EU calls for immediate action to drive down youth unemployment
The new "Youth Opportunities Initiative", adopted by the Commission, calls on Member States to work on preventing early school leaving; helping youngsters develop skills relevant to the labour market; ensuring work experience and on-the-job training and helping young people find a first good job.
The Commission is also urging Member States to make better use of the European Social Fund which still has €30billion of funding uncommitted to projects. In addition, the Commission has put forward a set of concrete actions to be financed directly by EU funds.
The main actions financed directly by the Commission in the new "Youth Opportunities Initiative" are:
- using €4m to help Member States set up "youth guarantee schemes" to ensure young people are either in employment, education or training within four months of leaving school
- dedicating € 1.3 million to support the setting up of apprenticeships through the European Social Fund. An increase of 10% by the end of 2013 would add a total of 370,000 new apprenticeships
- using €3m of the European Social Fund Technical Assistance to support Member States in the setting up of support schemes for young business starters and social entrepreneurs
- gearing funds as much as possible towards placements in enterprises and targeting at least 130,000 placements in 2012 under ERASMUS and Leonardo da Vinci
- providing financial assistance in 2012-2013 to 5,000 young people to find a job in another Member State through the "Your first EURES job" initiative
- reinforcing the budget allocation for the European Voluntary Service in order to provide at least 10,000 volunteering opportunities in 2012
- presenting in 2012 a framework for high quality traineeships in the EU
- ensuring around 600 further exchanges under Erasmus for entrepreneurs in 2012.