What the EU is doing to support youth

The Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the Move is a comprehensive package of initiatives to improve young people’s education and employability, reduce high youth unemployment and increase the overall youth employment rate.

The Youth Opportunities Initiative and Your First EURES Job are two key measures in the Youth on the Move programme:

The Youth Opportunities Initiative aims to help unemployed young people return to school or enroll in vocational training and obtain skills which are in demand. Among the policy measures implemented through the Youth Opportunities Initiative is the use of €1.3 million of the European Social Fund (ESF) Technical Assistance programme to set up 370,000 new apprenticeships, an increase of 10 per cent, by the end of 2013.

Your First EURES Job aims to place 5,000 young people in a job in another EU country from 2012 to 2013, reducing obstacles to cross-border mobility.

The Youth Guarantee seeks to get young people into employment, further education or training within four months of leaving school or losing a job. The initiative is supported by €4 million in EU funds and the European Social Fund and aims to bolster skills and employment among EU youth.

Erasmus for all is the new single EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, merging seven existing programmes: the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the bilateral cooperation programme with industrialised countries. With an expected budget of €19 billion from 2014-2020, the programme supports three types of action:

• Learning opportunities for individuals;

• Institutional cooperation between educational institutions, youth organisations, businesses, local and regional authorities and NGOs;

• Support for reforms in member states to modernise education and training systems and promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability.

Two-thirds of the funding would be spent on mobility grants to improve knowledge and skills.

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships will bring together public institutions, businesses, social partners, researchers and practitioners, and youth representatives to share best practices in apprenticeship programmes. The alliance aims to enable recognition of international apprenticeships and promote a regulatory framework for them.

The alliance will help create national partnerships to develop dual learning and strengthen the role of apprenticeships in member states’ labour markets and educational systems.

EU Skills Panorama, is a website presenting quantitative and qualitative information on short and medium-term skills needs, skills supply and skills mismatches. It highlights occupations with the most unfilled vacancies in the EU today and provides relevant information about trends in skills requirements in all Member States.

The Youth-SME action teams initiative, launched by the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, examines the possibility to use structural funds more intensively, reallocating them to projects that will make the biggest difference for youth employment and job creation in eight member states with the highest unemployment rates. About €10 billion of EU financing has been targeted for accelerated delivery or reallocation through this initiative so far, with a goal of benefitting some 660,000 young people and 55,000 small and medium-sized enterprises.

The High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education launched by the European Commission will address the issues concerning higher education, as part of a comprehensive three-year review of the sector across the European Union.