Recognising that young people are at risk of becoming the victims of yet another economic downturn, the European Commission has revealed their “Youth Employment Support: A Bridge to Jobs” package and has introduced proposals to strengthen the European Youth Guarantee and update the Skills Agenda.
The Youth Guarantee was initially launched by the EU in 2013 in response to high levels of youth unemployment following the economic crisis. It commits to providing all young people with a good quality offer of employment, education or training within 4 months of becoming unemployed or leaving education.
The proposed positive improvements address some of the gaps in its implementation of the previous years. For instance, the Youth Guarantee will now apply to under 30, instead of under 25 – this is important, as transitions have become longer, and more support will be needed in the context of this new crisis. Moreover, there will be a focus on providing opportunities for young people to gain digital and green skills to prepare them for the changing world of work.
There is also more emphasis on making the Youth Guarantee more inclusive, for example by providing improved support for young people who have not been in employment, education or training in the long-term. The need for stronger outreach and ongoing support has also been noted.
However, the low quality of Youth Guarantee offers is still one of the most significant flaws of the Youth Guarantee. Therefore, we join the European Youth Forum and others in the call for quality standards at European level to be developed to make the Youth Guarantee a success. Unfortunately, the Commission proposal falls short on this important aspect. While recognising the issue, the Commission only proposes linking the quality of Youth Guarantee offers to existing EU policies such as the Quality Framework for Traineeships. However, this will not be enough to tackle the very high rates of precarious work among young people – which is often low-paid and provides little employment or social protection.
It will now be up to the Member States to adopt the Commission’s proposal for the Reinforced Youth Guarantee.
In recent years, Eurodiaconia has been advocating with many other stakeholders for the Youth Guarantee to be strengthened. This reinforcement of the Youth Guarantee comes at a worrying time for youth, as they risk becoming the ‘lockdown generation’. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis 1 in 6 young people have stopped work according to a survey by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in partnership with the European Youth Forum.
We will continue advocating for young people to have quality opportunities through the Youth Guarantee!
To find out more about the reinforced Youth Guarantee, please visit the Commission’s website.