To reduce youth unemployment, cross-sectoral cooperation should be enhanced

To reduce youth unemployment, cross-sectoral cooperation should be enhanced

In order to decrease youth unemployment, closer cross-sectoral cooperation is needed in areas such as defining, implementing and evaluating employment policies, identifying current and future skills needed for the labour market, providing career guidance, encouraging the development and recognition of skills and competences through non-formal learning, setting up mobility programmes and others. This was highlighted in the recommendations from the 2nd Eastern Partnership Youth Forum. They outline important steps for the governments and other key actors from the European Union (EU) and Eastern Partnership countries to be taken in order to reduce youth unemployment. The recommendations will be presented at the Eastern Partnership Summit in May in Riga and included in the Summit declaration.

"Currently the European Union offers a variety of opportunities and financial support for fostering youth employment and employability. However, without cooperation and common vision among all the stakeholders many of these measures are not effective enough,'' explains forum coordinator Ms Vladislava Skele, ''cross-sectoral cooperation has the highest potential to solve youth unemployment issues."

Participants of the forum emphasised that the competences of young people gained through non-formal learning, voluntary work and international mobilities still are not recognised in formal education and labour market. In order to provide education and training that meets the needs of labour market, the business sector should get more involved in designing and facilitating educational programmes. It is also important to support voluntary work, foster youth entrepreneurship and motivate employers to hire young people whose position in labour market is more unfavourable due to lack of work experience.

''These recommendations provide general guidelines by taking into account different realities across the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. In order to implement them in practice, it is crucial for each sector to understand the importance of the proposed actions, take initiative and participate,'' says Skele.

On 10-11 February, the 2nd Eastern Partnership Youth Forum brought together more than 260 participants from at least 30 different countries. Key actors who can influence the solving of the youth unemployment issue were present at the forum, including youth workers and employers, human resources experts, entrepreneurs, representatives from ministries and international organisations, youth policy-makers, researches and young people themselves. Forum was organised by the Agency for International Programs for Youth to the Ministry of Education and Science together with more than 10 other local and international partners thus making the forum itself as a best practice example in the field of cross-sectoral cooperation.

Youth employability is among the EU priorities. At the end of 2014, youth unemployment varied from 7.2 percent in Germany and 17 percent in Latvia up to 51.4 percent in Spain. In total there are around 5 million unemployed young people under 25 in Europe. Studies confirm that unemployment among young people has a long-term negative impact upon one's wellbeing and confidence, as well as remuneration and future career prospects.

This year the Agency for International Programs for Youth has launched KNOW and DO! programme. Local governments in cooperation with their strategic partners are planning to provide support to more than 5000 young people between ages from 15 to 29. The project will be carried out by December 2018 and the total funding amounts to 9 million euro, out of which 7.65 million euro allocates the European Social Fund.

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