Today, the Commission launches its initiative Investing in Europe’s Youth, outlining measures to boost youth employment, improve and modernise education, increase investment in skills of young people, and to enhance better opportunities to learn and study abroad.
The initiative covers four key areas of critical importance for young people
- studying and working abroad
- education and training
- solidarity and participation
The Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative were launched three years ago. There are now 1.6 million less young unemployed in the EU since 2013 and 900,000 less young people not in employment, education or training. These trends suggest that the Youth Guarantee, backed up by the Youth Employment Initiative, has helped make a difference on the ground. Around 9 million young people took up an offer, the majority of which were offers of employment.
To ensure a full and sustainable implementation of the Youth Guarantee and to roll it out in the regions which need it most, the Commission recently proposed to add an extra €2 billion to continue rolling out the Youth Guarantee across Europe and support an additional 1 million young people by 2020.
On 4 October 2016, the Commission reported on the main achievements of the existing Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) since their launch in 2013.
Studying and working abroad
Youth employability also needs to be enhanced. Learning and studying in another country has proven to be of great added value for young people to
- develop their skills,
- improve their career chances
- enhance European citizenship.
More young people, from all layers of society, should profit from these opportunities. The Commission will therefore launch "ErasmusPro", a new dedicated activity within the Erasmus+ programme to support long-duration placements of apprentices abroad.
Education and training
High quality education is one of the best investments a society can make. Evidence shows, however, that a high share of young people do not acquire the necessary knowledge, skills or competences they need for the labour market, be it
- basic skills (such as reading or mathematics) or
- key competencies (such as digital skills or an entrepreneurial mindset).
The New Skills Agenda for Europe already announced specific measures to develop and use better the skills of Europeans, with a particular focus on adult learning, vocational education and training, and higher education. With the "Investing in Europe's Youth" initiative, the Commission is placing a particular emphasis on school and higher education and the quick roll-out of the youth-related actions of the New Skills Agenda for Europe.
The Commission will also propose a Quality Framework for Apprenticeships setting out key principles for the design and delivery of apprenticeships at all levels. A demand driven apprenticeships support service will be set up in 2017, supporting countries introducing or reforming apprenticeship systems.
Solidarity and participation
The European Solidarity Corps, which will give participants the opportunity to be placed with a project either for
- a traineeship
- an apprenticeship
- a job
for a period between 2 and 12 months.
During his 2016 State of the Union address, European Commission President Juncker announced his intention to step up efforts in support of youth. He notably announced the creation of a European Solidarity Corps, as part of a broader policy agenda geared towards the inclusion of young people in society.