Northern lights for jobless youth

Nieuws | de redactie
13 juli 2012 | How can Europe decrease youth unemployment? A United Nations agency advises to look to Sweden and Finland for inspiration. Expanding their policies to the rest of the Eurozone could reintegrate between 3 and 4.8 million young people into the job market and education system - at a price tag of €21 billion .

The United Nations agency International Labour Organization(ILO) recently gave a dire outlook on unemployment in the Eurozone. Ifpolicymakers do not complement their current austerity measureswith smart labor market incentives another 4.5 million jobs may belost over the next four years.

This would also affect young people who face unfavorable jobmarkets, especially in southern Europe. To counter this the ILOrecommends implementing Scandinavian type youth guarantee programs.In Sweden and Finland young unemployed citizens enter coachingprograms which help them with finding a job or opportunities foracademic or vocational education. At a cost of €21 billion (0.45%of Eurozone government spending) such programs could be implementedEurozone wide.

Sweden: the case of a personalized youth guaranteeprogramme

“Following a period of unsuccessful job search, all young peoplein Sweden are offered youth specific activities within the “Jobguarantee for young people”. The programme aims to provide specialmeasures and activities for the participant to enable them to get ajob or return to education as soon as possible. To be eligible,youth aged 18 to 24 need to be registered with the PublicEmployment Service (PES). After 90 days of unemployment, the youngjobseeker is referred to a programme for a period of fourmonths.

During the first three months, the activities of the jobguarantee include an in-depth assessment, educational andvocational guidance and job search activities with coaching.Thereafter, these activities are combined with work experience,education and training, grants to business start-ups andemployability rehabilitation efforts.

During the in-depth assessment it is also decided whether theparticipant’s needs can best be met by the Employment Office orwith an external complementary provider. A young person canparticipate in the job guarantee for up to 15 months. The cost ofthe job guarantee in 2010 was less than 6,000 euros perparticipant. It is estimated that 46 per cent of the youngjobseekers had successful outcomes as a result of the guarantee.”

Finland: the case of effective and speedy interventionsin support of youth

“In Finland, the youth guarantee scheme was established in 2005and revised in 2010. The project targets young people below age 25who are finishing school and do not have a job or a place in aneducation programme. From 2013, however, the programme will beexpanded to young graduates under age 30.

The Finnish programme shares the aim of the Swedish one – tobring unemployed and inactive youth back to employment – and hasalso the PES at the centre of the implementation of the scheme.More specifically, it includes a personal development plan which isset up within the first three months of unemployment. Within thistime, the registered youth has to be offered a job, a place ineither academic education or vocational training, or any otheractivation measure deemed necessary to improve job prospects.

The difference with the Swedish system is the speed ofintervention. In Finland, intervention under the youth guaranteeoccurs immediately when the youth registers as unemployed andbefore a maximum period of three months each youth has to be placedin either a job or education.”

€21 billion for a Eurozone-wide program

These programs had a success rate of 46% and over 80%,respectively. “Implementing such a young guarantee programme acrossthe Eurozone would not exceed 21 billion euros – which representsaround 0.45 per cent of Eurozone government spending, a modestfigure vis-à-vis expected benefits.”

Youth unemployment is currently at about 6 million in theEurozone. Assuming a more conservative Swedish success rate of 46%,this would mean that almost 3 million unemployed young people couldbe reintegrated into the job market and the education system. AFinnish outcome would raise this number to over 4.8 million.

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