Job creation, smooth transition from school to work, open access to an inclusive labour market and EU solidarity in terms of funding are some of the main challenges EU and member states policy makers are faced with when it comes to successfully tackling youth unemployment.
These were the key challenges outlined by head of the Presidency Conference Scientific Committee, Professor Gabriel Amitsis to delegates of a Cyprus EU Council Presidency Conference on youth unemployment, in Nicosia, on Monday, during the plenary session.
On his part, Eurofound Research Manager Massimiliano Mascherini stressed the need for coordinated action, presenting alarming data on youth unemployment and cautioning at the same time of the economic and social resulting cost if the current situation persists.
According to the data he presented, Cyprus, alongside Britain and Latvia is categorised as having a high level of youth unemployment, standing between 14% and 17%.
More efforts should be made to increase the provision of twin - track learning geared to labour market needs, stressed Amitsis during his intervention, adding that stronger commitment of business as well as public sector is needed to provide work and training opportunities to young people.
It is important, he said, to create quality, stable jobs and appropriate working conditions.
At the same time, he noted that European leaders and stakeholders should discuss measures that guarantee social protection and easier access to the labour market to those left outside.
It is essential, he added, to implement those labour market reforms that can contribute to opening up labour markets to young job seekers and entrepreneurs.
He suggested that the exchange of good practices among member states will benefit not only solidarity between them but also contribute to coherence in approaches and policies.
Amitsis further stressed that the best possible use of EU financial support that is available should be made.
On his part, Mascherini said that in most countries, youth unemployment rate doubled or tripled since 2007. Unemployment, he noted, affected all young people with the biggest increase (50%) recorded among young people with tertiary education.
The youth employment rate in the second quarter of 2012 dropped to 32.8%, that is to say 18.7 million young people. Conversely, youth unemployment reached in August 22.7%, which corresponds in absolute numbers to 5.5 million young people. That figure has increased by 7% since August 2007.
Referring to Young People Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEETs), he pointed out that research shows that more so than others they show no interest or involvement for politics have no trust in society and have no social participation.
The size of the problem and the costs call for new policy action, he pointed out.
To that effect, Mascherini noted that the effectiveness of policy measures should be assessed, suggesting at the same time that coordinated action between governments and social partners at the local or national levels might be key for the success of initiatives.
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