Low qualifications, disengagement from education and training, and long-term unemployment are interconnected phenomena and tend to cumulate throughout a person’s life. Missed chances in early childhood, school age and young adulthood may draw disadvantaged people into a cycle of social marginalisation with ever more scarring effects. Having failed to build adequate soft and technical skills, they may have lowered their expectations, do not know how to search and apply for jobs, and may be under severe stress caused by family, financial and social pressure. Long unemployment spells tend to become more frequent, low skills and qualifications persist, and decaying physical and psychological health conditions may ensue
Successful initiatives and policies for all age groups have multiplied and diversified across Europe. There is plenty of room for mutual learning, for example, on how to strengthen the links between policy-makers and practitioners with a view to mainstreaming policies, or on how to conciliate national priorities with the opportunities provided under EU initiatives.
Outreach policies need to cater both for the young and adults and to focus on recovery and rehabilitation, besides prevention. In many countries, people lose entitlement to support after a certain period of time or when they outgrow age-based programmes. Once people drop off the radar of public services, their career pathways tend to spiral downward. This is why outreach policies require time and flexibility, to allow beneficiaries to establish an individual perspective on themselves and the labour market.
To offer an effective complementary approach to standard welfare support, outreach needs to grow and rely on strong cooperation and exchange of information between public, private and civil sector stakeholders at local and regional levels, promoting services that go to the streets, beyond the traditional ‘open door’ offices. Such outreach needs to be backed up by teams of professionals who can provide individual services, based on assessment of skills and needs, so that reintegration is supported by the right tools at the right pace. To be sustainable, outreach policies must be built on the common understanding that a society that leaves no one behind is stronger, socially cohesive and more capable of producing economic value.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Briefing note – Reaching out to ‘invisible’ young people and adults | Cedefop