Youth unemployment remains a key concern in Europe. Find out what measures the EU has put in place to help.
Young people were amongst the hardest hit by the economic and financial crisis. The unemployment rate of people aged 15-24 years in the EU increased from 15% in 2008 to 24% in early 2013, with peaks in Greece (60%), Spain (56.2%), Croatia (49.8%), Italy (44.1%) and Portugal (40.7%).
Youth unemployment in the EU has dropped from a peak of 24% in 2013 to 15.1% in May 2018, while the share of 15-24 year olds not in work, education or training fell from 13.2% in 2012 to 10.9% in 2017. However, the unemployment rate remains higher than among the general population.
Initiatives to help the young
To tackle youth unemployment, EU countries agreed in 2013 to launch the Youth Guarantee, an EU initiative to give everyone under 25 a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education”
The Youth Employment Initiative is the main EU tool to help finance measures and programmes, put in place by EU countries to carry out Youth Guarantee schemes, such as training and assistance for the young to find their first job, along with incentives for employers. The initiative targets regions in the EU that have a youth unemployment rate above 25%. This applies to more than 120 regions in 20 EU countries, including Ireland and the UK.
According to the European Commission, more than five million young people register for Youth Guarantee schemes each year since 2014, while the Youth Employment Initiative has provided direct support to more than 1.7 million young people.
Both the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative focus on young people not in employment, education or training, which includes the long-term unemployed and those not registered as job-seekers.
The European Alliance for Apprenticeships platform was also launched to support the Youth Guarantee and improve the quality of apprenticeships in Europe.
In 2014 EU countries agreed on a Quality Framework for traineeships in order to give young people the possibility to gain high-quality work experience in safe and fair conditions, while increasing their employability,
The Your first Eures Job initiative aims to promote labour mobility by making young people aware of job opportunities in other EU countries. A platform brings together the CVs of young jobseekers – aged 18 to 35, from all EU-28 countries plus Norway and Iceland, interested in finding professional experience abroad – and job/traineeship vacancies of employers looking for young workers.
In September MEPs voted in favour of laying down the legal framework for the European Solidarity Corps, which aims to create opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in project benefitting communities and people around Europe.