Youth unemployment

  • 24.4%Youth unemployment in 2013
  • 15.4%Youth unemployment in April 2020  


The European Union is helping EU countries tackle this challenge head-on by proposing:

Apprenticeship©️ European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service
  • a Bridge to Jobs – reinforcing the Youth Guarantee
  • future-proofing the EU’s vocational education and training (VET) policy
  • a renewed impetus for apprenticeships


The EU is investing tens of billions of euro to power the recovery plan for young people. Member States need to prioritise investments that can help young people in the short and medium term.

Reinforcing the youth guarantee

If you sign up to the Youth Guarantee, you will receive an offer of employment, education, apprenticeship or traineeship within four months.

The EU created the Youth Guarantee in 2013 and has since created access to the labour market for more than 24 million young people

The new and improved Bridge to Jobs will: 

clock with an arrow and numbers  Cover young people aged between 15 and 29 arrows pointing inwards  Be more inclusive, with a wider outreach focusing especially on disadvantaged groups
wired leaf  Connect with the needs of companies, especially SMEs, providing the skills required - in particular those for the green and digital transitions cartoon bubbles  Provide tailored counselling, guidance and mentoring


Future-proofing the EU’s vocational education and training policy

Vocational education and training (VET) helps young people get ready for their first job and allows adults to learn new skills and develop their careers. It will be an essential part of helping young people enter the workforce during the recovery. The Commission is taking a fresh approach to vocational education and training, making it more modern, attractive, flexible and fit for the digital age and green transition.

A renewed impetus for apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a win-win:

  • companies get the skilled labour force they need for the future 
  • young people develop their skills and find work 

EU action will help boost apprenticeship offers, for example by incentivising support to SMEs and mobilising local and regional authorities. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships has been instrumental in creating more than 900,000 apprenticeship opportunities for young people since its launch in 2013. By renewing it, the Commission will trigger fresh commitments for digital and green apprenticeships. 

The Commission also urges EU countries to step up youth employment support through Next Generation EU and the future EU budget. The overall ambition is that Member States invest EU funding of at least €22 billion in youth employment

For example, the EU can help fund: 

Rocket icon Start-up grants and loans for young entrepreneurs, mentoring schemes and business incubators 
Curriculum Vitae Bonuses for SMEs hiring apprentices
person giving a training Training sessions to acquire new skills needed on the labour market
A gear Capacity-building of public employment services
Person giving speech Career management training in formal education
computer with learning program Investments in digital learning infrastructure and technology