10 000 European Voluntary Service opportunities in 2012
“Five million young Europeans, the future of our society, are currently unemployed and need our help. The rates of young people seeking work in some of our member states are simply staggering, reaching nearly 50% in some countries.(…) With today's initiative we are developing more immediate action that will help drive down youth unemployment”, commented Commission President José Manuel Barroso in a press release to the recently adopted communication "Youth Opportunities Initiative”.
The Commission called on member states to prevent early school leaving, help youngsters develop skills relevant to the labour market, ensure work experience and on-the-job training, and help young people find a first good job. The Commission also urges member states to make better use of the European Social Fund which still has €30 billion of funding uncommitted to projects. In addition, the Commission has put forward a set of definite initiatives to be financed directly by EU funds.
The main undertakings financed directly by the Commission in the new Youth Opportunities Initiative are:
• using €4 million 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 €1.3m 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 companies and targeting at least 130,000 placements in 2012 under ERASMUS and Leonardo da Vinci;
• providing financial assistance to 5,000 young people in 2012-2013 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;
• bringing forward a framework in 2012 for high quality traineeships in the EU;
• ensuring around 600 further Erasmus exchanges for entrepreneurs in 2012.
In 18 out of 27 member states, the youth unemployment rate is above 20% (Eurostat data of October 2011). Six member states have rates between 10% and 20%, in 13 the rates range from 20% to 30% and in five (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain) the rate is over 30%. In only three member states (Austria, Germany and the Netherlands) the youth unemployment rate is under 10%.