Pilot EU project on Youth Unemployment

We were recently approached to participate in a European Union sponsored conference on Youth unemployment. We responded by saying that key points for consideration had been omitted. We went on to say that without addressing these points no overview of the issue could be achieved.

Young Workers

It is worth highlighting that if you are between 18 and 30 years of age and in search of a job in certain countries, a pilot project recently launched by the European Commission could be of great interest to you. The scope of this project, entitled “Your first EURES job” is specifically that of assisting youths find a job in any EU country other than in their country of residence. Small and medium sized enterprises also stand to gain under this scheme since fiscal incentives are being granted to such enterprises in order for them to be in a position to take on these new employees.

This scheme, which is only being run by the government employment services of Germany, Spain, Denmark and Italy, is open to job-seekers from all member states. EU citizens aged between 18 and 30 who would like to work in another member state will now be able to obtain all the necessary assistance and information to be able to take the plunge. Job-seekers need not have any particular qualification or work experience to benefit from the scheme. Traineeships and apprenticeships are, however, excluded since there are other EU and national programs covering such activities.

Job applicants will be given financial support in the form of a fixed amount of money ranging between €200 and €300 in order to be able to attend an interview abroad. The amount of around €900 would then be given to assist in the actual reallocation in order to take up the new job.

Small and medium sized enterprises, that is, businesses employing not more than 250 employees, are eligible to apply for financial support. They are entitled to approximately €600 to €900 per recruited worker in order to set up an integration program and provide some settlement assistance to the new employee. The amount of financial support granted varies depending on the destination and the type of activity involved.

Once jobseekers have been recruited by a foreign employer, they can benefit from a brief and free of charge training course before moving abroad. This training relates to interpersonal skills and the objective is to improve any specific personal competence required by the employer such as knowledge of the language of the country of destination.

In identifying jobs, the scheme will be focusing on those areas where skills shortages failure has been identified in the member states. Such employment areas relate particularly to engineering, ICT professions, health care, hotel and catering and construction sectors, sales professionals and electronic mechanics and fitters. It is hoped that in this way, the project will fulfill a dual role, that of enhancing employment opportunities for youths whilst simultaneously addressing imbalances in EU labour markets.

The European Commission has made it clear that this pilot project will also serve as a testing ground for transforming EURES – the network of member states’ employment services which currently announces vacancies – into a pan-European employment service. The challenge will be avoiding the bureaucracy that plagues current state offered assistance and a privatised solution would be more effective as we have pointed out as we have a solution.

More than 5.5 million young Europeans are currently looking for a job and this pilot is restricted to 5000 so a drop in the ocean of youth unemployment. The economic turmoil that has hit Europe has left its mark on labour demand even in those member states which usually enjoy amongst the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. Matching skill shortages in one member state with jobseekers with the relevant skills from other member states could offer a partial solution to Europe’s current unemployment crisis.

We will see if Spanish youth will seize the opportunity to work in Germany for example but suspect the scheme will flounder because we have found it hard to gather information to write this articles and we can’t see employees or employers utilising the scheme unless access to information is improved and communication made easier.


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