|Project Youth in the Labour Market
FINAL CONFERENCE OF PROJECT "YOUTH IN THE LABOUR MARKET (YLM)" HELD
On Tuesday, 5 July 2011, the final conference of the project “Youth in the labour market (YLM)” was held at the Sheraton hotel in Zagreb. The project with the duration of 18 months was implemented within Component IV ("Human Resources Development") of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), by the Croatian Employment Service as beneficiary institution and the consortium led by German company Gopa Consultants as partners. The overall objective of the project was to reduce youth unemployment at the regional level and its purpose to promote and foster employment of youth at the regional level (following the partnership approach) through development and implementation of active labour market policy.
The 3 main outputs achieved through the project are:
• An Analytical Report on the attitudes of young unemployed people and of employers in 8 counties, selected for having the most prominent problems with youth unemployment;
• A series of Youth Employment Action Plans (YEAPs) designed to contain measures to tackle youth unemployment in those 8 counties;
• A range of new youth-focused services for the CES to enable them to deal more effectively with young unemployed people.
“The youth are a specific group on the labour market, characterized by the lack of working experience and practical skills which makes them very vulnerable on the labour market and accordingly prone to long-term unemployment. At the end of June 2011, the youth aged 15-29 constitute 30,7% and youth between 15 and 24 17,1% of the total number of registered unemployed. The youth stays on the CES register averagely for 6 to 12 months and young women are at higher risk of long-term unemployment. On the other hand, in the period from January to June 2011, 22.948 young people (aged 15-24) was employed which makes 24,5% of total number of employed persons in that period. However, it should be noted that young people are still mostly employed through the fixed-term work contracts”, emphasised the Director General of the Croatian Employment Service, Ms. Ankica Paun Jarallah.
“The Analytical Report provided us – and, we hope, policy-makers - with real insights into the youth unemployment situation through the eyes of the main protagonists”, said Mike Chambers, the project’s team leader. “Employers tend to look on young recruits as ‘stop gaps’ rather than to see them as investments into their future prosperity; the fact that most young people are on short-term contracts, reflects the short-term thinking among some employers”, he said. “Also, work experience is seen as vital to employers, although they show some reluctance to provide it. This can lead to long-term unemployment among young people – they can’t get a job without work experience, and they can’t find places to get that experience.”
Some of the measures in the YEAPs have been designed to address this problem. “The YEAPs are very different from ‘normal’ action plans”, said Davide Branco, the project’s HRD and labour market expert. “We worked intensively with stakeholders in the 8 counties, and helped them not only to identify the key priorities regarding youth unemployment, but then spent a long time working out detailed measures to tackle the problems.” The result is more than 50 measures among the 8 counties, all of which are so detailed that they can be extracted from the YEAPs, and, with minor modification, submitted to secure funding from a variety of sources. “We wanted to help produce something that was of real value to the counties”, said Mr Branco, “ We hope – and expect – that many of the measures will be funded in the near future.”
The range of new youth-focused CES services was given publicity at an event, also at the Sheraton Hotel at the beginning of June. “Young people need the same job-seeking skills as anyone else”, said Mike Chambers, “but they also need more attention and direction. After all, they’ve only recently emerged from the classroom, and are often still within their family units. They have been receiving direction for most of their young lives, and it’s hardly surprising that they continue to need it when they approach the world of work.” The new initiatives for the CES proposed through the project include Job Clubs, advocating volunteering as a means of acquiring the much-needed work experience, and promoting self employment.
“This has been a very enjoyable project to work on”, concluded Mr. Chambers. “We have met with many dedicated and professional people in the CES and among the many stakeholders we have worked with. We thank them all for their contribution to our work, and hope that our contribution to their work has been useful, and will continue to improve the youth unemployment situation into the future.”