More than one in six young people have stopped working since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Many others are trying to enter the labour market at a time when few sectors are hiring. However, if the 2008 economic crisis taught the EU anything, it’s to double down on helping Europe’s youth.

Back then, the EU introduced the Youth Guarantee - a scheme that pledges a quality offer of employment, continued education or training to young people within four months of leaving formal education or being unemployed. Since 2013, more than 24 million have registered and over 14 million have accepted an offer.

EU for Next Generation

When coronavirus struck, the EU made a new pledge to support young people across the Union. The Youth Guarantee, previously available mostly for those aged 25 and under, has now been expanded to include all under the age of 30. At the same time, the new Youth Employment Support (YES) package will act as a bridge to green and digital jobs.

Youth and EU flag © European Union, 2020

Youth and EU flag © European Union, 2020

Spain

Eloísa © Eloísa de la Chica Oña, 2020

Eloísa © Eloísa de la Chica Oña, 2020

Meet Eloisa María de la Chica Oña from Seville. Thanks to the support she received from an EU-funded training course, she was able to start her own business right in the midst of the pandemic.

“What at first started as an exercise to keep me from going crazy while locked up at home, became my purpose.”

Eloisa now trains entrepreneurs on sustainability and communication, so they can go on to develop their activities in an ethical and socially responsible manner. She is now creating a new project to help companies build brands that will hopefully help to alleviate the effects of this crisis in the future.

Geofrey © Geofrey Jesús González Melo, 2020

Geofrey © Geofrey Jesús González Melo, 2020

This is Geofrey Jesús González Melo from the Canary Islands. In 2019, thanks to the Youth Guarantee, he was able to secure training and a job at a hotel. However, after only a few short months, he was left unemployed when Spain plunged into a national lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. He then became homeless as he was unable to afford rent.

Luckily for Geofrey, the Youth Guarantee team were able to offer their support once again. They managed to find him a job in cleaning services, a sector less directly impacted by the crisis. And they also provided coaching, which is helping with his professional and personal development.

“I was able to get a job again. It’s a cleaning job and I’m very excited. I like my job and I want to keep moving forward. Next, I want to get my driving license."

Czechia

Tereza © Urad Prace CR/Tereza Hauschildová

Tereza © Urad Prace CR/Tereza Hauschildová

Meet Tereza Hauschildová, a hairdressing graduate from Ústí nad Labem, in northern Czechia. Thanks to the EU’s Youth Guarantee scheme and assistance from the Czech Labour Office, she got a job related to her passion.

In March 2020, Tereza joined a hairdressing traineeship at a local salon. Days later, the salon had to close due to the pandemic. But thanks toEU support, Tereza’s employer was able to provide her with training during the lockdown.

“The Youth Guarantee helped me find a job that I enjoy and I recommend it to everyone who is looking for a dream job”

For Tereza, the traineeship couldn’t have ended on a higher note - she’s been offered a permanent position at the salon and now even has her own regular customers. “In my profession, I enjoy making clients beautiful and making them also feel that way,” she concludes.

Coming out stronger

The time has never been more ripe for the EU and its countries to focus on the next generation. EU commitment to furthering the education and training of young people will help our efforts to recover, repair and emerge stronger and more resilient from the crisis. And the firepower of €750 billion under the NextGenerationEU temporary recovery instrument will help ensure that Europe’s post-crisis economy is both green and digital.