Youth Participation in the Labour Market

Young men doing renovation work

About

Many young people in Europe struggle to find work. This limits their quality of life and weakens European economies.  Helping European youth fully explore their potential is a key step in building a prosperous future for all.

The Challenge

In 2017, 15.5% of young people between the ages of 20-24 in the EU were neither in employment, nor in education or training (NEET). There are several challenges that need to be addressed to improve the situation. These include:

Lack of decent jobs

Despite positive tendencies in recent years, many young people in Europe still struggle to find quality jobs. On average, 16.8% of persons aged between 15 and 24 were unemployed in 2017, a figure even higher in the Euro area.Despite positive tendencies in recent years, many young people in Europe still struggle to find quality jobs. On average, 16.8% of persons aged between 15 and 24 were unemployed in 2017, a figure even higher in the Euro area.

Risk of social exclusion

Unemployment puts young people at risk of poverty and prevents them from fully participating in society. This can take a toll on their health, wellbeing and professional future.

Unequal social and economic development in Europe

Besides being a waste of human potential and talent, youth unemployment poses a serious threat towards an equal social and economic development in Europe.

Discrimination of vulnerable groups

Young people with disabilities and mental health disorders are especially vulnerable in the job market, as they have usually been unemployed for long periods of time and discouraged from seeking work. Other minority groups, like disabled people or ethnic minorities, also experience discrimination.

Our Approach

Our goal

We aim to increase the number of young people between the ages of 15 and 30 in employment.

How?

The challenges young people face are linked to many different factors such as experience, education and access to social services and protection. We therefore aim to address youth unemployment with a comprehensive approach, including initiatives such as:  

  • Strengthening vocational education, training systems and work-based learning
  • Helping young people join the job market, such as by strengthening apprenticeship programmes and by exploring new solutions for job creation
  • Reshaping labour market policy and institutions to facilitate access to the job market, especially among those at risk for social exclusion
  • Supporting social protection mechanisms and providing good quality career guidance services.

Download the overview of our support to Youth Participation in the Labour Market to see the full list of suggested activities.

In addition to the regular programmes, youth unemployment is also addressed in the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Unemployment. Projects supported through the Fund must include cooperation across national borders. Participating organisations can come from any of the 15 beneficiary countries, the three donor countries, as well as Ireland, Italy and Spain. Visit the page for the Fund for Youth Unemployment for more information.