Magazine article European Social Policy

Education Council : Youth Unemployment: Ministers under Pressure

Magazine article European Social Policy

Education Council : Youth Unemployment: Ministers under Pressure

Article excerpt

The 27 member states agree that early, targeted and intelligent intervention, involving the world of work and the world of education, is needed to reduce youth unemployment in Europe. At the Education Council, on 10 February, the ministers were asked to identify policy measures to be taken in 2012 at national and European level to combat today's high levels of youth unemployment and to lessen the social impact of the crisis for young people. "Unemployment is a waste of human talent. When 14% of our pupils leave school early, something is not working correctly," said the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou. She urged member states to redouble the efforts being made under their national reform programmes.

At the request of the Danish EU Council Presidency, four member states initiated the debate. Cyprus presented its programme to reduce early school leaving, based on prevention and early intervention. Germany described its work-linked training system, which is supported financially by companies. Slovakia presented its communication strategy aimed at raising awareness of employment prospects and curricula among young people and their families, while Ireland presented its 35-week programme, divided into 12 weeks of training in new computer skills, 11 weeks of work in a company and another 12 weeks of training. The other member states (plus Croatia) then outlined their respective national situations.

The states also suggested a number of possible measures for the European level. France called for the establishment of a European plan for work-linked training, based on mobility and quality (apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities, possibly through the introduction of a framework). Paris also supports simplification of procedures under the European Social Fund to enable it to make a greater contribution to combating early school leaving. …

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