Vulnerable groups, which are refers mostly youth, women and disabled have been always common matters for regional and national labour markets. As a matter of course, all public employment services target increasing employability and employment of those groups.
For Europe, youth are particularly disadvantaged and their difficult position is sensitive in accordance with the numbers. High level of youth unemployment is still an issue in all countries in the Europe. Although in April 2017 the number of unemployed youth (under 25) in the European Union stood at 3.9 million and compared with February 2016 it decreased by 475.000 and youth unemployment rate decreased from 19.3% to 17.3%, there is yet a large variation in youth unemployment rates between Member States ranging from 6.6% in Germany to nearly 45.2% in Greece, 41.5% in Spain and 35.2% in Italy (Eurostat statistics).
EU Member States have recognized the importance and the severity of the problem of youth unemployment and its possible negative effects in the future. A range of concrete measures have been introduced to help young people into employment, further education or with their professional development. Furthermore, the right to education as one of the fundamental human rights is guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. By adopting the Lisbon Strategy and through the Bologna and Copenhagen Processes the European Union has identified education reform as one of the priorities for all EU Member States’ governments. However, successfulness of education is ultimately verified on the labour market through employment. Indeed, employment is a major prerequisite for a decent life and prosperity of youth and other population groups in each country.
All relevant data suggest that unemployment is the biggest problem for young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In percentage terms it exceeds 60%. Of that, 13.4% are unemployed for less than 12 months, half of them are unemployed for more than 2 years and 1/5 for more than 5 years.
Under this circumstances, let look on currently implemented services in the European Union?
There are four concrete measures that boost youth employment:
- Youth Guarantee Programme: to ensure that all young people under the age of twenty-five receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education;
- Youth Employment Initiative: EU financial resources to provide support to young people living in the regions where youth unemployment exceeds 25%;
- Quality traineeships and apprenticeships: to facilitate transition from school to work;
- Labour mobility: making it easier for young Europeans to find a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in another EU country.
These measures receive significant support from the European Council that has recognized youth unemployment as one of the burning issues and through its decisions set the following guidelines for future action:
- speeding up and frontloading the Youth Employment Initiative,
- speeding up the implementation of Youth Guarantee
- increased youth mobility and involvement of social partners.
The Youth Guarantee Programme does not guarantee jobs; it is rather a political instrument designed to encourage structural reforms that primarily enable fast activation of young people in shortest time possible so as to help them continue with their education or remain connected with the labour market. This measure aims to avoid inactive young people soon fall into long-term unemployment and as such face more difficulties in finding a job in a dynamic labour market.
The Sarajevo conference will be the great opportunity to present the achievements and experiences of measures for youth employment, especially the Youth Guarantee programme. Members and partners are invited to reflect experiences, challenges and ideas with this event.