The Youth Guarantee is a new approach to tackling youth unemployment which ensures that all young people under 25 – whether registered with employment services or not – get a good-quality, concrete offer within 4 months of them leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.
The good-quality offer should be for a job, apprenticeship, traineeship, or continued education and be adapted to each individual need and situation.
EU countries endorsed the principle of the Youth Guarantee in April 2013 (Council Recommendation).
Developing and delivering a Youth Guarantee scheme requires strong cooperation between all the key stakeholders: public authorities, employment services, career guidance providers, education & training institutions, youth support services, business, employers, trade unions, etc.
Early intervention and activation are key and, in many cases, reforms are needed, such as improving vocational education and training systems.
The European Commission has helped each EU country to develop its own national Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan and start implementation. The Commission also supports awareness raising activities on the setting up of the Youth Guarantee, with a pilot running in 4 Member States (Latvia, Finland, Portugal and Romania). The concept, products and visuals from this pilot have been put at the disposal of national, regional and local authorities who wish to use it further as an electronic toolkit.
Further, the Commission also facilitates the sharing of best practices between governments, in particular through the European Employment Strategy Mutual Learning Programme.
Finland has developed a comprehensive Youth Guarantee scheme. A Eurofound evaluation found that, in 2011, 83.5% of young job seekers received a successful offer within 3 months of registering as unemployed. The Finnish scheme has led to personalised plans for young people being drawn up more quickly, ultimately lowering unemployment.
For an overview of similar national initiatives, see the Commission working document (in 22 EU languages).
Although precise figures are impossible to determine until each EU country has defined exactly how it will implement the scheme, recent research rates the benefits much higher than the costs.
The total estimated cost of establishing Youth Guarantee schemes in the Eurozone is €21bn a year, or 0.22% of GDP. (Source: ILO report – eurozone job crisis)
However, inaction would be much more costly. Young people not in employment, education or training are estimated to cost the EU €153bn (1.21% of GDP) a year – in benefits and foregone earnings and taxes. (Source: Eurofound report on youth unemployment)
Not all Youth Guarantee measures are expensive. For example, greater cooperation between stakeholders is effective without requiring large budgets.
To make the Youth Guarantee a reality, national budgets should prioritise youth employment to avoid higher costs in the future.