This study investigated sport’s contribution to the employability of young NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy. Its aim was to identify the key components needed to effectively produce outcomes in sport for employability programmes.

An in-depth investigation was conducted of 10 selected case study organisations in 8 different European Member States. A theoretical framework provided the basis for data collection and analysis. In total, 85 in-depth interviews in 4 different languages were conducted with programme designers, social workers, sport coaches, participants and former participants. Documents, field notes and follow-up interviews provided more understanding of the complexity of the workings of each case study organisation and their programme. A generic ‘programme theory’ for optimal sport for employability programmes was then developed which identified the key components, mechanisms, relationships and a presumed sequence of causes and effects. Because of its normative nature, the theory serves as a set of guiding principles and recommendations. It can be used as a robust basis for monitoring and evaluation of existing programmes, as well as to optimise design and implementation of future initiatives. Insights from this study also provided the basis for a number of policy recommendations.

Study on the contribution of sport to the employability of young people in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy


Study on the contribution of sport to the employability of young people in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy


In the Council Conclusions on the contribution of sport to the EU economy adopted in November 2013, the Commission was invited to launch a study to assess the contribution of sport to the employability of young people. It has been conducted by a consortium led by Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and composed of Vrije Universiteit Brussel , Streetfootballworld, ENGSO Youth and VDAB.

Youth unemployment continues to be a major challenge for the European Union (EU) and its Member States. In 2014, the EU 28 youth unemployment rate stood at 21.4 %. Young people have been hit disproportionately hard by the economic crisis. Across all EU Member States youth unemployment rates are generally much higher than the unemployment rates for other age groups. These developments have serious consequences not only for the individuals concerned but also for society and the wider economy. Long-term unemployment may intensify marginalization, leading to poverty and even greater risk of social exclusion. Sport contributes to combatting youth unemployment, to enhancing young people's employability and to ensuring labour market participation of vulnerable young people facing specific challenges.

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