN FRANCE?

CNAJEP: “Counselling and guidance offered to young people via the youth guarantee should not only focus on employment. It should also take into account young people’s social needs and young people’s life plan to help them to mobilise their own resources to ease their participation and emancipation.”

What is the Youth Guarantee in France?

The Youth Guarantee is one of the measures of the French plan “Priority Youth”, adopted in 2013. This guarantee is an allowance (+/- 450 euros) received by young people (between 18 and 26) who take part, in the framework of a contract, in an intensive course to have access to a job or training. Ten pilot projects started in 2013 and were extended to 75 in 2015. In France, 50 000 young people benefited from the youth guarantee in 2015 but the number of NEETs was evaluated around 1,9 million. The objective is to reach 100 000 beneficiaries by 2017.

Link to the presentation of the Youth Guarantee by the French Government: http://www.gouvernement.fr/action/la-garantie-jeunes

What are the main challenges?

The youth guarantee could be a potential first step towards fulfilling the right of young people to education and lifelong learning. Unfortunately, for the moment, the youth guarantee is only an additional measure to support young people in a ‘contractualised’ form to access trainings or the labour market. It does not create the necessary conditions of a real emancipation process, for the individual and the society.

While young people are the first victims of the economic and social crisis with 23 % of the young people between 18 and 25 years living under the poverty line and a unemployment rate as high as 24%, the youth guarantee cannot ensure the social inclusion and participation of all young people. There is still a high risk of young people’s social situation deteriorating.

Recommendations of the French Youth Council:

Include young people in the implementation and the evaluation process:
Despite the mention of the necessary participation of young people in policy-making impacting them, both in the implementation plan of the French Youth Guarantee and the National Plan for Youth, there is still no concrete translation of these recommendations. We ask our national government not only to listen to young people but also to allow them to contribute, in a timely and active way, to the elaboration, the implementation and the evaluation of public policies. As Member of the French Steering Committee on the Youth Guarantee, CNAJEP also regrets the lack of information related to the implementation timeline and the evaluation of its impact.

Make the youth guarantee a universal right:
The youth guarantee already ensures equal treatment for all potential beneficiaries in that it is not conditional on their situation in terms of previous education, family background etc. The Youth Guarantee does not therefore, in theory, discriminate against certain groups of youth. However, the generalisation of the right to the youth guarantee for all young people is not a reality. The Youth Guarantee does not reach some young people in situations of vulnerability. Ensuring that the Youth Guarantee is a universal right in practice would also ensure equal treatment for young people on the whole territory, with no exception. Too many disparities exist in terms of measures to support young people, both regarding the content of the contracts and the eligibility criteria – the Youth Guarantee must fill these gaps.

Improve the reach out of the youth guarantee to the most vulnerable young people:
The objective of reaching 100 000 beneficiaries by the end of 2016 was set with no precise diagnosis of young people’s needs. We still fear an arbitrary selection of eligible young people. The government will have to ensure that this measure benefits the most fragile young people (homeless, far from the labour market, in family breakdown, in situations of addiction, under judicial protection….) and the young people who have lost trust in the institutions and in the guidance services that can be offered to them.

Avoid the stigmatisation of young people:
The youth guarantee highlights the emergence of a new category of young people that are called NEETS (young people who are not in employment, education or training). We welcome the fact that the European and the national authorities are aware of the deteriorating situation of many young people but we believe that we have to be vigilant not to stigmatise young people in this situation. One of the keys to improving the place of youth in society is precisely to consider them first as resources (and not as problems).

Let’s get inspired! A Best practice from France?

The implementation of the French youth guarantee leans on strong partnerships and dialogue between local associations, public authorities, companies and ‘missions locales’ (the public entities in charge of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee locally). The coordination of the different actors, in addition to the resource allocation (+/- 450 euros) and the general guidance provided to young people via the ‘missions locales’, are positively contributing to a comprehensive approach to the Youth Guarantee to ensure social inclusion of young people.

To go further into this direction, and to ensure a comprehensive coverage of young people’s needs, the CNAJEP is also asking for more services and benefits to be provided directly under the framework of the youth guarantee (more generalised housing supports, fiscal advantages, access to health…) so that the youth guarantee can provide young people with all the resources they need to become actors of their own life.

General Information:

Link to the report of CNAJEP and its partners on the 3 last years of implementation of youth policies in France (chapter 1 on Youth guarantee): http://www.cnajep.asso.fr/files/secteur/BigBang-RapportAlternatif_2015.pdf

For more information please contact Alexandra Thieyre from CNAJEP: alexandra.thieyre@cnajep.asso.fr

Print

WHAT IS BEING DONE IN IRELAND?

NYCI: “We are concerned and disappointed with the pace and scale of implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Ireland to date, we are of the view that current levels of youth unemployment would be lower if the youth guarantee was rolled out as promised. For example the implementation of the Youth Guarantee pilot in Ballymun led to a 29% reduction in numbers of young people on the live register compared to an 18.9% decrease nationally between December 2013 and December 2014.”

What is the Youth Guarantee in Ireland?

In Ireland, the Guarantee is formulated as follows:

  • Young people under the age of 18 years, who have left the school system without completing secondary education, and who have failed to find employment, will be provided with a quality ‘second-chance’ educational /training pathways outside the school system such as Youthreach or be supported inre-entering the school system
  • Young people aged 18-24 years who become unemployed (whether on loss of a job or while seeking a first employment) and register with the benefits/
    employment service, and who subsequently remain unemployed for four months, will be provided with assistance to secure work or alternatively with a quality offer of training, education or work experience

Full list of education, training and work experience can be found on Ireland Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan:
https://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/Youth-Guarantee-Implementation-Plan.pdf

Some positive points can be highlighted:

  • The Youth Guarantee not only focuses on those who are already unemployed but also through measures designed to support school completion prevents unemployment.
  • The Youth Guarantee plan provides a more coherent policy framework to address youth unemployment, such as recognising the role of outreach, especially of those furthest from the Labour market, engaging with jobseekers within four months of unemployment. Also the development of personal progression plans for participants, so education, training, work experience is demand driven (needs of jobseekers and local labour market) rather than supply driven (filling place on pre-ordained courses), focus on guidance etc.
  • The Irish plan acknowledges the role and potential of both statutory and non-statutory stakeholders in addressing youth unemployment, the experience in the pilot action in Ballymun demonstrated the importance and value of engaging with youth work services, community, employers, etc.

Involvement of NYCI:

  • In July 2013 NYCI was invited to become members of the National Steering Group of the Ballymun Youth Guarantee Pilot Action and actively participated in the implementation of the project from August 2013 to December 2014 when it concluded.
  • In October 2013 we participated in a Stakeholders Forum organised by the Department of Social Protection to discuss the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Ireland.
  • Up until the publication of the National Implementation Plan in January 2014 there was some effort by Government to engage with NYCI and seek our input, since then they have not engaged with NYCI anymore
  • In December 2013 we met with Ms Joan Burton, T.D., Minister for Social Protection to outline our position and proposals in the written submission.
  • NYCI attended the launch of the National Plan for the Implementation in January 2014, while we welcomed the development of the overall plan we raised concerns about a number of issues including the lack of clarity on the number of new places funded by the both the European Social Funds and the Youth Employment Initiative.
  • NYCI is named as a “national partner” in the implementation plan which stated that such partners would “be invited to participate in the delivery and/or review of the Youth Guarantee”. However, since our meeting with the Minister for Social Protection in December 2013, we have had no formal contact or engagement with the Department with regard to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee nationally.

What are the main challenges?

NYCI is concerned that the initial commitment to introduce and deliver a Youth Guarantee in Ireland has dissipated. The Youth Guarantee approach (as experienced in the Ballymun pilot- See below) would have required significant changes in how young people were engaged with and supported, in how the Department of Social Protection engaged with other stakeholders, the level of information and data provided and evaluation undertaken. Here are some specific challenges identified below:

  • The Irish Government has not defined what is understood as a quality place. This is a real issue, because in the past young people have been offered places which are neither appropriate nor useful in supporting them into employment
  • Lack of an outreach strategy to reach those most distant from the labour market
  • Failure to meet commitments with regard to number of education, training and work experience places.
  • Insufficient number of case workers to engage with young jobseekers.
  • Failure to consult and engage with wide range of stakeholders since the publication of implementation plan in January 2014. Apart from the lack of engagement with NYCI we believe the failure of the Department of Social Protection to engage strategically with a wide range of key stakeholders on an ongoing basis is an error. As proven in the Ballymun pilot all the various stakeholders such as the employers, education and training providers, community services, guidance professionals, local authorities and youth sector have a role to play alongside the PES.

Recommendations by the National Youth Council of Ireland:

Based on these challenges, NYCI recommends:

  • The establishment of a National Steering Group chaired by an independent person comprising all the key stakeholders to ensure partnership and coordination to deliver on the Youth Guarantee
  • The development of a renewed and revised action plan to deliver the Youth Guarantee in Ireland from 2016-2020 with targets and timelines.
  • Clarity on priorities with regard to an offer of a quality place, e.g. an offer to all young jobseekers with a low PEX score within 4 months of becoming unemployed.
  • Development of a clear definition of a “quality” placement.
  • Development of “outreach strategy” with youth services and other key stakeholders to effectively engage with the hardest to reach.
  • The publication of annual plans and costings, including commitments with regard to the number of personal progression plans which will be delivered.
  • The introduction of individual tracking of participants and an ongoing overall evaluation of the programme.

Let’s get inspired! A good practice from Ireland:

The Ballymun Youth Guarantee Pilot Scheme is a best practice that is worth sharing: https://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/Key-Learning-Ballymun-Youth-Guarantee-Project.pdf. The Number of young people on live register (unemployed) fell by 29% in 12 month period from December 2013 to December 2014 (period of pilot) compared to 19% nationally.

General Information:

Ireland Youth guarantee Implementation Plan: https://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/Youth-Guarantee-Implementation-Plan.pdf
Links to details here about funds received by Ireland from the Youth Employment Initiative:
NYCI Youth Guarantee Factsheet:
http://www.youth.ie/sites/youth.ie/files/NYCI_051_A4_accessible.pdf">https://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2015-10-07a.122
NYCI Youth Guarantee Factsheet:
http://www.youth.ie/sites/youth.ie/files/NYCI_051_A4_accessible.pdf
Roundtable organized in June 2013 on the Implementation of a Youth Guarantee in Ireland:
http://www.youth.ie/vision_to_reality
Link to relevant documents related to the Youth guarantee on the website of the National Youth Council of Ireland:
http://www.youth.ie/advocacy/youth-guarantee

For more information please contact james@nyci.ie

Print

WHAT IS BEING DONE IN PORTUGAL?

CNJ: “We consider that the youth guarantee did not address the structural problems that are at the root of the youth unemployment crisis in our country. In fact, the youth employment policies that were implemented have contributed to maintaining a situation in which young people cycle in and out of employment, education or training without the adequate guarantees of long term success and emancipation. We believe that a new and more inclusive program should be built with a concrete focus on sustainable youth employment and emancipation and not just the short-term reduction of youth unemployment.”

What is the Youth Guarantee in Portugal?

The Youth Guarantee Program in Portugal begun in 2013 and was designed with the aims of creating a solution for the current youth unemployment crisis, easing the transition of young people from the education system to the labour market and increasing the level of qualifications of young people aged 15 to 29.

The current implementation plan has three major objectives:

  • A review of the education system and career counselling;
  • The integration and expansion of existing youth employment and employability measures under the umbrella of the Youth Guarantee program;
  • The overhaul of professional and vocational training. The program is mainly focused on young people who are under 30 years old and are not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET).

In the last two years, the Portuguese government (re)implemented a variety of measures to accomplish these goals. Some of these measures include:

Medida Estágios Emprego – A 9 month (12 months in some exceptional cases) one-time only state-sponsored internship program. This program is open to all young people who wish to acquire work experience in a particular company and/or organisation. The intern’s pay varies according to their academic qualifications and they have the right to food and transport allowance and insurance as well. The level of the state subsidy varies according to where the internship takes place: 65% if it’s in a for-profit company or 85% if it’s for a non-profit organisation or NGO. In February 2015, 60280 young people were under the umbrella of this program.

Programa Retomar – A yearly grant program aimed at young people who are NEET and who did not finish their university level studies. If accepted, the student receives 1200 euros per year to finish their degree or to pursue studies in a different area. Only bachelor and master level degrees are accepted in the program and only people who are able to finish their degrees before they turn 30 years old are eligible. In February 2015, 163 people were under the umbrella of this program.

Investe Jovem – A grant program aimed at young people who are unemployed for more than 9 months or searching for their first employment and who have a viable business idea that they want to implement. To be eligible, they need to be registered at their local employment office (IEFP) and their business plan cannot require an investment larger than 200000 euros and the creation of more than 10 work placements. If approved, IEFP has the responsibility to guide and give the necessary training to young people so that they are able to follow through with their business idea. In February 2015, there was no concrete information on how many young people were under the umbrella of this program but 1304 people were directly under other similar programs aimed at promoting self-employment and youth entrepreneurship.

In these last two years of the implementation of the program there was also a considerable investment in promoting vocational and professional training in our country.

What are the main Challenges?

  • The general economic environment: Youth unemployment is still very high in Portugal (34.8%) and, even if the country is no longer under IMF, ECB and EC supervision since May 2015, the economic situation remains fragile. This lowers the expectations of young people of finding a quality job offer that would allow them to become fully emancipated from their families and still forcing many to look for better opportunities abroad.
  • The current strategy to reach out to young people: Most young people in Portugal are still not aware of the youth guarantee and while the system to register is quite simple and most of it online (through a dedicated website), a very limited number of people have registered. In February 2015, only 11.913 young people (out of 123.500 young unemployed) were registered. In 2015, there was an online and offline marketing campaign aimed at young people in general and at NEETs in particular, using different methods (leaflets, billboards in metro and bus stations, videos by Portuguese Youtube personalities, etc.) but no assessment of its impact was done and released until now. CNJ was contacted twice to assist in this campaign (the first time in February 2015 and the second one in July 2015) but we had no direct involvement in its implementation or the possibility to give any feedback on its design and strategy (the responsibility of the outreach campaign was outsourced to an advertisement company). There is also a persistent lack of coordination with public employment services which still do not actively promote the youth program measures or assist young people in figuring out which one of the measures would be the best for their particular case.
  • The difficulty to reach out to the most vulnerable young people: The current Youth Guarantee measures are too often based on a “one-fits-all” solution for the problem, with no specific attention to the young beneficiaries’ specificities. The selection criteria of some of the Youth Guarantee measures were also too restrictive (as for the Programa Retomar described above).
  • No answer to structural problems and to the roots of youth unemployment: The youth employment policies that were implemented have contributed to maintaining a situation in which young people cycle in and out of employment, education or training without the adequate guarantees of long term success and emancipation. For example, one of the core elements of the current youth guarantee in Portugal was the creation of state sponsored professional traineeships. This was neither an effective policy to fight back against youth unemployment, nor was it an effective way to counter precarious work and promote the creation of more quality and stable employment for young people.
  • Missing evaluation and monitoring mechanism: There is a need for better and more efficient monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. While there is a Committee for Coordination and Monitoring of the Youth Guarantee which is supposed to meet every 6 months, the Ministry of Employment, Solidarity and Social Security has not requested a meeting since February 2015 and has not released any new data regarding the current status of the program since then. Also, some data have not been publically released yet such as the number of internships that have led to employment contracts. This hinders the capacity of organisations such as CNJ to properly evaluate the positive and negative impact of the measures. More involvement of specialised organisations such as youth organisations would also be a very good development for achieving this goal. The Portuguese Government should engage an in-depth evaluation of the current implementation for the Youth Guarantee in Portugal involving all the members of the Committee for Coordination and Monitoring of the Youth Guarantee as well as other Youth and civil society organisations.

Remarks by the Portuguese Youth Council:

CNJ is one of the members of the Committee for Coordination and Monitoring of the Youth Guarantee which would guarantee us regular access (every 6 months) to data and statistics about how the program has been doing in Portugal. We also maintain a good working relationship with the national agency responsible for the coordination and implementation of the program in the country. Nevertheless, CNJ has been unable to exert any direct influence on how the program is being implemented in Portugal and was only directly involved in a few key moments of the campaign such as the marketing campaign for the program but only in the early and final stages of the campaign and without being directly involved in its inception.

CNJ is currently working on a position paper on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Portugal projected to be released after the next meeting of the Committee for Coordination and Monitoring of the Youth Guarantee. We will also have a meeting with the Ministry of Employment, Solidarity and Social Security and we will ask for the scheduling of a meeting of the Committee as soon as possible so that all partners can have access to the most recent information on the program.

Let’s get inspired! A good practice from Portugal:

In 2013, the Portuguese Government asked the International Labour Office (ILO) to provide (i) a technical commentary to the first draft of the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan (YGIP), (ii) feedback on the YGIP after submission (January 2014), and (iii) follow up action in terms of support to the national team responsible for the implementation of the Pan (October-December 2014)

The latter revolved around the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework to regularly measure the results achieved during implementation, adjust the design and delivery of interventions where appropriate and provide information and lessons leant for future policy design and implementation. The monitoring and evaluation framework was sent by the ILO to the national team responsible for the implementation of the Plan in December 2014.

CNJ was directly involved by the ILO in this monitoring and evaluation framework though regular meetings with the Coordinator for Youth Employment in Europe, currently Mr. Gianni Rosas, and his team at the ILO Lisbon Headquarters.

General Information:

The Portuguese Government received 160.77 million euros from the Youth European Initiative to implement the Youth Guarantee. CNJ has not directly benefited from any of these allocated funds however it has recently recruited 4 trainees for its staff under one of Youth Guarantee-funded programs.

Link to the website of the Youth Guarantee in Portugal – https://www.garantiajovem.pt/

Link to the legislation regulating the Implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Portugal - https://dre.pt/application/dir/pdf1sdip/2013/12/25300/0704907055.pdf

Link to CNJ Position Paper on Decent Work and Quality Employment - http://www.cnj.pt/beta/images/Documentos/CNJ_tomada_de_posicao_FINAL.pdf

Link to ILO - Monitoring Performance and assessing impact of the Implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Portugal - http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/documents/publication/wcms_327600.pdf

For more information please contact the CNJ Secretariat (Manuel Gil – manuel.gil@cnj.pt )

Print

European Youth Forum AISBL

Rue de l’Industrie 10, 1000 Brussels

Tel.: +32 2 793 75 20
Fax : +32 2 893 25 80
youthforum@youthforum.org

With the support of
The European Commission
The European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe