ALMA (Aim, Learn, Master, Achieve) is designed as a social empowerment initiative for disadvantaged young people aged 18 to 29 not in employment, education or training (NEETs). It will be launched over the course of 2022 and financed by the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).
For general information about the initiative, visit the ALMA introductory page.
The practical information provided here is addressed to Member States and stakeholders in order to help them with the setting up of ALMA and making it a success. It also includes answers to most frequently asked questions.
ALMA - making a difference
- ALMA responds to the expectations of young people - A special Eurobarometer survey on the Future of Europe reveals that social inequalities and unemployment are the most important concerns of young Europeans. ALMA responds to both of them as it aims to ensure integration of the most disadvantaged young people aged 18 to 29 not in employment, education or training both into the labour market and into society more broadly.
- ALMA is innovative - It is based on the concept of the transformational effect of a work-related learning experience abroad included in a comprehensive project cycle and an individual tailor-based approach. This experience is coupled with mentoring and coaching which accompanies participants at every step. ALMA is an active inclusion initiative, where mobility is a means to achieve this aim, rather than the aim itself.
- ALMA builds on proven success - It was inspired by a long-standing, cross-border social innovation pilot scheme, implemented by Germany since 2008. This project was taken over in 2012 by an ESF-supported transnational network of 11 Member States and regions. From 2015, it was implemented through a transnational coordinated call in the context of the ESF ('TLN Mobility'). The Member States and regions participating include Germany, Czechia, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, the Italian region of Trento, and the Spanish regions of Andalusia, Galicia and Catalonia. The project has already supported around 7000 young people with promising results:
Practical Information specific to your role
ALMA will be financed by the ESF+ under shared management. Its success will therefore rely on the commitment of the Member States.
National and regional ESF+ Managing Authorities are invited to programme ALMA under ESF+. The European Commission will provide support to help reduce potential obstacles and scale up the initiative through central coordination at EU level.
Member States can use ALMA to fulfill the ESF+ thematic concentration requirements for youth and social inclusion.
ALMA fits under several ESF+ specific objectives:
- youth employment (a),
- equal access to training and learning mobility (f),
- active inclusion (h),
- socio-economic integration of third-country nationals and of marginalised communities (i) and (j),
- social inclusion of people at risk of poverty (l).
Member States can also benefit from the higher co-financing rate of up to 95% when programming ALMA under the mandatory social innovation dedicated priority.
Member States engaging in ALMA are assisted at the EU level through:
- Support with guidance and sharing of best practices - the European Commission will continue updating the Manual of guidance and the Database of project partners that were used for the pilot TLN project. The Commission will facilitate the organisation of networking and exchanges of good practice events, as well as mobilising companies and organisations at EU level.
- Simplifying implementation - with a delegated EU act on EU level simplified cost options covering the target group, programme cycle, minimum quality standards, implementation structures, and common criteria for eligibility.
ALMA will be coordinated under the ESF+ Social Innovation+ initiative via indirect management. This means the Commission will eventually delegate the implementation of ALMA to a Managing Authority that implements the activities on behalf of the Commission.
- ALMA - Manual of guidance
- TLN website
- Webinar on ALMA of 16/12/21 (recording + flash report + presentations)
- Community of Practice and Employment and Skills Paper
ALMA will be made possible through a network of partnerships between sending and receiving organisations, including public and private employment services, social services, training providers and youth organisations (also helping to select participants).
- Partners can get involved by approaching the national/regional ESF+ managing authority which has to build a national/regional partnership, mainly through a call for proposals under the ESF+ in the sending country;
- Establishing a transnational partnership with an organisation in the receiving country;
- Finding companies interested in hosting ALMA participants in the receiving country;
- Cooperating closely with the partners from the sending or receiving countryto match the companies with participants.
Accommodation for the participants is organised by the partner organisation in the host country, with costs covered by the sending organisation.
Eligibility criteria will require partners in sending and receiving countries to collaborate closely with organisations active on the ground and to make contact with potential participants.
Effective outreach to the most vulnerable young people aged 18 to 29 will be key for the initiative. The involvement of non-governmental organisations, youth organisations, local associations and networks will play an important role to achieve this objective.
Public and private companies willing to welcome ALMA participants are invited to get in touch with the European Commission. They will need to comply with certain quality criteria to ensure successful learning experience for participants. The Commission will check their compliance and put them in contact with the relevant partners in their country.
ALMA is still under development. It is not possible to apply yet, applications for potential participants will open later in the year. The European Commission and the national ESF+ managing authorities will communicate the date.
Regional or national managing authorities of the ESF+ programmes will be in charge of identifying eligible candidates for ALMA support. Partners, including youth organisations will also be involved.
General information about ALMA is provided on its introductory page.
Technical meeting on the ALMA initiative
Along with the FAQs below, a two-day technical meeting on the ALMA initiative - co-hosted by the Employment Service of Slovenia, the European Commission and the transnational network TLN-Mobility - took place on last 19th and 20th May 2022 in Ljubljana. As a follow-up to this technical launch meeting, please find below a document gathering the ‘Most frequently asked questions’ during this two-days event, including during the three thematic workshops.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get involved?
- As a Managing Authority: by programming ALMA under ESF+;
- As an organisation willing to become a partner in a sending country: by getting in touch with the managing authority of your region/country, which will then guide you on how to apply;
- As a public/private organisation that would like to welcome ALMA participants: by getting in touch with the European Commission (via EMPL-ALMA@EC.EUROPA.EU) in order to be introduced to the relevant partners in your country;
- As an organisation willing to become a partner organisation in a receiving country: by getting in touch with the European Commission (via EMPL-ALMA@EC.EUROPA.EU) that will put you in contact with the relevant partners in your country;
- Young people interested in benefiting from ALMA: watch this space, as well as the ESF+ support in your country page for the forthcoming launch of the ALMA initiative.
Does ALMA apply to all young people not in employment, education or training?
- ALMA is designed only for disadvantaged young people (from 18 to 29 years of age) who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs). It is for those who have difficulties finding a job, including those in long-term unemployment, with insufficient school performance or vocational skills, with a migrant background, or young people with disabilities.
- Participants will be aged 18 to 29 years.
What will the ESF cover and what will the participants get?
ESF+ will cover the following expenditure:
- Financial support - organised and paid for by the operating partners, catering for all the needs during the stay abroad and provided in-kind: travel, food, accommodation and transport costs, as well as insurance coverage. The cost of this package depends on the cost of living in the receiving Member State and will be paid for by the sending organisation. Participants in need will also receive a daily allowance to ensure a decent standard of living, adapted to the cost of living at all stages of the programme. Moreover, companies are of course free to offer a stipend to the participants for the work-related learning experience.
- Training, coaching and counselling before, during and after the stay abroad - to boost participants’ chances to access job opportunities in their country, and, ultimately, ensure their integration both in the labour market and in society.
How will ALMA be integrated in existing training/learning programmes in Member States?
It will be up to Member States to decide how best to embed this initiative in their national employment, inclusion or education and training systems.
When will ALMA be launched?
ALMA will be launched during the European Year of Youth 2022, but programming under ESF+ can start immediately. The first calls for national partnerships under national or regional ESF+ programmes might be put in place from the 2nd quarter of 2022 onwards, followed by implementation on the ground.
Is it not too late to programme ALMA for the 2021-2027 ESF+ period?
No. As the ESF+ programming is still ongoing, there is time and space to include ALMA and make it visible in the programmes. If programming is already advanced, ALMA can be explicitly mentioned in the types of actions to be supported by a specific objective. Alternatively, ALMA can still be implemented under the actions programmed under social inclusion or youth employment, provided it fits the types of actions listed in the programme and contributes to its specific objectives (see above in the section for the managing authorities). A direct reference to ALMA can then be added at a later stage via a programme amendment.