With one in five young person concerned by unemployment, youth employment stands as a matter calling for urgent attention. The crisis’ consequences are still developing and young people are the first suffering from it. We have seen for the last months some actions taken at EU level and in several european countries. But often, fundings are lacking (they are not sufficient and often slow to come) and the priority given to the topic by institution doesn’t seem as important as it was stated previously. The 2014 EU agenda didn’t make sufficient room for this issue and the summit on youth employment being postponed several times is an example of that.
We need to remind people in charge about the urgency of this issue but also about the long-term implications. Such high rates of unemployment among young people mean more than just not having a job. It is not having a job at the beginning of one’s professional life. And studies showed that facing this kind of difficulties in the early professional life is a major handicap that can reflect on the whole carrier of a person. It is also betting on the future in terms of social inclusion and autonomy.
The work that has been done on quality jobs (but also on quality internships) has to be pursued. We cannot afford to let this issue drop out of the political agenda. It needs also to go one step further. More and more stakeholders have to be taken into account and a holistic approach has to be adopted. It’s not only about finding jobs, it’s about their quality, the finding of adequate skills, a more efficient forecasting of the short and long-term needs of the labour market, and the need to identify evolutions and innovations in this field (what is tomorrow’s work going to look like?).
Also, we need to stress out that employment policies cannot only revolve around enterpreneurship. If enterpreneurship is a key element to promote innovation, and to boost economic growth, not all young people are destined to become entrepreneurs. We need to ensure every young people can develop entrepreneurial skills but institutions and states shouldn’t hide behind this trend to forget about comprehensive action tackling youth unemployment!
Recently, some of our governments have taken measures to tackle the issue of youth unemployment. However, these measures are too often a short-term answer to a structural problem. The employment policies have to be re-invented, and even though the immediate answer is necessary considering the current crisis, it remains indispensable to think on a long-term basis, with a rights-based approach. I am willing to push for structural policies, and to contribute as a representative of the European Youth Forum.