What is the EU's role?

To promote youth employment and entrepreneurship, the EU and its member countries work together to:

  • Address the concerns of young people in employment strategies
  • Invest in the skills employers look for
  • Develop career guidance and counselling services
  • Promote opportunities to work and train abroad
  • Support quality internships/apprenticeships
  • Improve childcare and shared family responsibilities
  • Encourage entrepreneurship

How is this being done?

Increasing youth employment is central to the EU's employment policy, within the context of the Europe 2020 growth and jobs strategy. Specific steps taken by the Commission to help tackle youth unemployment include:

  • The Youth on the Move flagship initiative (2010), a comprehensive package of education and employment measures for young people. It includes:
  • The Youth Employment Package (2012), including the:
    • Youth Guarantee – adopted by the Council in April 2013 – which aims to ensure that all young people up to the age of 25 receive a quality job offer, the opportunity for further education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within 4 months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed;
    • Quality Framework for Traineeships – adopted by the Council in March 2014. Its objective is for trainees to acquire high-quality work experience in safe and fair conditions, and to encourage more transnational traineeships;
    • European Alliance for Apprenticeships Choose translations of the previous link , which brings together public authorities, businesses, social partners, VET providers, youth representatives, and other key actors to promote apprenticeship schemes and initiatives across Europe.
  • The Youth Employment Initiative (2013) strengthens the Youth Employment Package. It emphasises support for young people not in education, employment or training in regions with a youth unemployment rate above 25 %. A budget of €6 billion has been allocated to this for the period 2014-20;
  • Working together for Europe's young people – a call to action on youth unemployment (2013), a communication aimed at accelerating the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, boosting investment in young people, and developing EU-level tools to help EU countries and firms recruit young people.
  • The European Solidarity Corps was launched in December 2016. The European Solidarity Corps allows young people to volunteer or work in projects for the benefit of communities and people around Europe. The European Solidarity Corps is open to people between the ages of 18 to 30. 17-year-olds can register their interest in participating.

Youth entrepreneurship

Youth entrepreneurship is high on the EU political agenda as a tool to combat youth unemployment and social exclusion as well as stimulating innovation among young people:

Youth work and non-formal learning play an important role in developing the creative and innovative potential of young people including entrepreneurial skills. Youth policy and programmes at EU and national level support this:


Find out more