1 – Addressing Youth employability in Europe requires taking the external dimension into account
Youth employment prospects have worsened continuously throughout the world, in developed, transition and developing countries alike. In the ETF remit of geographical competence the situation looks particularly alarming as reported by the Torino Process analysis run in 2011-2012, in particular in the Western Balkans and Turkey (where rates range from 18% to 65%) and in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (from 18% to 36%), in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, although the youth unemployment rate is higher that the unemployment rate as a whole, it is in all cases lower than 19% (except in Armenia, where it is 39%). in the Arab Mediterranean the Arab Spring followed by political turbulence had a particular impact on tourism, production and export sector thus impacting again negatively on youth. The urge to globally respond to the challenge of youth employment is an urge calling for increased dialogue and joint policies. Building on the dialogue with EU partner countries on challenges and solutions that globally could be addressed is key. The youth crisis has impact on migration, mobility, security, peace, trade, social development, that in turn has an impact on the present and the future of the EU.
2 – Youth employability requires international policy direction and local actions and support
Young people move. Move more and more, but the local territory is that domain that they look for and ask for opportunities. Stimulating the dialogue to take place at the local level, offering locally based solutions, opportunities for job creation, entrepreneurial development, learning and training is the second face of the coin moving from the international overview to the daily life of each young person in the EU and in partner countries. Very often we see that local territories that have the opportunity to creatively and innovatively address challenges, they are much more forward-looking as compared to the policy framework developed at the national or international level. This is why, in the ETF effort of supporting EU partner countries to develop human capital policies the local dimension is becoming essential. Often, too often, policies are not addressed and don’t take into account the local challenges. Especially in EU partner countries this is linked to low decentralization and delegation, and low capacity of actors involved in local implementation. More and more ETF is supporting dialogue between youth and policy makers. We have launched in 2012 the Young Mediterranean leaders program, involved youth organizations in the pre-accession region through social inclusion and entrepreneurial learning projects, stimulated creation of youth association and increased dialogue with learners in Central Asia. Learning from youth, involving them is key for relevant policies.
3 – Youth employability needs to go hand in hand with life-long learning
Education and training systems have been under strong pressure for modernisation during the last decades in Europe as well as in many countries surrounding the European Union. The reasons behind this pressure have different sources: from the technological innovation, the rapid changes in the types of jobs available as well as in the content of jobs with subsequent changes in the demand for qualifications and skills. Secondly, globalization and migration flows have contributed to expand employers’ choices and availability of skills from local to international markets; and finally the complexity of VET systems covering a large spectrum of skills has become even more complicated ranging from low to highly qualified profiles. Youth unemployment has introduced and is generating an extra pressure on education and training system in countries surrounding the EU thus bringing challenges both to the skills generation, their mobility and use in Europe. Life-long learning needs to remain at the heart of EU policies and support to EU partner countries to address youth employment and employability in the short, medium and long term perspectives.
4- Learning from local practices to stimulate policies framework development, relevance and innovation
ETF is launching today a new initiative aiming at identifying in EU partner countries local entrepreneurial communities. These are essentially local partnerships that foster skills, entrepreneurship and job creation.
The initiative will capture what drives entrepreneurial communities: how they create space for cooperation, develop entrepreneurial capacity, use and develop skills. In the current global scenario it is key to learn from good practices worldwide, moving from a concept of assistance to Partner Countries to a concept of policy learning and mutual development based on practices and actions.
The key objective of the initiative is to capture good practices of entrepreneurial communities and use the knowledge to inform and help shape policies in EU partner countries to support entrepreneurial communities to blossom.
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