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Photo credit: Christophe Vander Eecken

The EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment

With the new EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway aim to support measures that promote youth employment across Europe. 

Despite positive tendencies in 2016, access to a functional, decent labour market continues to be a challenge for young people in Europe. The effects of exclusion from the labour market are serious and a threat towards the development of social and economic cohesion. Besides being a waste of human potential and talent, unemployment puts young people at risk of poverty and social exclusion, challenging the individuals welfare, health and future.  

The EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021 are set up to contribute to the reduction of social and economic disparities in Europe. Recognising the strong link between social and economic equality and participation in the labour market, measures addressing youth employment are encouraged throughout the various programmes of the EEA and Norway Grants. In addition, the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment specifically aims to support transnational project initiatives that promote sustainable and quality youth employment.

€60 million has been set aside for projects under this Fund. Please see Call for Proposals for more information. 

European solutions to European challenges

The Fund’s focus on transnational cooperation reflects the view that unemployment among youth is a common European challenge and common European solutions should therefore be explored. Eligible entities in the 15 beneficiary countries of the EEA and Norway Grants as well as Italy, Ireland and Spain are encouraged to form partnerships to apply for funding.

Target groups

The target group of the Fund is young people between 15 and 29, with a special focus on the 25-29 year olds. Projects developing solutions for

  • the long-term unemployed;
  • discouraged people who have stopped looking for work,
  • inactive women caring for children or incapacitated adults,
  • ethnic minorities including Roma,
  • asylum-seekers,
  • the low-skilled,
  • people with mental health issues and
  • the disabled

are of particular interest to the Fund.

Sharing experience and know-how

Projects supported under the Fund are expected to benefit identified target groups within the 15 beneficiary countries, Ireland, Italy and Spain. Project partnerships may invite expertise partners from other EU member countries, the donor countries and international organisations to support the projects by sharing their expertise, experience and know-how. 

The Norwegian Pueblo Project (below) is an example of a successful donor country project that may act as an expertise partner. 

The Pueblo Project

The Pueblo Project (“Pøbelprosjektet”), which was launched by the Norwegian Eddi Eidsvåg in 2007, is successfully addressing young people who lack the self-discipline and social skills required for the labour market. They are often secondary school drop-outs who have failed in conforming to the traditional school system and may end up as juvenile delinquents. The project provides an intensive, six-week training programme and a rich and growing array of follow-up activities. With its “tough love” approach, the Pueblo Project has succeeded in evoking in its participants both a heightened sense of self-worth and a deeper understanding of the consequences of dropping out, and it also serves as an effective substitute for the absence of a supportive family structure in the lives of most of the participants.

Complementing those activities, the Pueblo Project has also developed effective linkages with more than a thousand employers across Norway who regard the successful completion of the project’s training programme as a trusted “seal of approval” when they are hiring new, entry level employees.

The Pueblo Project is a Norwegian success story. In the period 2007-2015 about 2,200 young people entered the programme. Only 9% discontinued the programme, while the remaining 2,000 are either working (50%), in education or training (20%), taking part in other work-based learning activities (29%) or receive treatment or participate in other types of initiatives (1%).

You can read more about the project on their website: http://pobelprosjektet.no/