At the request of the European Parliament, the European Commission directly managed 18 small scale pilot projects in 7 Member States to test local partnerships for Youth Guarantee schemes (EP Preparatory Action).
The projects aimed to provide Member States with practical experience for implementing their national Youth Guarantee schemes.
The projects were launched between August and December 2013 and ran for one year in Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Given these challenges, a much more prominent role has been attributed to VET in the overall growth and jobs agenda. The contribution of VET, particularly work-based learning and apprenticeships, to fight youth unemployment, to ensure better match between training and labour market needs and to ease transitions to employment is now more widely recognised. As an indication of the urgency of reforms in this sector, a considerable number of country specific recommendations adopted within the European Semester are related to VET. The Rethinking Education Communication (2012)9 stressed the need to invest in building world-class VET systems and increase participation in work-based learning. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships, Youth Guarantee as well as the Youth employment initiative – all launched in 2013 – confirmed the crucial role of VET in increasing the employability of young people. Learning in the workplace is also an effective way to re-train and up-skill adults. Ensuring learning opportunities for all, especially disadvantaged groups, remains a major challenge, as the renewed adult learning agenda underlined. The potential of continuing VET, which can respond flexibly to short-term needs and helps improve citizens’ employability and enterprises’ competitiveness, is not yet fully used. The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has identified growth and job creation as the first priority objective of the European Commission (2014-2019). Development of skills and competences of the European workforce is key to this objective, including promotion of quality VET and lifelong learning. Candidate Countries also share these aspirations.
What support is available?
For young people
The scheme funds language courses or other forms of training. It also covers travel expenses for young people applying for jobs or work-based training, enabling them to attend job interviews and settle in other EU countries to take up employment.
The mobility package includes new support measures for young people, described in the 2014-2015 Guide.
Companies with up to 250 employees can apply for financial support towards the cost of training newly-recruited workers, trainees or apprentices and helping them settle in.
As social-democrats, our highest priority is job creation. We believe that policy mistakes made by the EU and some national governments have made the recession – caused by the global banking crisis of 2008 – longer and deeper than it need have been. The EU is finally seeing signs of a slow recovery but much more needs to be done to ensure that it is sustained – and that it is not a jobless recovery.