The first Member States have expressed their commitment to implement the Commission's new initiative ALMA (‘Aim, Learn, Master, Achieve') to support disadvantaged young people on their way into the job market or further education.
At an event on youth employment organised by the Commission last week, it announced that so far more than half of Member States have committed to introduce ALMA in their countries. In addition, already eight Member States have pledged to set aside around €270 million for the ALMA initiative under their European Social Fund (ESF+) programmes according to current estimates. More pledges are expected to follow, allowing young people from across Europe to benefit from this new initiative.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life, said: "With ALMA, we want to help young people find their way in life and succeed where the system so far has failed them. It is about bringing Europe closer to society. Providing work experience, improving youth employment and life prospects for young Europeans. The hope of our present, the enablers of a brighter future.”
Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said: "The EU is offering support to all young people and in particular those who struggle. By participating in ALMA, disadvantaged young people will gain confidence, trust and the belief that they can succeed in life. The Commission is very committed to making ALMA a success.”
During the event held on 12 May, government representatives as well as representatives of the International Labour Organisation, social partners, companies, and public employment services discussed the challenges and opportunities related to youth employment.
They also shared their views on how to make a success of the new social inclusion mobility programme, ALMA. Young people from Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Sweden came to Brussels to share their stories on how they benefitted from programmes similar to ALMA, and the transformative effect it had on their lives.
In her State of the Union address, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the new ALMA initiative to be launched during the European Year of Youth 2022. She said: “Europe needs all of its youth. We must step up our support to those who fall into the gaps – those not in any kind of employment, education or training. For them, we will put in place a new programme, ALMA.”
ALMA is an active-inclusion initiative for disadvantaged young people (aged 18-30 years) that are not in employment, education or training. Accompanied by intensive training, it will offer participants a supervised work-related learning experience for a period of 2 to 6 months in another EU Member State.
The objective of ALMA is to improve the skills, knowledge and experience of participants so that they can find their way into the job market or education once they are back in their home country, and to give them the opportunity to create new connections across Europe.
Member States are encouraged to commit resources as appropriate from their European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) programmes 2021-2027 to implement the ALMA initiative. In addition, the Commission provides administrative assistance to support Member States in setting-up and implementing this initiative.
With this new initiative, the Commission reaffirms its commitment in the European Pillar of Social Rights to tackle inequalities and offer active support to employment and skilling, especially for disadvantaged young people. ALMA will also help to implement the Youth Guarantee that was reinforced in 2020. In doing so, ALMA will complement existing programmes supporting mobility of young people like Erasmus Plus or the European Solidarity Corps.