Youth Employment Magazine - Issue 18

Page 1

New habits, cooperation, learning from mistakes

Credits: Cowork4 YOUTH & YOUTHShare Open Event

Youth Employment Magazine N. 18

MAY 2022


Youth Employment Magazine

Contents 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 18 20 22 25 27 29 30 32 34 36 37 39 41 42 44 44 45 46 47 48 50 52 54 55

Director’s Editorial Devising future educational systems that are fit for purpose: A two-way street YOUTHShare Open Event: Back in Italy! A YOUTHShare Success Story: From Beneficiary to Key Account Manager Cowork4YOUTH Open Event in Potenza a success! Youth (Un)Employment: a common challenge for EU Innovation Bootcamp in Albania Themes of the month Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic RAISE Youth Project reflections A healthy environment for all Educational perspectives for young people. What should we change? The psychological situation of youngsters during the pandemic in Greece Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic Schools, institutions, public administration. What should we change? What are you trying to change to create an environment closer to young people's new habits and needs? Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic - Women4IT Project Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic - YES! Project How schools can support the next generation of young entrepreneurs Effective remote measures for young people during the COVID-19 pandemic Creating an environment closer to youth’s habits and needs: YOUTHShare’s role in the process The Pandemic on a Country going through Digital Transition Schools, institutions, public administration. What should we change in order to create an environment closer to young people's new habits and needs? News from the Projects New #YEPartnerSHIP outreach report on Italy: The role of Public Employment Services in the job search behaviour of Italian NEETs Internship contracts in Spain: a stepping stone or a hurdle towards job stability? Youth labour market before and after COVID-19 “Youth employment policy” Conference YEP seminar on youth employment measures in CEE, Budapest, 12-13 May 2022 Project Feel it! (re) cognition of emotions in the world of popular culture. How to talk about emotions with students in an interesting way SEPAL study visit in Brussels, in the field of vocational training and labour market mediation Start of training in all countries StayOn Project and partnership work inspire !1


Youth Employment Magazine 56 57 60 61 62 64 65 66 69 70 72 74 77 79

Blue Generation Project Updates Interview with Juan José Torres, Director of the Public Service of Ocupation of Catalonia (SOC) New workshop in the framework of Young Entrepreneurs Succeed! program Being NEET in Youthspaces of the EU South: A Post-recession Regional Perspective Between Mistakes and Biases Is there a uniform NEET identity in the European Union? YOUTHShare present at the 2nd Workshop by StartUPiraeus Support Centre Project CODE at Tartu Art School - graduates’ experiences New training course in 3D modelling in Game design and graphic design presentation of games will be organized under CODE project Disengagement and Social Cohesion: are individualised approaches enough? The Cowork4YOUTH project: a discussion with its Principal Investigator Youth Employment Policies: a literature review LEAD Project, Romania: Interest in introducing Supported Employment as a new service for people with disabilities, recognized by law Contributors & Credits

!2


Youth Employment Magazine

Director’s Editorial Dear Family, two months have just elapsed from our last issue and … how many news we have to talk about. I am just coming back from an important live event involving two Youth Employment’s Projects, therefore, I would like to start from this. First of all, as it is one of my first real, live, concrete encounters after Covid outburst (even if hybrid). This means that we, step by step, are moving to go over it. Secondly, because I am really grateful about this initiative. How many times I talked about clusters, knowledge transfer, dissemination, etc. Well… I have been in Potenza for a joint event with two of our Projects and, once more, since we are together with all of you, those theoretical words were transformed into concrete actions. I said ‘once more’ since our SEPAL already did it. Do you remember the ‘Let’s NEET together’? I do. I remember it has been, and still remains, a successful concretisation of the direction we already wanted to set. The only ‘disadvantage’ (in quotes because it was really a success), was its online nature. Like it was our Regional Funds Week, where you all collaborated creating synergies between the Youth Employment Fund and the Regional Cooperation Fund, and we reached more than 900 visitors to the exhibition. Not sufficient, we deserve more! Last week, involving two YE Projects, while tackling also some of the same topics and issues, we were physically together. And, while returning back by train, I wonder how success would have tripled if pandemic hadn’t been among us. However, we cannot change our past. But, considering these initiatives, we can only look forward. And that is what YOUTHShare and COWORK4Youth did: organising a physical event to talk about solutions for local NEETs. And with a national (therefore, global) prospect. That is exactly what I meant, already some years ago, when talking about the Projects’ natural thrust, and also need, to ‘cluster’. Clustering activities, therefore the necessity to put together activities and objectives following the same directions while arising from different specific goals, are that. If the Fund for Youth Employment is still able to do that, and additionally in presence, this means that my/our assumptions were a reality. In Potenza (Italy), old best practices from a more mature Project were transferred with the intention to create new inspiring practices: the Projects worked with respect to the same target group, NEETs, trying to find innovative solution towards an issue to which we have been living together for years now. And the best part, apart from the fact that all those points could be transferred to a national/global (therefore glocal) dimension, is that I am sure that all of you can recognise its activities as a concrete part of this specific work. Clustering is this. I hope that all of you can follow this direction. As usual, the Fund Operator is here to support you, as well as it is supporting all the rest of your several activities in relation to the Youth Employment goals. And, now that the clustering among Projects seems to be an understood concept, I have to ask also our research Projects to try to be less ‘jealous’ about their data and start to cooperate and share also with the other projects. Don’t miss the Youth Employment Forum! CLICK to go to the forum: http:// yeforum.eu/ !! !3


Youth Employment Magazine Now, please let me call you for another challenge. The additional 8 projects of the “Unlocking Youth Potential” call are now all in full operation. The YE website will be soon updated with all their links. We are now with more than 225 partners operating in 25 Countries. It is now time to enhance also national dialogue among partners. I will call all of you, Country by Country, for a short networking meeting as soon as possible. Not surprisingly, indeed, scrolling the contributions coming from all our Projects for this issue, I see that everything is linked. This means that you are working towards the achievement of the same goals. From schools to the actual change of labour market’s dynamics. Not forgetting that, even if now we can start living without masks, the consequences of the pandemic are still affecting our society, especially young people. Please follow some reflections linked to our project monitoring activities written by our new junior colleague Victoria. Also notice another success story: after Alina, we have now also Claudia; welcome! But we continue to be full of interesting news coming from all our Projects. For example, during the Annual Review Meeting with our Donors, we remembered the Social Innovators Projects, included as one of the best practices examples by project SHOUT! (Erasmus +), BeeCounsel Project, which is visible on tv and radio, and again YOUTHShare recognised by CEDEFOP (and finally, in this issue, we also include two more academic deliverables of the Project which are currently online, published in two of the most prominent Journals for Youth Studies). And last but not least…. Go and have a look about the most recent updates coming from Tirana, 2022 Capital of Youth. Just an anticipation, considering again youth: as in relation to our Donors engagement to participate to the EYY2022, you know already that our colleague Mateusz will ask you for some additional works and contribution. We are consolidating the ideas with the FMO and will try to publish a special edition of the MAG: be ready, be inspired! At the same time, I see with pleasure that a lot of Projects are re-starting physical trainings: that is the best way we have to continue our mission. While we all have to recognise, talking about the theme of this month, that school is one of the institutions that suffered the most. Without mincing words, our friend Tom (shall we call him Uncle Tom from now on?) is making the point: «Children entering education now will be young adults in 2040. Innovative educational and employment strategies need to be devised to prepare for the new and emerging landscapes. Schools and educational establishments must prepare their charges for an ever-evolving employment sector, to train them for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated. It will be a shared responsibility to seize opportunities and find solutions». If we think about that, I trust we all agree that finding solutions is part of our duties. Gian Luca Bombarda The Fund Director

!4


Youth Employment Magazine

Devising future educational systems that are fit for purpose: A two-way street The 21 st century has suffered ignoble beginnings with terrorism, a deadly pandemic and near global conflict all vying for headlines in the still young century. We are facing unprecedented challenges – political, social, economic and environmental – driven by accelerating globalisation and the disappointments of interdependence. We are now also witnessing the downside of global supply chains and structures; a faster and dizzying rate of scientific and technological development; environmental degradation fuelled by an increasingly accelerating climate change. At the same time, those forces are challenging us for new responses, providing us with many opportunities for human advancement and ingenuity. The future is uncertain and unpredictable, but we need to take it on with resilience and inventiveness; to be open and ready for the challenges and setbacks. Children entering education now will be young adults in 2040. Innovative educational and employment strategies need to be devised to prepare for the new and emerging landscapes. Schools and educational establishments must prepare their charges for an ever-evolving employment sector, to train them for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve

problems that have not yet been anticipated. It will be a shared responsibility to seize opportunities and find solutions. To navigate through such uncertainty, new thinking, diverse skill sets and toolkits are necessary. The passive approach to education no longer fits the bill and can’t survive, but needs to be replaced by a more inclusive, participatory, and mutual/joint approach. Students will need to develop curiosity, imagination, resilience and self-regulation; to respect and appreciate the ideas, perspectives and values of others; and to learn to cope with failure and rejection, and to move forward in the face of adversity. Their motivation will be more than factors contributing to the creaking conveyor belt of securing a good job and high income; they will also need to care about the well-being of their fellow human beings, their communities and the planet. More empathy, more tolerance, more humanity. Education can equip learners with agency and a sense of purpose, and the competencies they need to shape their own lives and contribute to the lives of others, but education needs to evolve apace with the shifting societal, national and international backdrops. Answers to two far-reaching questions will guide thinking and strategies according to a

recent OECD report, from which this article draws background: • What knowledge, skills, attitudes and values will today's students need to thrive and shape their world? • How can instructional systems develop these knowledge, skills, attitudes and values effectively? There are many factors influencing what educational establishments and institutions may look like in the near future, in 20 years: unprecedented global forces and unforeseen technologies and paradigm shifts will drive the ways students want to learn and teachers want to instruct. The future of education will require educators to be more entrepreneurial, collaborative, creative and innovative. Additionally, students will be even more tech savvy, demanding, confident and focused as consumers of education. Today’s learners are digital natives. They are accustomed to mining for information and meeting those needs with a click of a button in a user-friendly, personal and customisable way. Future educators will have to face the fact that students will need (and want) to learn in a flexible, personalised format — for some, this may mean having a more technologyfocused classroom. !5


Youth Employment Magazine Students will want their learning experience to meet their interests, time constraints and academic needs. In addition to personalisation, students want a more active and less passive role, to have a greater voice in their education instead of simply listening to a lecture. Since higher levels of thinking and learning require more student ownership, education will become more project based — a pivotal theme moving forward. Schools will need to allow students to choose what they learn, how they learn and what projects they participate in. In addition to having more project-based instructional models, schools will need to examine their core curriculum. Contrary to the old-school traditions housed in English, math, social studies and science, educational institutions will need to redesign curricula and courses to reflect the skills mandated by emerging economies and technologies. Skills such as, inter alia, coding, graphical illustration, design, and financial literacy will have to be integrated and taught in classroom curricula. Cross cultural dialogue, tolerance and understanding have never been as important as in today’s world. Media can contribute as much towards these elements as they can t o w a rd s m i s i n f o r m a t i o n , c o n fl i c t a n d dissonance.

A necessary adjunct to the skills outlined above concerns Media Literacy, a potent weapon to counter the forces of disinformation and misinformation. People are entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. It is important to distinguish between fact and opinion. Online fake news has, sadly, become the new norm. Media literacy is a 21st. century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyse, evaluate, create and participate with messages and information in a variety of forms – from print to video to the internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.

women to social movements fighting inequality, racial discrimination and climate change, young people actively participate in the public debate through non-institutionalised channels. But more is needed in response. Educational institutions can help by promoting participatory democracy from an early age through the establishment of junior councils, by the creation of the necessary dialogue structures to ensure youth have input into policies and programmes that affect their lives and livelihoods. Education is very much a twoway street, not a one – way system with ‘route barre’ signs to partnership, ownership and inclusiveness.

Thomas Mc Grath Our Irish Journalist

The next generation of students will expect more of a mentoring relationship from their teachers, which is not the norm in schools today. Moves will continue away from ‘what to think’ to ‘how to think.’ Since more students will be learning and gathering information without attending school in person, future teachers will have to embrace various ways of staying connected and engaging with their students via social media, creating online communities. Many of these models have, inadvertently, been essayed during the Covid lockdowns and deprivations. Young people continue to demonstrate agency in the public sphere - from online campaigns raising awareness about violence against !6


Youth Employment Magazine

YOUTHShare Open Event: Back in Italy! On May 27th the Open Event of the YOUTHShare project took place at the Polo BiBlioteca in Potenza, Italy. A large online and physically present crowd attended the meeting, including the managers and researchers of the project, local policy makers, stakeholders and beneficiaries. The project was honoured also by the attendance and intervention by Mr Gian Luca Bombarda, Fund Director of the EEA & Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment. The event was organized by the Regional Agency for Employment and Training (ARLAB), beneficiary partner of YOUTHShare, and moderated by Mr Francesco Paolo di Ginosa, General Director of ARLAB. Mr Canio Alfieri Sabia, DG of Economic Development of the Basilicata Region, addressed the event. He stressed the need to discuss ideas and new methods to involve the young in the employment process. Mr Sabia noted the experience of a former programme implemented by the Region, regarding the motivation to businesses to hire young people supported by public institutions for a period of 3 years. “Sometimes a company needs a person but can’t afford one”, Mr Sabia concluded. Professor Stelios Gialis, project manager and principal invetsogator of the YOUTHShare project, stressed that many interventions are needed in the area of Basilicata since many people are inactive -not just unemployed- and without any motivation. The data already collected in the framework of the project showed that almost 25% of people aged 15-29 are NEETs. Dr Gialis noted that we need to motivate young people not only to find a job, but also to stay within the labour market and the region. Turning to the project itself, Dr Gialis said that YOUTHShare is currently in a very productive phase, still delivering results. More specifically, he mentioned the activities of the Transnational Employment Centre which offered training, internships, job matching and career support to more than 600 young people. He concluded by mentioning that projects like YOUTHShare of course don’t change the world, but they give some brilliant ideas on how to start making this change. The open event was also the opportunity to present some success stories of beneficiaries and mentors. The current Key Account Manager (KAM) of the Italian branch of the Employment Centre, Ms Claudia Caggiano, started as a beneficiary and after completing the training, she found herself given the unique opportunity to become the next KAM. Now, in the framework of YOUTΗShare, Ms Caggiano said that tailored engagement, targeted counselling and staying in touch with the beneficiaries, in tandem with vigorous outreaching, is a key to the success of the project goals. Ms Caggiano concluded by giving some interesting numbers. Currently more than 30 people are in contact with the project. Mr Constantino Kounas, local management at ARLAB, took the floor, and talked about the support to social enterprises. He presented the Join2Share platform and the opportunities that provides to NEETs, mentors and social enterprises alike and supports all parties that consider starting a social enterprise. !7


Youth Employment Magazine From seminars and webinars for NEETs to funding, legal and accounting support, the interested young unemployed people make use of a multiplicity of available tools and services to make their ideas come true.

Dr Ioannis Papageorgiou, Communication Manager of YOUTHShare, talked about the path for the future of the project. He started by realizing that, despite successes, there’s no room for relaxation. Youth unemployment is still here with us and people need structured social and political intervention our help in the sense of a structural social and political intervention to address the phenomenon. In the future the YOUTHShare project will establish the Youth Employment Monitor, an observatory for youth unemployment in South Europe. In that framework, the YOUTHShare project will train young NEETs as data analysts to staff the Monitor and produce policy recommendations for local and regional policy makers and more focused scientific papers.

The Open Event was concluded by Mr Gian Luca Bombarda, who noted the importance of clustering between projects of the Fund for Youth Employment for the benefit of the NEETs, as well as the hard work that needs to be done in the future! YOUTHShare Project

!8


Youth Employment Magazine

A YOUTHShare Success Story: From Beneficiary to Key Account Manager The YOUTHShare’s project aim is to reduce youth unemployment through training, internships and job matching. The general idea is that by enhancing ones skills he/she will get more prepared and successful in job seeking. But who knew that one of the biggest success stories of the project would come from within! Ms Claudia Caggiano, the current Key Account Manager of the Italian branch of the Transnational Employment Centre, started off as a beneficiary. And then… she ended up supporting other NEETs from the same project. In her own words: “In late 2020 and early 2021 I was a NEET who found herself in Potenza (Basilicata) in the midst of a pandemic. I wanted to work, and this period of emptiness had gotten me disappointed; until the day I received an email from ARLAB inviting me to take part in a training course as part of a transnational project. This intrigued me, although I am not in favour of these, often time-wasting, activities. It may have been the pandemic, but at that point I decided to participate, so I took the course online. It was a period of pleasant distant learning, although it was not the same as being able to see each other. Meanwhile, the Key Account Manager at the time (Dr. Nicoletta Avigliano) kept an eye on me. When COVID-19 came down hard on my family, I had to distance myself from the courses for a while; but some of the trainers and the KAM herself kept contacting me to find out how I was doing. After some time, things improved, and summer came. I wanted to go through the internship experience that the KAM had told me about at all costs; I was desperate for an opportunity. The internship came, which was a great experience -but unfortunately did not turn into something more. At the end of the summer, the KAM contacted me again (with whom a relationship close to friendship had emerged). Following the invitation, I participated in aν event with other beneficiaries and businesses. On that occasion I was able to meet people, but at the end of the event, before closing, I had bitterly confirmed that I would soon be leaving the city, or perhaps even Italy. You see, this condition of inactivity and uselessness was leading me to a form of depression. At that moment, however, some of the stakeholders asked me to think it over and took the opportunity to ask me to forward my CV to them. With low expectations, I sent it to the KAM asking them to consider it and pass it around. After a few weeks, the KAM herself called me back telling me that we should meet urgently to talk. !9


Youth Employment Magazine She had received another important and long-awaited job opportunity and would have to leave her then current job. However, she had seen something in me and thought I would be a worthy replacement; so, she asked me to talk to some project managers to see if this role would be a good fit for me. With a lot of fear but also a lot of excitement, I accepted the challenge - and then in September 2021 I became the KAM of the ΥOUTHShare project!”. The role of the Key Account Manager is crucial for the YOUTHShare project. Being the effective link between research and social intervention, is a person that needs to mediate the between academics, managers, and beneficiaries. In that respect, the most crucial characteristic of the KAM is empathy combined with knowledge. Therefore, what is the best fit for such a position from a young person that knows on the one hand all the frustration and disappointment of joblessness, and on the other the need to distance and see the large image of the researchers and managers. Welcome on board Claudia! YOUTHShare Project

!10


Youth Employment Magazine

Cowork4YOUTH Open Event in Potenza a success! The Open Event for Cowork4YOUTH took place on May 27th at Polo Bibliotecario in Potenza, Italy, organised by Cowork4YOUTH partner Exeo Lab srl. The event had the form of a double “clustering event”, as it was immediately followed by an event dedicated to the mature YOUTHShare project, another member of the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment family, with the goal of exchanging experiences and insights. Besides the researchers who presented on behalf of the project, guest speakers included local policy makers, stakeholders and representatives of the Fund Operator. The event was a success, as the progress of Cowork4YOUTH was presented and discussed, as well as the next steps. Particularly important was the interaction with the local stakeholders and policymakers, who had the chance to present the local perspective and give important insight for the future development of the project. The Open Event was moderated by Mr Maurizio Zammataro, expert in the field of employment policies and strategies. Present at the event was Mr Gian Luca Bombarda, Fund Director of the EEA & Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment, who addressed the complexity of the issues surrounding youth employment and underlined the need to work hard in order to improve the current situation. Mr. Bombarda also stressed the importance of synergies between EEA and Norway Grants Projects, mentioning that wider clustering initiatives are on the way. The event was also greeted by Mr Allessandro Galella, councillor for economic development, labour and community services of the Basilicata region, before Mr Nicola Vita, co-founder and Head of international projects area at Exeo Lab Srl, presented the agenda of the day. First speaker of the event was the Principal Investigator of Cowork4YOUTH, Mr Vasilis Avdikos of the Institute of Urban Environment and Human Resources of Panteion University, Athens. He presented the project and its objectives: to increase knowledge and offer concrete suggestions against youth disengagement in peripheral/ non-metropolitan EEA regions. He further referred to the solutions to be tested towards achieving a living wage through alternative practices: platform economy and collaborative work practices, that act as “learning middlegrounds”. Mr Avdikos also talked about a trend of inequalities between north and south regions and the need to look for more efficient ways to tackle youth unemployment and disengagement, especially for NEETs. Mr Kostas Gourzis, senior researcher at the Cowork4YOUTH project, presented the Transnational Research Network, which aims to align the participating research teams and individual researchers into a common strategy and to facilitate a discussion on youth employment and the pertinent policy framework. He also presented the Cowork4YOUTH Online Observatory for youth employment and how its establishment will tackle problems faced by existing observatories that, due to their narrow geographical scope and limited time frame, tend to provide a fragmented view and miss core data. The main goals of the Online Observatory are to monitor youth employment in the regions under study, to visualize the data and to disseminate the project’s findings. Concluding the presentation of Cowork4YOUTH and its progress, Ms Elish Kelly, senior research officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), talked about the objective of the baseline study regarding the impact of youth employment policies, which is to compile descriptive evidence on NEET and youth employment rates across EEA countries and specifically Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland. Ms Kelly showed some results from Italy, where youth employment was 40% pre-recession (2008), but hit a low point in 2014.

!11


Youth Employment Magazine Following some years of gradual improvement, youth employment in Italy once again took a dive in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms Kelly also addressed the subject of employment rates in key tourism regions in Italy between 2008 and 2020 and specifically the regions of Sardegna and Basilicata, where rates are below the national average. The main session was followed by a round table discussion with the theme of Innovating Youth Labour Policies, with the participation of Mr Maurizio Scorcioni, Data Science Manager at ANPAL services s.p.a, Mr Sergio Bellucci, expert in labour and digital transformation, Ms Lea Battistoni, expert in the field of employment policies, and Ms Tiziana Lang, Head Secretary of the Secretariat of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies. Mr Sorcioni presented some data concerning the region of Basilicata where 53% of NEETs are in a “permanent status”, and most have a high school diploma with no further aspirations. Other subjects touched upon by the guest speakers included the importance of skill enhancement; the impact of digital technology in industrialised production; the need for comprehensive planning and improved youth participation in social innovation; the importance of both micro-interventions and macro-actions; and the need for adjustments to the labour market model to take social issues into account. The fruitful discussions and interaction between guests and members of the Cowork4YOUTH project marked the success of the Open Event. The added value of the clustering event and the potential for synergies that it unlocked between the YOUTHShare and Cowork4YOUTH projects, will surely be seen in the future. www.cowork4youth.org Cowork4 YOUTH Project

!12


Youth Employment Magazine

Youth (Un)Employment: a common challenge for EU A sharing awareness is that the last years were very challenging and difficult, especially for young people. The Covid 19 pandemic came out of the blue and was upsetting for everyone; it changed our lives, our habits, imposing the social distance and stopping most of the world economy. But are we sure that it was really out of the blue? Perhaps a more accurate view is that the pandemic has only brought to light the structural problems that have long laid in Europe’s social and economic structures, especially in some of its countries, and, at the same time, has accelerated some of the disastrous consequences of these problems. One of the main issues that emerged is the one linked to the (un)employment. Most of today’s young Europeans are the heirs of a generation that has largely experienced the positive effects of the post-war economic boom. Surely this was a huge advantage, but it also contributed to develop a culture of “doing better, doing more”. This idea, of course, is not sustainable in a long time. It requires too much effort and ends up creating counterproductive effects for the whole society. Especially in the job market this way of thinking is disruptive because it links an individual and active effort to the external conditions and economic dynamics. This relationship is more destructive as external reality presents prolonged periods of crisis, as was the case with the economic crisis of 2008. Nowadays we are facing one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the history of Europe, especially in the 18 YE Fund’s beneficiary Countries. For this reason, in the last years one of the main priorities of European Union’s policies is the promotion and the support of young human capital, introduced by the 20 key principles and rights of European Pillar of Social Rights for fair and well-functioning labour markets and social protection systems. In October 2020, to face the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic, all EU countries have committed to the implementation of the reinforced Youth guarantee in a Council Recommendation which deals with the job support to young people across the EU, making it more targeted and inclusive.

!13


Youth Employment Magazine In the evaluation linked to the ROM (Results Oriented Monitoring) activity that it has been done with the YE Fund Projects, it has been observed that in most of the European countries there is a common line linked to the youth unemployment issue. This is represented in the younger shares of the population by the lack of trust not only towards themselves but also towards the job market and the institutions in general, both public and private. The fact that this is a transversal phenomenon, could be more likely addressed to a social generational issue rather than to the specific political laws and decisions. In fact, Millennials and Z Generation are now facing all the political and economic changes incurred since the Twin Towers fall in 2001, 2008 financial crisis, the Covid-19, and, finally, the more recent war in Ukraine. In particular, the Covid-19 crisis has made these economic and political problems even more urgent and worrying for young people due to the prolonged isolation and the lack of social interactions, with many of them experiencing anxiety and psychological problems, and being exposed to stressful home environments, with heavy consequences on their motivation and overall emotional well-being. This unwellness, combined with a more structural problem linked to the shrinking opportunities available in the labour market, leads young people to experience behavioral disorders and bad habits, thus creating a vicious and dangerous circle from which it is difficult to get out after a prolonged period. In this context, the role of EU institutions could be crucial and give guidance, making their voice heard in the European Year of Youth. The European Union is (from many years) dedicated to improving the mental health of people and support national policies related to this issue, focusing on the needs and priorities of EU countries towards different initiatives and programs, such as Joint Action ImpleMental, InvestEU and EU4Health Promoting Mental Health Programmes. But could we do more? Perhaps a possible solution would be to support young people with a psychological expert throughout the last years of the educational path, to prepare and, at the same time, support youngsters during the delicate phase of adolescence. In addition, this support would help to fill one of the main structural problems encountered in the labour market, namely the gap between the demand for skills and the supply of human capital. In fact, the profile of a counselor in schools and in educational social centers could help young people to have a greater awareness of their skills and competences and, more widely, of their identity, thus providing the essential bases to be able to face the transition from the academic to the professional world, with the related consequences that this would have on the labour market. The path is still long, and many others changes and challenges are in the horizon, but our society as a whole and European institutions have the responsibility to try to improve young people current conditions, because the youth generation represents the future and the progress of our society, and we can’t miss the chance to help and support them in the construction of the new world’s asset. And this is the core idea behind many of our Youth Employment projects that every day, supported by EEA Norway Grants, give their contribution in solving this current youth generational issue with commitment and dedication. Sources: Youth unemployment - Statistics Explained (europa.eu) MHE publishes urgent policy recommendations to support young people’s mental health - Mental Health Europe (mhe-sme.org) How much do you know about mental health? | European Youth Portal (europa.eu) Mental health (europa.eu) What is the European Year of Youth? | European Youth Portal (europa.eu)

Victoria Tokatzian !14


Youth Employment Magazine

Innovation Bootcamp in Albania In the "Tirana, the European Capital of Youth 2022" framework and in cooperation with the National Youth Congress, Raiffeisen Bank organized a Bootcamp on Innovation on the 25th and 26th of May with a focus on ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) and Sustainability. At the premises of TEYC 2022, 50 young people brainstormed 48 creative hours where they displayed their innovative ideas, creating a fantastic experience to remember. The director of the National Youth Congress, Dafina Peci, and the coordinator of the title "Tirana, the European Capital of Youth 2022", Aspasjana Kongo expressed their support to young people through one of the 8 programs of TEYC 2022, "Youth produces Economy Creative and Innovation ”. During the two days, the participants were divided into ten teams where each team had one coach and one mentor. At the end of the Bootcamp, the winner was announced to be the team with idea number 4, "Tiron Parking", an application that provides an alternative way to pay for parking on the streets of Tirana. Innovative ideas by young people will be supported and promoted by the Bootcamp organizing partners.

!15


Youth Employment Magazine

!16


Youth Employment Magazine

Themes of the month: Schools, institutions, public administration. What should we change/what are you trying to change in order to create an environment closer to young people new habits and needs? Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic Learning from mistakes – the biggest mistakes made during implementation and the lessons learned from them

!17


Youth Employment Magazine

Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic Amongst other major events, the impact of Covid-19 has probably marked this century. Youths have been adversely affected and the event attributed to some of the greatest concerns relating to mental well-being, employment, income loss, disruptions to education, familial relations and friendships, as well as a limitation to individual freedoms (OECD, 2020). In terms of work, during the pandemic, the vulnerability of young people has been mostly associated to long term unemployment or temporary contracts. Working in the most affected sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism was another ascription, but the effects of Covid-19 were not limited to employment and in spreading the NEET phenomenon, as they also hit the working parameters of schools and the education sectors.

addition, they also had to ensure that the service provided is personalised and targeted, since the NEETs group is a broad category encompassing a heterogenous population including the unemployed, school dropouts and all discouraged college graduates who still have not found a job.

Employment and NEETs

Education

Interventions to assist youths during the last decade were successful in bringing down the number of NEETs across the EU, however, this trend was reversed in 2020 where the average rate of NEETs stood at 13.7% by the end of that year as a result of Covid-19 (Eurostat 2021). Measures to curb the spread of the virus such as the several lockdowns experienced caused the complete reconsideration of outreach methods used in targeting this vulnerable cohort.

During the pandemic, the closure of schools and universities has affected more than 1.5 billion children and youths worldwide and it has significantly changed how youth and children live and learn (UN, 2020). In fact, it is envisaged that some of the innovative teaching and learning tools and delivery systems schools and teachers took up in response to the crisis may have a long-lasting impact on educational systems.

In reaching out to these youths, it entailed a shift in the services offered and training provided, which both had to move to digital platforms. Faceto-face training moved online, and technology provided a medium to keep training and skilling ongoing. Nevertheless, this transition implied that young people had to have the adequate technology to enable them to follow courses online.

Apart from the rapid move to online services consisting of personalised and targeted content, the training and skilling of the youth in general required to further change in focus. This means an adaptation to the increasing need for reskilling in green and digital skills as Europe transits to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a target that puts increasing pressure on the skills transition and thereby, the acquisition of such new skills.

Access to technology was a key factor during the pandemic for young people to keep in touch with their peers as well as for their education as it offered opportunities to follow remotely, but technology on its own is not sufficient, as a number of variables play an important part in ensuring that the educational process is as seamless as possible in a time of lockdown or when educational courses have moved online.

Given the composition of the cohort, training and service providers had to evolve to not only provide their service online in a rapid manner. In !18


Youth Employment Magazine the local and contextual situation of the educational environment must be taken into consideration for such an adaptation to be effective. Parents are key partners to teachers. The involvement of parents adjusts as well as mitigates some of the limitations of remote learning. Remote education, or a blended approach to learning using both online and in-classroom teaching would require parents' equipment with the know-how and the necessary tools to support their youth. A dynamic educational ecosystem. It is necessary for public institutions to work in close multilateral coordination with other public, private and academic entities in the education, training, and employment sectors to effectively orchestrate different players and to secure the quality of the overall learning and upskilling experience.

For remote learning to be effective towards young people, the pandemic has shown the need for the interplay between five main elements: Technology keeps learning ongoing. In a time of lockdown, it was technology that ensured that the educational process keeps on going. Nonetheless, to progress it entails technological availability for all; students, teachers, and schools alike. Such assurance will limit the repercussions on schools and students in terms of the technology they can avail of, so they are not left behind. Teachers have a critical role. Moving from classroom-based teaching to online requires educators to develop curricula but also to adapt these to the technology platform being used, and to change the pedagogical approach accordingly. Regular and effective on-going professional development and support is hence essential in adopting a technology driven learning experience and to develop pedagogic tools that are effective remotely. Education is an intense human interaction. Remote learning can be successful if there is a meaningful two-way interaction between the students and their teachers. Technology enables such an interaction but

Whilst transitioning out of a pandemic and most of the young people have returned to a degree of the previous life and schooling norms, as we face the aftermath with an outlook towards the future world of work, there remain options for our consideration. As we build the future, we ought to ask whether the tools developed during the pandemic can still be used and transferred into a blended educational approach, or alternatively, serve as a backup utility to support in-class learning whilst also focusing less on the academic and bridging over on the parameters of hands-on learning together with work placements as well as remote working opportunities. Whatever the case, this cannot be introduced unilaterally without considering the key factors that would make learning and work more effective in the future. Article written by Jobsplus in collaboration with Anna Maria Darmanin on behalf of Project Intercept Intercept Project

!19


Youth Employment Magazine

RAISE Youth Project reflections supported, they need to be made aware that they need and can ask for help and advice from their local governments and most importantly, they need help where they can and do not close their doors and become more one obstacle in a row to their business achievement.

In the rural area of Croatia in Lika-Senj County, the highest number of young unemployed persons is in the category of 20 to 24 years of age with high school occupations lasting 4 and more years (70 persons out of 168 persons in this category). Categories are young people with secondary education with occupations up to 3 years and schools for skilled and highly skilled workers. This time we are focused on the small town Otočac in Lika - Senj County with a population of 8,361.00. Young people need a job and a stimulating and healthy climate where those who want and those who are ambitious and hardworking will have space to achieve in the business world, and thus create their own foundations to stay and start their own family in the City of Otočac. Young people are an important segment of society, they are creative, innovative, energetic, full of enthusiasm and this is especially evident and comes to the fore in small communities. Young people are changing trends in society and the economy, they just need to be

The City of Otočac, as a unit of local self-government, is trying to design, apply for and implement as many projects as possible aimed at young people and strengthening their position in the community in which they live and work. Also, through the partnership position within the Projects, the City strives to participate in as many projects that involve and activate young people, which are implemented in the area of Otočac. We want young people to become active, informed, socially and politically responsible people already in high school who will have the will, desire and strength to change the situation and attitudes about employment and business success. Very few young people get involved in activities outside of school, do not take part in workshops and lectures held in their free time and it is very difficult to get them to start a social initiative or socially useful idea, and thus they are indirectly they deny themselves the possibility of employment because they ignore the fact today that lifelong learning, whether formal or informal, is important and necessary and that through it we all expand our horizons, acquire new knowledge, become more competitive in the market and increase employment opportunities. Aware of the fact that the opinion of young people is taken as frivolous and underdeveloped for changes in society, projects in which the city is involved want to show that they have the opposite opinion and through projects, step by step they want to change the attitude of the majority, both young and young. older. One of the projects they are currently participating in is “Action for 5! Youth in the community "through which young people (high school students Otočac High School) took over the City Administration for one day, saw how it works in the City Administration, using City resources and information available to the City, wrote their projects to show the needs of young people of the town of Otočac. The winning group, in the month of June this year, will really realize their project and thus show that young people want and can. !20


Youth Employment Magazine By encouraging openness among young people, encouraging the desire for additional education, erasing fear of thinking "what others will say" we want to encourage young people to participate, to be loud, to point out their wishes and needs, to participate in all segments of society that interest them and to push their ideas and projects. The city of Otočac is here to listen to them, to help them and to realize their best projects together with them. In addition to all the above steps that the City is actively taking to keep its young people or to return to Otočac after graduation, the City is supported by the fact that it provides scholarships to students with deficient professions and co-finances accommodation and meals in dormitories for students outside Otočac. they are educated in deficient secondary school orientations that are not offered in educational institutions in Otočac or Lika-Senj County, and there is a demand on the labor market. In the continuation of the mandate, the plan is to work with young people even more active, productive and to make Otočac a city of young ambitious and successful people who will realize business and private in the area of the City. RAISE Youth Project

!21


Youth Employment Magazine

A healthy environment for all For its part, Casarrubuelos Town hall, as a public institution representing a small semi-rural municipality in the south of Madrid (Spain) highly committed to its rural origins and to the health of our environment and respect for our surroundings, tries to implement as many measures and actions as possible in favour of these environmental objectives. Some key examples of these public actions implemented are: periodic educational campaigns carried out in the municipality's training centres and in neighbourhood citizens' associations. Tax reductions to residents for their active participation in recycling programmes. Search for subsidies and grants for the free implementation of organic waste recycling systems at home. Etc.

In general, young people today are more committed to social and environmental causes. Young people know that there is no Planet B, and that our actions and respect for the environment matter and add up: our survival, and that of the rest of the species that inhabit the Earth, depend on it. Fortunately, many of us are already aware of the need to curb climate change, and we demand that our institutions and public representatives implement policies for the development, protection and recovery of our environment. On the other hand, in order to achieve a healthy environment for everyone that lasts over time, it is also essential that the greatest possible number of citizens are aware of existing social problems, thereby increasing our capacity for commitment and action with regard to this social cause. To this end, the institutions, in their function of defending and seeking the common good, must provide the means and implement the appropriate actions to promote this knowledge, responsibility and social commitment of all to the environment.

Moreover, and thanks to the European RAISE Youth Project, financed by the EEA and Norway Grants and implemented in Casarrubuelos by the Casarrubuelos Town Hall, the First Vermiculture DEMO Center in Europe has been established in Casarrubuelos: a collaborative green center of circular economy, with a surface of 2450m2 to promote experimentation and dissemination of innovative agro-environmental activities. At the DEMO Center of Casarrubuelos, a large part of the organic waste from the municipality of Casarrubuelos is recycled through composting and vermicomposting, being transformed into worm humus which is currently the best organic fertilizer. This: •

eliminates the problem of accumulation and the correct treatment of this waste at source, all through a sustainable and ecological process that has a zero carbon footprint, as the waste does not have to be taken elsewhere for treatment. • In addition, this waste is given a second life as organic fertiliser (worm humus), that is used to free-fertilise the municipal green spaces and to distribute the surplus among the community involved with the Casarrubuelos DEMO Centre.

!22


Youth Employment Magazine Besides, in order to preserve our environment, in the Vermiculture DEMO Center of Casarrubuelos free training programmes on Circular Economy, composting, vermicomposting, urban gardens, and gardening in general are carried out to increase the knowledge and respect for the environment by young people and members of the community.

Another of the measures in favour of our environment implemented by the Vermiculture DEMO Center of Casarrubuelos is the advice on the sustainable treatment of urban and domestic organic waste to other town councils and environmental associations.

Also, our collaborative urban gardens are a perfect example of spaces worked by the community in a collaborative, ecological and sustainable way, increasing the knowledge of the needs, time and processes required for the fields to be fertile and healthy, and their positive impact on the environmental balance. The participating neighbours share experiences, knowledge and resources. They receive support and follow-up from raise youth professionals in Casarrubuelos. Thanks to this, the available gardens are correctly and ecologically cultivated with varied and high quality seasonal vegetables, which are also exchanged among the community, encouraging the consumption of local products, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. !23


Youth Employment Magazine All in all, listening to and adequately representing the interests of all citizens should be paramount for public bodies, promoting the good use and maintenance of available resources and, of course, ensuring the protection of a healthy place for all future generations to live in. RAISE Youth Project

!24


Youth Employment Magazine

Educational perspectives for young people. What should we change? If a person receives a high school diploma at the age of 18, they are likely to be well-versed in history, math, science, and literature. But does that really mean they're ready for the responsibilities of adulthood? The majority simply aren't. Budgeting, time management, nutrition, and even some social skills can be severely lacking in experience and training. For example, not many high school graduates understand how credit and credit cards work. There aren't enough of them, as many young people have problems with their first credit card. In fact, credit card companies take advantage of their ignorance. If students were given the opportunity to learn important life skills, it could be one of the most beneficial things they learn. (TOPTENZ, 2015)

We are dealing with unprecedented social, economic, and environmental issues, all of which are being exacerbated by globalisation and technology advancements. Simultaneously, those forces are opening up a slew of new possibilities for human progress. We cannot forecast the future, but we must be open to it and prepared to face it. In an increasingly unstable, unpredictable, multifaceted, and confusing environment, education can determine whether people embrace or are defeated by the problems they face. And, in an era marked by a new burst of scientific knowledge and an increasing number of complicated societal issues, it's only natural that curricula should continue to adapt, perhaps in extreme ways. (OECD, 2018) In the last century, there haven't been many substantial changes in the organization of school systems. We've learned a lot more about how individuals learn, yet schools have mostly remained same. That's unfortunate, because several adjustments might improve school for children, teachers, and society in general.

Finance education: Education is frequently cut from public budgets and is last on funding priority lists. We must embrace innovative suggestions to dramatically increase domestic and international education finance, such as the new International Finance Facility for Education, which has the ability to make record assets in skills for the next generation. Invest early, particularly in marginalized children, girls, and those who are the most disadvantaged: Governments and donors alike must allocate at least 10% of total education budgets to pre-primary education. Investing early will benefit disadvantaged youth later as they transition from school to decent work, while also developing some of the most important skills needed as young adults. Support teachers who teach. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing spending on primary and secondary education by strengthening what teachers know, how they teach, and how they are supported in the classroom. We can reduce teacher absenteeism, address high repetition rates, and improve learning levels if we do this correctly.

!25


Youth Employment Magazine Multiple pathways to learning, including the use of digital technology and community-based approaches, must be available to youth, including the most marginalized, to enable them to develop the skills they need to succeed at a time and in a place that suits their individual circumstances. Next-generation business-government partnerships: It is time for industry leaders and governments to collaborate to better align labour market needs with education and training systems, as well as the aspirations of youth transitioning from school to work. (World Economic Forum, 2020) Bullying is more and more common in Romanian schools. Bullying is a relational problem that always requires a solution and significant changes in the relationships between children and in the dynamics of the group. In order to eliminate bullying behaviours, a direct intervention from adults is necessary, in the context in which they appear, most often in the school environment. (Salvați copiii)

TOPTENZ. (2015, 04 14). Retrieved 05 16, 2022, from toptenz.net: https:// www.toptenz.net/10-major-changes-our-schools-should-make.php World Economic Forum. (2020, 01 20). Retrieved 05 16, 2022, from weforum.org: https:// www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/why-skills-are-crucial-for-the-transition-fromschool-to-work/

Bucovina Institute (Romania) SEPAL Project

Children have a fundamental right to feel safe at school and to be free from oppression, intentional humiliation, and potential dangers from bullying and harassment. Although most research in this area has focused on the study of the personality of bullies and victims, much progress can be made in changing the way the school is organized and by adjusting the collective attitude and general atmosphere in order to prevent harassment and intimidation, important effects in discouraging them. Ignoring the attitude of complaints, teachers contribute or even increase the fear of those who are the target of attacks. (Părinții cer schimbare, 2017)

Bibliography OECD. (2018, 05 04). The future. Retrieved 05 16, 2022, from oecd.org: https:// www.oecd.org/education/2030/E2030%20Position%20Paper%20(05.04.2018).pdf Părinții cer schimbare. (2017, 09 03). Retrieved 05 16, 2022, from Parinții cer

schimbare.ro: https://www.parintiicerschimbare.ro/ce-rol-joaca-scoala-in-starea-debine-a-copilului/ Salvați copiii. (n.d.). Retrieved 05 16, 2022, from www.scolifarabullying.ro: http:// www.scolifarabullying.ro/despre

!26


Youth Employment Magazine

The psychological situation of youngsters during the pandemic in Greece Restrictions due to the pandemic such as teleworking, school closures, etc. gave more (24%) people the opportunity to improve their contact with relatives and friends and in fewer (15%) made it worse. The improvement is more pronounced in young people up to 18 years old who due to the suspension of face-to-face lessons stayed at home. Young people whose relationships with their close environment improved were more than twice as many as those who deteriorated (27.3% vs. 12.9%).

Data from around the world show that the pandemic had negative psychological effects on the general population, especially on young people. Feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, and crushing are largely felt by young people around the world because of the coronavirus. As governments had to deal with the virus by imposing measures such as physical distancing, quarantine and school closures, the lives of young people have been severely affected. According to the research "Covid-19 in Greece: Psychological Imprint" of the University of West Attica, the research data show that almost all people in Greece felt a significant change in their daily lives. In particular, five out of ten people in Greece felt a "too much" big change and four out of ten people felt a "big" change in their daily lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects such as quarantine and restrictions on their social and professional obligations.

It is normal for adolescents and young adults to experience intense feelings of fear, anxiety, stress, and anger. Many may be afraid for their own health as well as that of their loved ones. We must show understanding and empathy, thus urging teenagers and young adults not to be ashamed and to share all those emotions that the pandemic has created. We talk to them and point out that in our country, unlike other countries, we are fortunate to have COVID-19 vaccines at our disposal as well as a health system that is sufficiently adequate to deal with the situation. In addition, we give them space to be left alone if they wish, providing opportunities for autonomy. !27


Youth Employment Magazine

All Social Cooperatives in Greece work intensively for the psychological support of young and vulnerable groups. During the months of quarantine, the professional consultants supported beneficiaries online or by phone. Stress and uncertainty were key characteristics of young people. They knew, however, that always and at regular intervals, the consultants would get in touch with them. We now hope that we have entered in a new era and that once the pandemic is under control, our lives have returned to normal. Certainly, quarantine has left its mark on the mental health of people and especially young people. Mental health professionals and counselors will support young people to get back to the pre-pandemic mental health situation. KoiSPE Diadromes (Greece) SEPAL Project

!28


Youth Employment Magazine

Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic Covid-19 pandemic forces us to find new and innovative ways to reach out and communicate with our NEETs. We had to get used to the new "normal" and each of us had to expand our comfort zone and adapt as much as possible to the new reality. For the young people with mental health problems, this task was not easy. Consequently, their social life and mental health were inevitably affected. The fear and stress of the unknown and the isolation deepened their mental state in a negative way. These circumstances were unforeseen by the project, and it made sense to try and adapt to the new reality. Thankfully, online resources came to aid as we were able to freely communicate with our target groups trough social media which proved to be very useful not just in the context of the pandemic. We expanded our activities and created a new virtual way to reach our NEETs. We started to think of an effective way to communicate with the target group in the aspect of both their mobility and anonymity. On the one hand, our experience shows that there is a number of people who have a great desire to join the activities in the “Hidden Likes” youth house but are unable to do so due to the fact that they live in another city. And on the other hand, because of the stigma that we have talked about so much before – both societal and self-induced – NEETs with mental health problems present a very private, scared and insecure group and we try to do anything we can to make them feel save and protected. Not just in the context of what the house itself represents - providing a safe environment where they get to be themselves - but protecting their identities! It made sense to take an alternative route and connect to those people so we came up with the idea to conduct Q&A sessions and we just did our first one! The session was announced in advance – an invite with the topic of Addictions and the date on which the tape would be made available was

published on our social media channels publicly, so that anyone who wants to share thoughts, concerns and worries in the form of questions can do so. To send their questions, people filled in a google form, completely anonymously. A project expert then answered the list of questions in front of the camera, the recording of which was uploaded on our social media after montage. Prior to our sessions, we tested how online seminars could be included in our online reach to the public. On a chosen topic we shared an invite to our social media with both link to the online event and a form for questions, plus the expert speaking on the topic in question. Interested parties are free to ask their questions and share concerns on the form provided and during the seminar they are being addressed by the speaker. For those who missed to fill in the form have the opportunity to share their thoughts during the event. The interest in our seminars and over all successful turn out of the event proved to us that this approach can actually be very beneficial for some people. Individuals express themselves freely, and one benefit specifically of the Q&A sessions is the effective interaction, that one is able to come back to when needed because it is uploaded, it is there. For the experts is also beneficial – there is time to prepare and structure answers with more specific content. People have the opportunity to put their doubts in the spotlight and help themselves simply by asking a question. The Q&A sessions and online seminars are innovative and flexible digital tool, that succeeds in overcoming distance and time.

L.I.K.E. Project !29


Youth Employment Magazine

Schools, institutions, public administration. What should we change? What are you trying to change to create an environment closer to young people's new habits and needs? Established institutions in Bulgaria, including schools and public administrations, are for the most part conservative and often out of touch with the needs, demands and interests of new generations. In the intensively changing world we live in, and we need to be more open to new ideas and changes. One of the tasks of project LIKE is aimed at this direction - to create an environment that is as responsive as possible to the needs of young people through innovative methods that not only positively affect them but also others: to change their attitudes towards those who have a mental illness, to reduce prejudice and limit discrimination.

On the other hand, conventional methods, entirely bound to theoretical work, are replaced by more informal techniques, which allows to involve and engage young people in various activities, together with others who have similar understandings, goals and needs. The individual is at the centre of the work, not simply as separate and independent, but as part of something larger, a whole team. One example of this is gardening - by engaging the hands, we unburden the mind. Time spent in nature has been shown to have a calming effect. Project LIKE uses this in combination with labour. In this way, visitors can leave something meaningful behind, make an effort and see results.

Training and workshops for the community, professionals, professional guilds and institutional representatives play a crucial role. They aim to inform about the nature of mental illness and to provide guidance, especially to employers and to other stakeholders (teachers, doctors, etc.), with the ultimate goal of integrating young people with mental health problems into a specific environment: work, training or a field that is directly linked to the services they could benefit from. By obtaining guidance, experts from different professional fields acquire knowledge and skills to later succeed in building an environment, welcoming and accepting for people who suffer form a mental illness.

Since caring for a planted plant can have such a significant effect, imagine what would happen if attention was focused on another living thing that moved, showed emotion and thus manages to respond to the love with which it was bestowed. Project LIKE manages to put this idea into practice, bringing love through animal therapy into the work with the clients.

Project LIKE disseminates leaflets, articles, publications and other items that contribute to openness about mental health and support an important cause: the fight against stigma, which, unfortunately, is quite widespread both personally and in society. The individual counselling that professionals carry out with the relatives of the clients of the youth house impacts the existing self-stigma: it reduces it, thus bringing a change in that part of society that feels most deeply affected. By learning that mental suffering does not constitute a cause for shame, fear, or social distance, each individual can change his or her outlook and attitude, above all, directed toward those suffering.

Before we can take care of others, it is essential to take care of ourselves to express our feelings and thoughts - freely, without fear or restrictions. Writing and painting sometimes succeeds in saying what speech fails to express. The project uses creative techniques to help its NEETs express their most profound torments and longings without letting the weight of worry take over. We are not looking for finished works of art here - we are looking for the truth - unadulterated and pure. Despite all the alternative options for creative expression, established methods such as storytelling and discussions are not ignored - they are simply refracted through the Youth House's prism. To make it as useful as possible for NEETs, both the objective point of view of the professionals here and that of people with similar experiences are provided, which can help the NEETS look at things from a different angle. !30


Youth Employment Magazine The environment in which this communication takes place is cozy, informal and conducive to self-disclosure. That is why it is a Youth House. People who come should feel at home. A familiar setting is always preferable to a cold office or classroom, where we are anxious not to give the wrong answers to the questions asked. There are no right or wrong answers here - there are only shared and hidden truths.. Since people are unique in their own what, the delicate part is finding the most effective way for each individual. Once they realize that they will not be judged for their feelings and thoughts, young people begin to relax and share openly. And this is exactly the goal of the project - to create a place where those in need come willingly. A place where everyone is calm to be themselves, without putting on socially desirable masks and playing roles. A place where one discovers one's soul and receives understanding, not evaluations and remarks. A place you unconsciously return to when you are anxious and from which you leave full of hope. L.I.K.E. Project

!31


Youth Employment Magazine

Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Women4IT project was beginning the training pilot period. Many young women who had been previously expecting to start training in person were now having to complete their educational cycle remotely and using different digital solutions. To ensure the trainees participating in the programme stayed involved in the initiative and were motivated to complete the training, the piloting partners had to adapt their methods of communication and engagement building.

that the trainees' experience was as similar as possible to face-to-face interactions, a soft 'camera-on' rule was set for all sessions, allowing the participants to see everyone in the training room, recognise their reactions and relate more naturally. At the same time, the trainers took into account that some of the trainees might not have the right conditions to participate in a video call and could only connect with audio (e.g., due to sharing the space with other family members, commuting or simultaneously looking after their baby) – a decision that everyone respected.

Online environment

The facilitators also used tools that fostered interactivity and group work during day-to-day digital workshops, such as Mentimeter, Miro, Doodle and Jotform. These tools allowed to boost engagement in the training group; additionally, thanks to the format of exercises and input sharing they provided, all young women – whether more forward and outspoken or more withdrawn and quieter – had the possibility and comfort to actively participate in the sessions.

One of the fundamental changes was to shift the entire training ecosystem to the online sphere. The Women4IT partners used many different technological solutions and approaches to provide the best possible outcomes for the participating trainees. Firstly, the online training was hosted by external trainers, mainly taking place on Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Additionally, trainees were able to network within online communities created using social media features like Facebook groups or WhatsApp group chats. Moreover, mentors who supported the trainees in developing soft and technical skills, job market search and refining CVs and cover letters became available for contact via phone, messaging apps and email. Initially, the project partners foresaw working mainly with young women based locally and in person. Thanks to all these adjustments, young women from various parts of the country, including rural areas, were able to benefit from the training programme, and one-to-one mentorship became more accessible to the trainees in need of such assistance.

Boosting training interactivity Moving the training to an online space undoubtedly diminished the level of interaction the participants of physical meetings had been used to in the past. For this reason, the partners, as well as trainers, deemed it crucial to bring more elements of engagement into the online sessions. To ensure

Finally, captivating content and knowledge delivery were at least equally as important as the use of interactive tools in keeping the participants' engagement high. For this reason, aside from the information-rich curriculum delivered by the trainers, the trainees could also benefit from sessions with experts like IT companies' representatives, where they could ask questions and receive relevant tips and tricks about selected career paths as well as recruitment processes.

Building a community While all of the engagement methods used throughout the Women4IT project proved highly successful, they would not have worked half as effectively if it were not for the atmosphere of security and support established in the training groups. The trainees were able to grow together in a safe, judgment-free, learning-oriented space, where their needs would be respected and where they could rely on their mentor's help if and when !32


Youth Employment Magazine required. They also understood that while the trainers imparted knowledge to them, they were the ones taking responsibility for their own professional development. Setting this standard helped the young women be more open, enter conversations, share more with the group and support each other's learning process. This approach also enabled building communities of trainees – more informal groups set online, where they could connect, exchange experiences, advertise job opportunities and stay in touch after the training programme had ended.

Summary There is no denying that the outburst of the Covid-19 pandemic completely changed the Women4IT plans for implementing the training pilots across Europe. One may argue, however, that it caused the project partners to take a closer look at the developed educational programme and question how it could make more impact. In the aftermath, the Women4IT training as a product became more engaging, inclusive and accessible, both in terms of the delivered content and the delivery format. It would also seem that the Women4IT agree: through the positive feedback partners had received, testimonials shared online, and word of mouth, Women4IT became more popular, with an influx of young women interested in the training and other organisations willing to replicate the initiative in their regions. Women4IT Project

!33


Youth Employment Magazine

Effective remote cooperation with young people during the COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to develop new forms of collaboration and delivering support services. A major shift was to move support services, i.e. coaching and mentoring, from in-person meetings to online meetings. In the beginning there was an enthusiasm about the new technology, think Zoom and Teams meetings, some of us might have felt some relieve to avoid the commute to work. However, after a couple of weeks the pandemic had a negative effect on the Subjective Well Being (Berill et al., 2020), resilience (Yue and Cowling, 2021) and a feeling of losing control (Jarosz, 2021) emerged. Additionally, limited space, shaky internet connections and limited data volume made remote collaboration and support more challenging. Making use of virtual collaboration tools, we had to invite our beneficiaries into our living rooms or our kitchen. Distractions and interruptions from kids, cats, dogs and partners became normal. There is evidence (de Haan, 2008; Megginson and Clutterbuck 2005, 2009; Garvey and Stokes, 2022) that the working alliance between coach and coachee/mentor and mentee contributes significantly to the outcome of the intervention. Effective relationships between the dyads are based on trust and rapport. Psychological safety (Kline, 1999) and empathy (Garvey and Stokes, 2022) are essential for effective coaching or mentoring. When the pandemic arrived in Europe we developed a remote mentoring programme. During the design phase we all knew and communicated openly that we did not have the answer or would be able to predict the effectiveness of the programme. It is fair to say, that we were in good company – no one knew when it all would end or what a new reality might look like. Waiting or not doing something felt worse. Beneficiaries asked explicitly for mentoring (and coaching) services. They were looking for someone who would be at their side and help them with their thinking. We based the mentoring programme on two assumptions:

1.

2.

The focus has to be on the relationship. The working alliance is based on trust and rapport. The ambition is to create a space of psychological safety. We do not have the answer. A coach/mentor will be at the coachee’s/mentee’s side. Together we will explore opportunities.

These two assumptions shaped how we prepared mentors for their role. Processes and techniques support creating time and space for the mentees to talk openly about their concerns, ideas and invite to experiment and reach out to others rather. Quite naturally mentors found it difficult to admit not knowing and not having an answer. However, this attitude and openness created an atmosphere of authenticity and openness which enabled the mentees to explore new routes and potential opportunities. The mentee’s agenda always had priority and it was the mentee who drove the agenda and by that took responsibility for their professional and personal life. The objective of the SOS Mentoring (or coaching) assignment was: • To deal with the stress and negative emotions, i.e. social distancing, uncertainty, fear of losing control, financial worries, • Allow for creativity and experimentation, • Put the mentee’s agenda at the forefront of everything, • Create an atmosphere of psychological safety, • Establish trust and rapport between mentor and mentee, • Make use of technology to connect, • Enable mentees/coachees to become their own agent of change and development. In Spain some 1.109 entrepreneurs who were affected by the pandemic have received support through mentors remotely. 1.048 entrepreneurs were still trading after the intervention ended. Despite (or because of) our initial doubts we would argue that remote interventions can be as effective as support programmes delivered in 1-on-1 or group settings. !34


Youth Employment Magazine It is critical to establish an effective working alliance from the outset. The well-being and agenda of the beneficiary should be addressed in each session. • Exploring the mentee’s means and resources which are readily available to them • Explores new opportunities collaborating with others and by that helps to build-up external support • Take action • Encourage to explore and develop new ideas and solutions in collaboration with customers and partners The described approach seems to work online as well as offline. Garvey and Stokes (2022) demonstrate that online coaching and mentoring can be as effective as offline interventions. There are, however, conditions which need to be met. We suggest to ensure that beneficiaries have access to sufficient data volume and technology to participate. This is still an unsolved issue in underserved communities and has to be addressed adequately to avoid exclusion of the most vulnerable target audience. Mentors and coaches need to be prepared for their role in an online setting. Assuming that, based on their experience or a direct translation of offline formats to online formats will very likely not deliver the intended results, i.e. social inclusion, access to the labour market.

Megginson, D. and Clutterbuck, D. (2005) Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring. Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann Megginson, D. and Clutterbuck, D. (2009) Further techniques for coaching and mentoring. 1st edn. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann. Yue, W. and Cowling, M. (2021) “The Covid-19 Lockdown in the United Kingdom and Subjective Well-Being: Have the Self-Employed Suffered More Due to Hours and Income Reductions?,” International Small Business Journal, 39(2), pp. 93–108. doi: 10.1177/0266242620986763.

Jörg Schoolmann, KIZ SINNOVA, Germany; Jo Gray, YBI, UK; Guillem Aris, Autoocupacio, Spain

YES! Project

References: Berrill, J., Cassells, D., O’Hagan-Luff, M., Stel, A. v. (2020) “The Relationship between Financial Distress and Well-Being: Exploring the Role of Self-Employment,” International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, Vol. 39(4) 330–349. doi: 10.1177/0266242620965384. Garvey, B. and Stokes, P. (2022) Coaching and mentoring : theory and practice. 4th edition. London: SAGE. Haan, E. de (2008) Relational coaching: journeys towards mastering one-to-one learning. Chichester: John Wiley. Jarosz, J. (2021) “The Impact of Coaching on Well-Being And Performance of Managers and Their Teams during Pandemic,” International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 19(1), pp. 4–27. doi: 10.24384/n5ht-2722. Kline, N. (1999) Time to think: listening to ignite the human mind. London: Ward Lock. !35


Youth Employment Magazine

How schools can support the next generation of young entrepreneurs In recent years, more and more young people have been looking to start their own business. This increased desire for self-sufficiency has been fueled by two significant developments: 1. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic repercussions have left many young people with dire job prospects, forcing them to look into alternative career paths. 2. The increasing popularity of online businesses and social media seems to have made entrepreneurship more accessible than ever, with many young people, particularly Gen-Z, starting online ‘side hustles’. Seeing as this is what the future holds, it is time for schools to change their approach to education and prepare 21st century students to thrive in this ever-changing world we live in.

How schools can promote and support entrepreneurship There are many ways in which schools can promote entrepreneurship and support students to develop the knowledge and experience they need to become entrepreneurs in the future. Here are a few simple and relatively easy-to-implement ideas that schools could take on board. Most of them are also relevant for higher education. 1.

2.

Invite entrepreneurs to talk to students about their journeys. It is important that entrepreneurs highlight not only their successes but also what it took to get them there, the challenges they have faced and the failures that they have experienced. The aim is not to romanticise entrepreneurship but to show students the ups of downs of becoming an entrepreneur. Promote entrepreneurship contests or business fairs, where students can create and manage a business for a short period of

3.

time and sell products/services to other students and, potentially, to the broader school community. Promote work experience or shadowing programmes, where students spend a few days working in a small business (rather than big companies) side-by-side with the entrepreneurs themselves where possible, to learn more about the routine, challenges and achievements of running a small business. Link theoretical content to entrepreneurship and business management where possible. For example, in maths, get students to calculate a business cashflow to practice basic mathematical operations.

But entrepreneurship education should not only cover hard management skills. Even more important are soft skills and competencies which entrepreneurs need to succeed in a world that is becoming more and more competitive. Developing entrepreneurial soft skills such as innovation, communication, networking, and negotiation will make a huge difference in student’s life, whether they become entrepreneurs in the future or decide to go down the route of formal employment. By implementing some of the ideas above, schools can play a crucial role in educating the next generation of entrepreneurs who have the skills they need to succeed and contribute to the economy and local development. By Youth Business International (YBI) YES! Project

!36


Youth Employment Magazine

Effective remote measures for young people during the COVID-19 pandemic The world woke up to a new reality as Covid-19 swept through and like cankerworm. The global economy took a major hit, physical and mental health suffered, and human interaction changed to accommodate the new normal. Young people had their lives disrupted almost abruptly as adjustments were made to fit whatever worked at the time. There was a huge rise in unemployment and youths were heavily affected by this. Movement was only allowed for essential workers like those in healthcare, grocery shop minders, delivery people, and cops amongst others. For the rest of the populace, remote work became the order of the day. For a group that thrived on social engagements and physical interactions, young people found themselves pulled into restrictions that the remote work world had in place. But were there any measures set up to ensure that they could effectively transition from working from an office to working from home? Remote work is a work mode where professionals work outside of a traditional office environment. This style of work became very popular with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, recent studies show that new professionals of Generation Z have been having a hard time due to the isolation and disconnectedness that comes with remote working. An essay piece in the New York Times stated that flexible work — absent intentionally designed support systems — can hurt the most inexperienced employees in an organization.1

“Their soft skills are weakened because they’re not getting human contact”- Dan Schawbel said in a BBC piece on remote work and young people.”

consciously ensure that they feel included in the workforce even though they are not working from the office. Based on the figures from the OECD risks that matter survey 2020, twothird of the young people surveyed feel that the efforts of governments in ensuring their economic and social security and well-being is not enough, for 18-29 year-olds and the total population.

Fig. 1 Socio-economic well-being of respondents. Source: OECD, 2020 Undoubtably, one of the numerous effects the global pandemic left is a higher rate of mental health issues among people especially young people. An OECD survey revealed more than 35% of young people (18-29 years old) are likely to report worsened cases of mental health for themselves and their households3.

About half of young people’s households have suffered some form of jobrelated disruption since the beginning of the pandemic2. Being thrown into a different method of work can be hard and since there was no time to properly prepare their minds for this kind of shift, there is a need to !37


Youth Employment Magazine References [1] OECD (2021) Young people’s households are heavily affected by COVID-19-related job disruptions. OECD Publishing,Paris,-policy-responses/young-people-s-concernsduring-covid-19 [2] Anne Helen Petersen and Charlie Warzel (2021) Remote work is failing young employees. New York Times - https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/22/opinion/remotework-gen-z.html Fig 1 and Fig 2, OECD ( 2020) Secretariat estimates based on the OECD Risks That Matter 2020 survey, http://oe.cd/RTM.

Adewale Olowode, Munich Business School Fig. 2 Mental health of respondents. Source: OECD, 2020

YES! Project

In order to ensure easier and effective remote work for young people, the following measures are suggested to corporate organizations across Europe and around the world. • Organizations with young people in their workforce should put up measures that ensure the mental health of the young professional doesn’t suffer due to the lack of social contact the physical workspace provides. • As the lockdown eases across Europe, there is a need for organizations to incorporate physical team bonding exercises that will help young professionals interact with their colleagues and have a sense of what the office work scene looks like. • The introduction of a hybrid mode of work is a good way of giving young professionals the office work experience while maintaining some level of remote working. • Workers are more productive when their mental health is not threatened, organizations must understand the burnout young people feel while working remotely and follow the above suggestion to ensure young ones are better integrated into the workspace and the world at large.

!38


Youth Employment Magazine

Creating an environment closer to youth’s habits and needs: YOUTHShare’s role in the process source of concern: today about 56% of public employees are over 50 years old and only 9% are under 35. The generational rebalancing in the public administration is therefore a real need, necessary to create organisational and work models based on complementary and synergic skills, knowledge, and competences, which are essential for a context in continuous and rapid transformation. This is a situation that Italy is slowly trying to reverse thanks to the initiatives promoted by the Recovery Plan for Europe. The need for personnel in the public administration in the fiveyear period 2022-2026 is estimated at 770,000. This is a precious opportunity to rejuvenate the sector

Changes are the basis of human existence and consequently of any social structure that affects our daily lives. Change is even more inevitable in relation to the habits and needs of the younger generations, which are experiencing a more complex, faster-paced life situation. On the other hand, the institutions intended to support them often seem outdated, struggling to keep up with the needs of those who are increasingly losing faith in active citizenship. For instance, Italy is well-known for its complex and sluggish bureaucracy, which often tends to slow down processes and thereby discourage the youngest. Indeed, recent data show a deep mistrust of young people towards institutions. Faced with the question "from 1 to 10 what is your level of trust in the following institutions?", very harsh judgements were made, especially by young women. The average age of those working in institutions, public administrations, and schools is often identified as a

In the case of schools, on the other hand, and despite some problems linked to teachers not being fully up to date, it is worth highlighting the growth of a positive trend in which families, young people and schools are increasingly involved in building bridges with younger generations through sport, art, digital skills and attention to the well-being of the youngest, which has been put to the test during the last few years of the pandemic. Change is possible and certainly starts from the need to make services and dialogue with institutions more accessible and efficient. There are approximately 94 million young Europeans between the ages of 15 and 29. Many of them are still attending schools and universities or training courses, others have already found a job and are building a future. Many, however, are unemployed or have even lost hope of finding a job. Throughout Europe, the European Social Fund (ESF) is funding thousands of projects and programmes to help young people obtain the know-how and opportunities they need to enter the world of employment. Particular attention is paid to the so-called NEET young people. Young people, in some cases, are not sure how to go about finding a job. ESF projects support them through individual career guidance, teaching them how to write a CV and preparing them for a job interview. They also often follow them throughout the job search process up to the first months of placement. And it is in this context that the YOUTHShare project, likewise, !39


Youth Employment Magazine fits into a series of small bottom up changes with their own dynamic of contribution. The YOUTHShare Key Account Managers are an example of such grassroots commitment, constantly engaging with both NEETs and with the institutions in a position to contribute. Claudia Caggiano, KAM YOUTHShare Transnational Employment Centre, Italy YOUTHShare Project

!40


Youth Employment Magazine

The Pandemic on a Country going through Digital Transition The definition of development has long been associated with the capacity of countries to transition to a digital development model. Technology has become the differentiating factor between countries. The more technologically advanced they are, the more evolved and developed they become, which then improves their preparation to face any global adversities. Portugal, despite its small dimension, is heading towards this digital transition, or so it was thought. The year of 2020 clamped down on digital transitions’ processes. All countries, without exception, were affected by the SARS COV 2 virus coming from the city of Wuhan, in China. In Portugal, the first positive case of Covid-19 was detected on March 2nd, 2019. "There is one confirmed case and another case in process of validation," announced the Minister of Health, Marta Temido. Meanwhile, the General Director of Health, Graça Freitas, stressed that "There is no reason to increase public health measures in Portugal". However, sixteen days later, the President of the Portuguese Republic decreed a state of emergency for 15 days. The country literally closed its doors to the world. All public services shut down. Institutions and Companies adopted the teleworking model. Schools moved to the teleschool and digital formats. The country was turned upside down which made us all quickly realize that the digital transition had not yet fully arrived in Portugal. The use of distance learning to replace the face-to-face educational and teaching activities was the most impacting measure in the scope of Education to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Although the response was triggered quickly, the insufficiency of skills and digital means exposed all the fragility of the Portuguese education system.

The Portuguese Court of Auditors concluded in its audit of the Ministry of Education that 4 out of 5 portuguese students did not have access to computers and that many students and teachers lacked digital skills. In addition, inequalities between territories were evident, especially rural territories, such as the islands and the interior of the country. Inequalities gained even greater proportion in groups that tended to be marginalized, as well as among pupils with learning deficits, with specific needs and lack of autonomy. The uncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic generated an urgency on what concerns the Portuguese Education System reformulation. The need to invest in teacher training and capacity building was even more critical, as so was the need to diversify teaching methods and implement investment programmes for the digitalization of schools, through a strategic plan centered on preventive control and an efficient management of public resources. The successive periods of confinement, the restrictions on public circulation, the increased mediatization of pandemic related issues throughout media and social networks placed students among the most vulnerable groups in what concerned the impactful effects of the pandemic. These impacts are still visible after two years of pandemic measures and its effects become more and more complexed as the students return to schools. The “new normal” is here to stay and it is the schools’ obligation to adapt to it the best they can. Ana Margarida Silva - CRESAÇOR StayOn Project !41


Youth Employment Magazine

Schools, institutions, public administration. What should we change in order to create an environment closer to young people's new habits and needs? In a fast-changing and uncertain world, we have to equip our youth not only with new skills and skills for the future, but especially those for a lifetime that will enable them to continually learn and adapt to constant changes and potential shocks, like a pandemic, in the society and on the labour market. The discussions about changes to our educational and administrative institutions have been around for some time and their importance has just gotten more significant during the pandemic. We need to adapt the school’s system and curriculum as well as its connections to the labour market if we want to take into account the youth’s new habits and its needs for the future. How the youth learns and how they are willing to learn today has gone through some substantial transformation. Moreover, we should not neglect all the habits and skills they pick up outside the rigorous education process which in turn affect their ability and motivation to learn. In an information-rich era, certain skills take on more importance than the system has probably been willing to admit so far. Labour market trends and demands show the growing importance of soft or core skills, applicable to all professions. »Evidence from online job vacancy data reveals that communication, teamwork and organisational skills are among the transversal skills most frequently demanded by employers in a wide variety of occupations. Cognitive skills, such as analytical, problem-solving, digital, leadership and presentation skills are also highly transversal across jobs and work contexts.« (Source: The OECD Skills Outlook 2021 report) Additionally, flexibility, a positive attitude towards lifelong learning and curiosity are among the most vital skills future workers will require to remain competitive and to succeed, due to increases in life expectancy, rapid technological changes, globalisation, migration, environmental changes, digitalisation and other trends. The

latter challenges are also reflected in the motivation for the development of The European sustainability competence framework. According to the OECD report and our experiences during the last two years, these strong foundation skills and positive learning attitudes, the willingness and a habit to learn, are absolutely essential for future resilience of our today’s youth and hence their empowerment which is the goal of the StayOn project. They will allow them to make better choices, sustain their motivation and, most of all, better manage change and successfully navigate the complexity of the world on both professional and personal level. Same goes for metacognitive skills which include critical thinking, reflection, and self-awareness. These are, interestingly, also the skills that might differentiate and put humans in advantage to AI which responds less readily to ambiguity, and is less able to develop and discard its understanding of the world. The part that learning attitudes plays in education was made apparent when the pandemic disrupted regular schooling and caused a shift to remote schooling which requires even more intrinsic motivation and selfdirected learning. Unfortunately, the discrepancies between different social groups were made evident, too, as socio-economically disadvantaged youth is usually less well equipped with these skills. Furthermore: »Differences in skill growth across countries were strongly related to the share of individuals not in education, employment or training (NEET). Reductions in NEET rates resulted in decreased disparities in achievement and intergenerational transmission of educational advantages.« (Source: The OECD Skills Outlook 2021 report) We must not neglect the consequences school closures could have in the short term, as they could lead to increased number of young people !42


Youth Employment Magazine leaving the education system earlier, due to lack of motivation and engagement. It could also affect their lifelong learning ability, as the above report suggests: »In the medium and long term, lower engagement could result in the current generation of students failing to develop positive learning attitudes.« A growing number of NEET population as well as the concern to better equip our youth for the future are without a doubt a strong indication that projects, focused on deprivileged groups, their access to opportunities and re-insertion on the job market, are crucial and will be even more so in the future. Projects like StayOn, whose target group are NEETs in rural areas and at risk of social exclusion, are one way to address the pandemic’s disruptions in education programmes, vocational education and training, and bridge the gap in the moment of transition by offering a connection to the job market. Admittedly, soft skills (e.g., interpersonal skills, time management, adaptability, creativity, etc.) are certainly more unpredictable and difficult to teach as well as evaluate, especially from a point of view of a traditional educational system which must envision at least a partial, if not complete, re-invention if it aims to include them. They rely much more on the environment than hard skills, so an individual cannot fully learn them only on their own, but for the most part needs other people to master them. Socio-emotional and motivational factors play a key role in developing them. Therefore, positive and inclusive social interactions must be at the core of any education or training as we are well aware at the StayOn project. It is true that the most efficient way to learn them and get beneficial life outcomes is to start early, at a young age when the personality traits are still forming. We, of course, cannot emphasize enough the central role of environmental, parental or teacher’s support at that point, but just as much later on in life which is why our training offers its young participants individual support and coaching. As the world changes, so do the needs of our youth, which can feel overwhelmed and ill-suited in the rigid educational system. Not finding the connection with the educators and the system is also one of the reasons for youth having a bad experience with the educational process which can result in abandoning the educational system or un-willingness to stay on course of life-long learning after finishing the educational process – both,

as we can see from the data above, having damming consequences on people’s lives. The need to adapt the educational system to the needs of the youth and the (future) world is therefore urgent. It calls for increased flexibility, adaptability, relevance and connectivity which would result in increased practical skills youth needs to better prepare for the life in the ever-changing world. Group projects and play are a great way, to acquire soft skills or further nurture them at any age. Additionally, they positively affect students’ learning abilities and attitudes. Play not only fosters creativity but likewise helps in developing social, emotional, and language skills, improves the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of young people, and undeniably also their individual and social confidence, concentration, attention and ability to understand different environments. Could we, for example, incorporate more art, telling and listening to stories or moving outdoors in our curriculums? Play is equally decisive for nurturing curiosity, readiness to learn new things, and imagination, embracing new perspectives. In classrooms, students should learn how to think outside the box and express their ideas. Imagination is at the basis of human discovery and innovation, which are both indispensable in creating future solutions. Einstein’s famous quote rings ever more accurate in our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world: "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." So, if we aim to equip our youth with all the necessary skills to thrive and to ensure their access to job and life opportunities, we should arm them not only with the knowledge, but more importantly, with curiosity to face the world and imagination to be able to envision a better one. In order to do so, quality and inclusive learning and diversified opportunities must be a fundamental goal, and coordination and partnerships the path which leads us there. Source: The OECD Skills Outlook 2021 report BB Consulting team StayOn Project !43


Youth Employment Magazine

News from the Projects New #YEPartnerSHIP outreach report on Italy: The role of Public Employment Services in the job search behaviour of Italian NEETs multifaceted and can be attributed both to the labour supply and labour demand conditions in Italy in the time window of our analysis. Results for 2020, which account for the effects of policies to prevent the diffusion of COVID-19, return a picture that is coherent with previous evidence. The report is available on the project website: http:// yepartnership.ibs.org.pl/p/the-role-of-public-employment-services-in-thejob-search-behaviour-of-italian-neets Sebastiano Scalco, Francesco Trentini and Claudia Villosio We are glad to inform the youth emaployment magazine community that a new study on the role of Public Employment Services (PES) on the jobsearch behaviour of Italian NEETS. The study has been developed by Francesco Trentini, Claudia Villosio and Sebastiano Scalco at Collegio Carlo Alberto, partner of the YEPartnerSHIP – Youth Employment PartnerSHIP – evaluation studies in Spain Hungary Italy and Poland.

Youth employment partnership Project

The outreach report presents the study of the positioning of the PES in the job-search behaviour of Italian NEETs and their effectiveness in providing support to young jobseekers. We assess the ties between the young population and the PES and then evaluate the strategies used by Italian NEETs to look for a job, with a focus on the reliance on PES. Our findings show that the incidence of young NEETs that rely on PES services is very limited. The reasons for the difficulties in the performance of PES are

!44


Youth Employment Magazine

Internship contracts in Spain: a stepping stone or a hurdle towards job stability? Spain is one of the European countries with the highest unemployment and temporary employment rates. In response to the labour market precariousness that young individuals in Spain have faced for the last 35 years, one initiative that aimed to alleviate this issue was the introduction of internship contracts (IC), aimed at educated young workers. Internship contracts (first implemented in 1998) were designed to provide young workers—who have already completed their university or vocational training education—with the opportunity to develop their professional skills at the start of their career. This professional experience must be related to the level and field of studies, and firms must complement this experience by investing in young workers’ training. In particular, the spirit of the law underpinning IC is that it entails investment in human capital by offering practical training and, in return, benefits by paying lower wages and taxes. The specific question we seek to address in this study is whether this instrument has been an effective active policy to achieve more stable and better employment trajectories for its beneficiaries.

wages disappears, while the employment stability of the beneficiaries of the internship contract is greater in terms of having achieved permanent contracts. Although in the short term, the internship contract does not have particularly advantageous effects in terms of labour market outcomes for their beneficiaries who enter the labour market, its impact becomes more positive 2 and 5 years ahead, especially in terms of job stability. One possible interpretation of this result is that although companies that hire young people through internship contracts do so to reduce costs, this group nevertheless sends a signal of high productivity to the market that allows them to subsequently achieve greater job stability. By Sara De la Rica and Lucía Gorjón

Youth employment partnership Project

The most noteworthy results of the study are as follows: In the short term, the internship contract leads to greater subsequent job instability than an unsubsidised temporary contract, unless the person who benefits from it leaves for another company. In that case, it does appear that IC beneficiaries are ahead of their counterparts in terms of employment stability, understood as the holding of permanent contracts. With respect to wages, the IC seems to have a negative impact, either for those who stay in the company (stayers) or for those who move to another company (leavers). To measure the medium- and long-term effects, we choose the employment situation of the two groups, in particular their contractual situation and their wages, after 2 and after 5 years. When comparing the situation of the two groups, the main disadvantages found in the short term are mitigated. In particular, the negative impact found earlier on !45


Youth Employment Magazine

Youth labour market before and after COVID-19 was Principal Component Analysis to simplify the data structure and reveal the hidden patterns. The Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin test was conducted which proved the feasibility to use this method. The existing set of variables was transformed to the new, uncorrelated variables that are called principal components. The outcome of this analysis is two synthetic indicators which describe some features of the youth labour market.

Currently, the labour market is going through irreversible changes. The start of XXI century was marked by technological change where a lot of jobs disappeared multiple new vacancies popped up. It was underlined by the Covid pandemic. One of the groups that became mostly impacted were youths. They remain vulnerable to the disadvantageous trends in the labour market. They are just kicking off their career having little to zero experience and at the same time big aspirations for the future. In the paper I analyze Spain, Hungary, Italy and Poland from 2016 to 2020. The purpose is to analyze the changes in the youth labour market, taking the Covid-19 pandemic as the main perspective. All of these countries have taken some actions to help youths in this unprecedented situation. The main program in Spain was the Youth Guarantee with the main focus on developing youths’ skills. In Hungary, the National Youth Strategy focused on three pillars: strengthening social integration, empowering youths and promoting youth organizations. One of the helping programs in Italy was a job retention scheme also for temporary workers. In Poland additional income was implemented with a focus on people performing temporary jobs. The data source used in the paper was Labour Force Survey. The created labour market indicators which were analyzed involved employment and unemployment rates from various perspectives. The main research method

The first component, which is particularly low in Italy and Spain, has a common trend in the four countries considered: increasing until 2019 and then declining. The second component shows a sharp decline in 2020 for all four countries. The trend in the two components indicates a strong worsening of the employment prospects for youth as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, in fact, a reduction both in the demand and in the supply of youth labour is observed. Learn more here. Youth employment partnership Project

!46


Youth Employment Magazine

“Youth employment policy” Conference

Join our conference on-site in Brussels or online on the 8th of June 2022. We are going to share the findings of the Youth Employment Partnership research program that was held in four countries - Hungary, Poland, Italy and Spain. The project which started four years ago proved to be even more important due to the challenges that the pandemic brought on us as well as the Russian aggression causing the latest migration of young people from Ukraine. We are all facing serious challenges. Join us in taking them. Dr Max Uebe, Head of Unit Future of Work, Youth Employment in DG Employment will give the opening speech we are proud to announce. And an active part as speakers and panellists will take: Julie Bodson, DUO for a JOB Márton Csillag, Budapest Institute Namita Datta, World Bank Vasi

Gafiuc, Bukovina Institute Joanna Hofman, RAND Marcel Jansen, FEDEA Judith Krekó, Budapest Institute Astrid Kunze, NHH - Norwegian School of Economics Iga Magda, Institute for Structural Research Veerle Miranda, OECD Cillian Nolan, J-PAL Europe Emiliano Rustichelli, Employment Committee Ágota Scharle, Budapest Institute Mateusz Smoter, Institute for Structural Research Raffaele Trapasso, OECD Claudia Villosio, Collegio Carlo Alberto Wouter Zwysen, ETUI You are most welcome to participate. The registration is open and free. Learn more: http://yepartnership.ibs.org.pl/e/youth-employment-policyconference-2 Youth employment partnership Project

!47


Youth Employment Magazine

YEP seminar on youth employment measures in CEE, Budapest, 12-13 May 2022 The EU Youth Employment Initiative has provided ample funding for labour market programmes for youth, and has also encouraged research on the impact of these programmes. The seminar aimed to create a forum for analysts and policy-oriented academic researchers to have an in-depth discussion of the recent evidence on youth programmes, focusing especially on labour markets where (1) youth unemployment or the NEET rate is average or high and there is a fairly large subgroup of vulnerable youth who struggle to enter the labour market and/or where (2) the public employment service is not very efficient /effective. Discussions at the seminar focused on lessons for policy design - on what works well, why-, as well as on data and methodology, especially the potential use of administrative data for counterfactual quantitative evaluations. Keynote speakers included Jochen Kluve (Head of Evaluation at the KfW Development Bank and Professor of Economics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Sarah Kups (Economist at the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs of the OECD) and Anne Lauringson (Labour Market Economist of the same Directorate of the OECD). Participants represented academic institutions as well as public and private organisations engaged in policy analysis, coming from ten countries (Bg, BiH, Cz, Cr, De, Ee, Hu, Pl, Sk and Si). In their keynotes, Sarah Kups sketched an overview of the current state of NEETs in Europe, Jochen Kluve reviewed the evidence on what policies work, while Anne Lauringson described the potential in using administrative data for deepening the evidence base. The country-specific presentations provided very thought- provoking details on the design features and effectiveness of particular active labour market policies (ALMP) for youth, implemented in Central and Eastern European countries.

The lively discussions during the seminar generated several insights that may contribute to improving the effectiveness of ALMP. 1. The institutional context in Central and Eastern Europe seems to magnify the usual risks in designing and implementing ALMP. There are strong incentives to focus on short term effects and on absorbing EU funding rather than maximising the impact of social investments. Also, decisions on how to allocate ALMP tend to be fairly rigid, so that PES are often recruiting jobseekers for particular programmes in order to meet preset targets, rather than focusing on the needs of the jobseeker and finding what may be the best way to help them. In some cases, e.g., for youth lacking basic skills, fast reemployment may not be a desirable short-term outcome, but many ALMP monitoring systems in the CEE lack tools and indicators for measuring interim progress in employability, such as in motivation or skills levels. Performance targets that set the number of placements to be achieved without controlling for the characteristics of ALMP participants (or labour demand) put pressure on PES to offer ALMP to the more employable jobseekers and direct the others to remedial programmes such as public works. Such cream skimming harms equity by barring those who need them most from accessing these programmes. It may also lower efficiency as, research shows that the net effect of ALMP tends to be larger for less employable jobseekers. One way to avoid or mitigate creaming may be to set employment targets over a longer time period (e.g., within 12 months rather than 6 months), or to set separate (lower) targets for less employable groups and define expected placements as a percentage of participants rather than the number of persons to be placed.

!48


Youth Employment Magazine

Many NEET youths are poorly educated and are lacking basic skills and most PES in CEE are not equipped to give them sufficient support. PES would need more capacity as well as better quality and a wider range of services: tools to assess the lacking skills, training in these skills, mentoring to sustain the motivation of youth, and varied measures to tackle any further barriers to employment. Accordingly, empirical evidence on the effectiveness of counselling, mentoring and basic skills training (which have proven to work in countries with well-developed PES) is sorely lacking in the region. In some countries, NGOs could support the PES in providing some of these services or to supplement PES capacities. However, several participants noted that involving NGOs may only work well if PES can engage them in a transparent contractual framework and a systematic checking of quality. 2. Many youths not in education, training or employment (NEET) have no contact with the PES. Seminar participants identified several possible reasons behind this. One of these flows from poorly functioning PES performance management systems: if PES are evaluated mainly on the number of jobseekers successfully placed, they have an incentive to focus on those most employable and will make less effort to reach out to those who may be more difficult to place. Insufficient resources and a limited range of services also tends to reduce the ability and motivation of PES for outreach activities. Youth themselves may be demotivated from visiting the PES by a lack of trust or low expectations about the potential quality of the services they may receive.

Youth employment partnership Project

The remedy may include administrative incentives, such as offering health insurance (or a small cash benefit) to all who register with the PES or improving referral mechanisms and cooperation with other public institutions, especially with schools. The administrative incentives may imply that the PES may need to service an extended pool of formally registered unemployed, some of whom may not be wanting or looking for work, but the corresponding workload may be reduced by using automated, digital tools. Such efforts are obviously more effective if incentives in the PES performance management system as well as PES resources are adjusted accordingly. PES staff may also need training in how to find and how to motivate vulnerable NEETs. !49


Youth Employment Magazine

Project Feel it! (re) cognition of emotions in the world of popular culture. How to talk about emotions with students in an interesting way Emotions, pop culture, using modern technologies - can such a combination prevent addictions among young people? The project plans to create an e-learning course dedicated to students that, in its modules, will address emotions, the competencies to be developed and pop culture artifacts to be used to describe emotions. At the end of each module, students are asked to create their own original project about the emotion they worked on during that part of the course.

The subject of addictions among young people is still one of the priorities of educational and preventive activities in schools and educational institutions. In spite of all the efforts, there has not been any programme across Europe that would give teachers and pupils a comprehensive opportunity to work on their emotions, develop them and show them how to deal with them. In the era of the pandemic and the changes facing contemporary education, the described topics have become even more relevant, and easy and attractive solutions more desirable than ever. These considerations and the real needs of young people in the area of dealing with their emotions have inspired the international consortium to launch an international project entitled Feel it, co-financed by the Erasmus + Programme. The university, in cooperation with European schools from Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Romania and Poland, is successfully implementing this international initiative, which aims to develop students' emotional and social competences within a blended learning programme using digital tools and distance learning concepts and through the analysis of pop cultural artifacts.

The emotions that students will be working on during the course were selected based on Paul Ekman's theory of basic emotions and are: joy, sadness, anger, and fear. The competences that will be developed through the course content have also been selected for each emotion, i.e: empathy, interpersonal decentration, stress management, communication, cooperation, problem solving, active self-presentation, persuasion. The innovation of the project lies in the fact that the basis of each module are pop culture artifacts appropriately selected for each emotion. The starting point for using pop culture as a method of analyzing emotions was the assumption that pop culture is the natural world of young people's lives. It is where a person learns behavioral patterns, social roles, and possible scenarios for their own biography. TV series, shows, songs, music videos, comics, and magazines are not only entertainment, but also (and perhaps above all) a vehicle for narrative. The heroes of popular culture are involved in adventures and situations close to those experienced by young people, they experience similar fears, joys, hopes and dreams. During the course, students will also learn about educational tools that they will use to create their own projects describing emotions. The course will introduce them to tools such as creating their own artifacts, digital storytelling, comics, role discovery and social media self-presentation. !50


Youth Employment Magazine The created course will be made available to European schools as an example of good practice in addiction prevention and will be disseminated as a comprehensive program for the development of emotional and social competences of students in educational institutions. The question remains to be asked Can a teacher "teach" emotional-social competence? "Cannot teach" But he or she can help students learn to develop their competencies on their own, and with the use of tools attractive to the 21st century, this is an attainable goal. Collegium Balticum (Poland) SEPAL Project

!51


Youth Employment Magazine

SEPAL study visit in Brussels, in the field of vocational training and labour market mediation 2022, SEPAL’s delegates have had the chance to exchange ideas with Belgian experts in the field of labour market mediation, finding out that in the local system, professional orientation first starts at the age of 12 and continues at 16, so that teenagers get an early perspective on how they want their future to look like and what has to be done to reach that point.

The so-called “future of jobs” is closer than we have imagined and nowadays, only a few teens who look forward to entering the labour market, are still interested in usual professions. With the fast ascending path of digitalization, new jobs have emerged in the recent years, providing opportunities we could not have foreseen before the popularization of online tools. With this is mind, between the 19th and 20th of May 2022, a Romanian delegation formed by SEPAL (Supporting Employment Platform through Apprenticeship Learning) Project representatives, has participated in a study visit in Brussels, to „Explore School and Vocational Education Opportunities and Boost International Cooperation”. The two-days event, organized by the Brussels Office of the North-East Romanian RDA, has enjoyed the presence of Lead Partner – Bucovina Institute’s President, Mr. Petru-Vasile Gafiuc, accompanied by teachers from “Oltea Doamna” Technological High School Dolhasca, representatives of the ACDC Association Romania, FONSS, Suceava County School Inspectorate and The General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection Botoșani (DGASPC). In the context of the European Vocational Skills Week

Along with Yassen Spassov (DG EAC), Joao Santos (DG EMPL) and Diana Andreea Spiridon (DG EMPL) - representatives of the European Comission, participants have debated the importance of flexibility in vocational training programs, as to adapt their curricula to the current needs of the unemployed and moreover, the forever-changing professions in the digital era. In the second part of the discussions, it was highlighted that young NEETs, aged between 16 and 29, face a lack o social innovation, which also reflects in the difficulties encountered when searching for a workplace. At the moment, vocational training opportunities in the field of entrepreneurship or digital skills, for example, are still underdeveloped, but one easy-to-implement solution could be establishing partnerships with local entrepreneurs, who possess the required knowledge, as role models for the young generation. !52


Youth Employment Magazine The conclusion that we’ve drawn in the end, was that paying attention to the NEETs’ demands and needs and providing personalized training could make a great difference in accessing a job on the labour market. In addition, employment support services must consider introducing mentorship and social assistance in their extended portfolio, as a way out of unemployment and vulnerability. SEPAL Project

!53


Youth Employment Magazine

Start of training in all countries and training to over 700 participants, equipping them with valuable skills and the knowledge needed for employment in specific rural industries. Our consortium’s enthusiasm for the StayOn Project is certainly contagious, as our participants are just as excited to be a part of this wonderful opportunity as we are. Join the StayOn Community: https://www.stay-on.eu/ Meath Partnership team StayOn Project

There’s excitement amongst the StayOn Project partners as we commence the project’s training phase. It can be hard for our young people to gain employment within their rural communities, but our training workshops foster youth empowerment by providing adequate skills for rural labour markets, helping our participants to stay on their rural homelands. Our training offerings focus on the needs of our participants, for example digital skills and personal development, and the needs of their rural communities, such as environmental impact management and skills for traditional sectors of our economies. Many of our training workshops are already taking place in rural areas across Greece, Ireland, Poland, Italy and Portugal, with many young people eager to take part. In 2022, we aim to provide coaching support

!54


Youth Employment Magazine

StayOn Project and partnership work inspire We are delighted to share with you a lift-you-up poem, written by buddy partners Jennifer Smith (Meath Partnership) and Dimitrios Tsolis (Rezos Brands) as a surprise in the form of a song for all the partners of the StayOn project.

If you want to be inspired, Just look how far you’ve come, See, the work you do is really great, In fact, it’s second to none.

While we work together across countries for a more inclusive, active and creative world, with a clear goal of youth empowerment to guide us, the role of "buddy partners" is to support each other in the implementation of the project. What's more, "buddies" also nurture an overall good atmosphere and relationships in the wider partnership.

So when Friday evening rolls around, And it’s time to binge-watch Netflix, Reward yourself with a glass of wine, Or maybe even six. Being a part of this consortium, Is something to adore, As we will keep supporting each other, Long past 2024.

Have a look at the whole poem: StayOn When the workload’s piling up, And you don’t know what to do, You search for inspiration, But you still don’t have a clue. You try to be productive When faced with tasks galore, But all you really want to do Is curl up on the floor.

Continue to believe in yourself, Knowing we have got your back, And remember that you can move mountains, If you just StayOn your track. StayOn Project

Now the workload’s getting higher, And you’re feeling very stressed, Don’t give up, instead remember – You can only do your best. Know that you will get there, Stay calm, relax, and breathe, You’ve gotten through these times before, And that wasn’t all with ease. !55


Youth Employment Magazine

Blue Generation Project Updates Blue Generation Project during the pandemic of Covid-19 reached thousands of young people across Europe and managed to find new ways to connect with and inform them about the training and employment opportunities in the Blue Economy sectors. So far, Blue Generation Project has attracted more than 17,000 youth NEETs to the Blue Economy through promotional visits organized at 273 organizations (high-schools, universities, VET schools, NGOs, and local communities) in Bulgaria, Greece Poland, Portugal and Spain. Although many of our promotional visits were held remotely due to the Covid-19 restrictions, Blue Generation team engaged thousands of youngsters who participated with great interest and posed questions and comments. Moreover, the Project gave the opportunity to many young people from remote rural and insular areas to participate and benefit from the information and networking with other youth from different locations.

At the same time we released a free webinar that is available at the Blue Generation Project Facebook page of the project. This webinar presents each sector of the Blue Economy and the job and the educational opportunities that exist at these sectors. The Blue Economy webinar is free and participants can complete it at their own pace. Additionally, the youngsters who are interested in learning more about the Blue Economy are prompted to register on the Blue Careers Platform and find out training and employment opportunities in the Blue Economy across Europe. We also created a 360 o VR Video in Aquaculture that gives youth NEETs the chance to e-xperience the real work life in Aquaculture, the fastest growing food sector worldwide. More 360o VR Videos are under development in the other sectors of the Blue Economy. The Blue Generation Project is implemented by:

Blue Generation Project

!56


Youth Employment Magazine

Interview with Juan José Torres, Director of the Public Service of Ocupation of Catalonia (SOC) Specifically, the impacts achieved by the different programs promoted by the SOC are positive. A very recent example is the program through which we subsidize the hiring of young people for a year by companies, freelancers, cooperatives and social entities; and that it’s having a very positive and immediate result. This is a case that exemplifies the usefulness and impact of SOC programs, both in the field of recruitment, training and job orientation. And another example is the Work and Training Program for long-term unemployed people without professional qualifications. Once evaluated, 34.45% of the people who have participated in the program have entered the job market sixteen months after completing it. In other words, one out of every three people has found a job as a result of their participation in the programme. What is needed so that active employment policies can be programmed for multi-annual periods and carried out continuously throughout the year? The unemployment rate in Catalonia has fallen for four consecutive quarters during 2021. What has been the impact of active employment policies? How is this impact evaluated? The Public Employment Service of Catalonia (SOC) promotes different active employment policies to promote and guarantee quality services for people and companies in Catalonia. To evaluate the impact of these policies, since 2014, the SOC has had an annual evaluation model, prepared by the Catalan Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (Ivalia). This system allows us, on the one hand, to provide evidence of the results and impacts of the policies that have already been implemented and, on the other, to contribute to the continuous improvement of future active employment policies.

The programming of the SOC is already carried out in a multi-year scenario in the medium term, taking into account the various sources of financing and their specific management rules. In fact, the General Law on Subsidies, in its article 8, already establishes that public administrations will have to specify a strategic subsidy plan, its objectives, impacts, deadlines, costs and sources of financing, and this is what the SOC does. The planning of the programming financed with specific funds such as the ESF, REACT, MRR is already specified through multi-annual files of 2-3 years as a general rule; that allows the collaborating or beneficiary entities of the SOC to have stability in its execution, but in the case of programming financed by the State, the situation is somewhat different since these agreements for the distribution of funds between the Autonomous Communities are only made annually and, therefore, calls must be made year after year. Although it is planned with a multi-year !57


Youth Employment Magazine scenario, the commitments can only be assumed annually and in accordance with the budget allocations assigned and always conditioned by the new agreements that are approved each year.

tools that will help us to determine their future use in a non-pandemic context. The Employment Service of Catalonia has published new calls for

During the pandemic, many guidance and training actions have been carried out through videoconference platforms and virtual classrooms. What assessment do you make? What is the future strategy? In the field of Professional Guidance, we adapt action protocols, methodological guides, publication of informative notes that are still in force today, always keeping in mind placing the citizen at the center of our attention with a close and quality service. The means used have not been limited to videoconferencing, but have gone further and have used the telephone, email... to attend to users, beyond having or not having access to virtual means. Regarding the assessment, after two years, it is positive. This modality has made us get even closer to the population, offering greater accessibility to technical personnel and giving the same opportunities throughout the territory. We must also highlight that the virtual modality offers greater family reconciliation and time flexibility. Looking to the future, the bet will surely be a mixed system to guarantee that everyone can have access to our service, regardless of their digital skills. Regarding Vocational Training for Employment, the assessment of the use of online platforms and the virtual classroom is very positive. The training entities use the virtual classroom as a pedagogical resource, taking advantage of the strengths to work on the more theoretical contents and reserving the presence for the development of activities that require practical skills and the use of instruments and facilities. Training without attendance is a model that we do not expect to disappear, on the contrary, pedagogical models develop more and more resources for online group work and this model makes more sense than ever, when professional sectors have incorporated teleworking. Currently, from the SOC, and in collaboration with the training entities involved, an analysis is being carried out on the implementation of these

subsidies for the hiring of young people, women and people over 45 who are unemployed. What are these subsidies? What is the response from companies? The SOC, this year, has released a new proposal for aid to companies for hiring these groups. It is about supporting the hiring of people with special insertion difficulties so that they can access the labor market, since it is more complicated than the rest of the people who may be unemployed. In the case of people over 45 years of age, women and the long-term unemployed, the SOC gives a subsidy of up to 12 months for the salary and the cost of Social Security. This measure has been successful and a very good response from companies. For young people we have two current calls for subsidies for the hiring of young people between 16 and 30 years of age who are unemployed. These grants have a financing of 125M euros from the European funds REACT-EU. The contracts will be subsidized for one full-time year and the entities that can participate are companies, associated work cooperatives and non-profit entities (associations and foundations). The Employment Service of Catalonia has also published for the first time a call for grants to provide dual training. What does it consist of? What is the future strategy for dual training within the framework of active policies? The new vocational training program for employment in a dual format allows unemployed young people to receive training to obtain a certificate of professionalism in different specialties while being hired by a company for 12 months. The main objective of this call is to help unemployed young people without qualification or a low level of training and with greater difficulties in accessing the labor market, to improve their employability through the dual training of a professional certificate and a training contract. !58


Youth Employment Magazine Dual VT provides answers and improves the empowerment of people and also responds to the needs of the productive fabric and of companies regarding the training and qualification of people. It’s a strategic commitment to meet the needs of the labor market for the coming years.

thought that it was what I had to end up doing, creating my own professional project, and so I did.

What policies does the SOC to promote self-employment?

For many years now I can say that "I am what I want to be". I decided to leave the job I had been in for more than 28 years and embark on my professional path as a lawyer, which, until then, I had been combining. Since 2016, when I accepted the task of directing first the CIRE and now the SOC, I have been fully dedicated to public functions, a privilege that allows me to dedicate myself to serving the citizenry and to issues as important as the social reintegration of people deprived of freedom and now in the field of employment. But I’m always clear about my origin and, above all, what my point of reference is.

Self-employment is promoted from the SOC's own portfolio of services. The Labor Offices guide people enrolled in self-employment and business creation itineraries, informing them of the tools available to them. One of these tools is accredited training in micro-enterprise management, where the people who participate receive skills in very diverse fields such as taxation, business plans, accounting, marketing, etc. This training, free for unemployed people, is key to reducing the mortality of new companies set up by entrepreneurs.

The claim of Autoocupació is «I am what I want to be». And you are?

YES! Project At the university level, we also promote self-employment by cooperating with universities, since they are key agents in guiding young university students in promoting entrepreneurship and the birth of new knowledgeintensive companies such as start-ups. To promote these services, the SOC coordinates with the Generalitat's bodies in matters of economic promotion, the social economy and the creation of companies, which are the responsibility of the Department of Business and Employment. What has been your experience as an entrepreneur? After leaving, in 2014, my job at the financial institution where I had worked for more than 28 years, I started a personal project, creating a law firm, together with other professionals; in which I have developed the free exercise of the legal profession. Also as a team trainer for different companies. My father was an entrepreneur, he came from his town, to Jaén, to Catalonia, and opened his barber business, where he worked for more than 40 years. It is what I have lived in my house all my life, and I always

!59


Youth Employment Magazine

New workshop in the framework of Young Entrepreneurs Succeed! program The first workshop for the year 2022 of the YES! Project held on April 12th 2022. After much deliberation about the mode of the workshop whether online or offline by project partners. A virtual online mode was agreed and it was a success. Munich Business School hosted the virtual workshop and moderated by Giulia Parola. The morning session began with a welcome note and introduction of all partners both returning members and new ones. Followed by training session anchored by Karim, a technical person from SkillLab to all partners (including beneficiary and expert partners) on the operations, management and usage of the software for the YES! Project. The afternoon session was dedicated to Impact Assessment – update on the methods of data collections and framework for the second phase of the project, Knowledge Transfer – A new toolkit to help coaching and mentoring, and Implementation Updates presented by all implementing partners. The workshop ended with all partners sharing a pose for a picture. YES! Project

!60


Youth Employment Magazine

Being NEET in Youthspaces of the EU South: A Postrecession Regional Perspective Youth unemployment and precarity have been expanding in the aftermath of the recent global recession. This article offers a theoretically informed empirical examination of the spatio-temporally uneven expansion of young people ‘Not in Employment, Education or Training’ (NEETs) between 2008 and 2018 in the European Union (EU) South, namely in Italy, Spain, Greece and Cyprus. This article contributes to the growing literature on youth inactivity and marginalization, by focusing on the spatial, rather than just the temporal dimension of youth which marks most relevant studies. The analysis engages with the concept of ‘youthspaces’ to critically analyse the economic, social and political spatialities that determine the dynamic relationship between youth and the labour market, and discuss the persistently high NEET rate in the EU South. Employing a mixedmethods approach, we highlight that gender, class, education and economic growth are key socio-spatial factors that determine the geographically uneven expansion of NEETs across the study regions. Read the full report here. Athina Avagianou, Nikos Kapitsinis, Ioannis Papageorgiou, Anne Hege Strand and Stelios Gialis

Map 1. Over/Underconcentrations of NEETs, by Region, Relative to EU-28 as a Whole (Location Quotient [LQ] values), Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Italy, 2018. Source: Eurostat, compiled by the authors.

YOUTHShare Project

!61


Youth Employment Magazine

Between Mistakes and Biases be placed: more bullet holes should indicate the areas requiring heavier armouring. Or not? Statistician Abraham Wald observed that the bullet mapping was based on the bombers that managed to return from their missions; yet, the bombers that could really reveal the weak spots that required extra armour plates, were the ones that got shot down and failed to return. By identifying the logical error, Wald saved the game and identified what is today known as survival bias.

For the 77th time, Europe commemorated the end of the Second World War. A period that among tremendous disasters, lofty values and base instincts, also left some important lessons to humanity. A lesser known by-product of the WWII period is the emergence of the scientific field of Operations Research. What today is an analytical method of problem solving and decision making in the management of organisations, was at the time an absolute necessity in order to maximise the impact of wartime operations through statistics and mathematical equations. Observations such as the rate of survival of friendly forces, the rate of successfully delivered cargo shipments, or the rate of damage against the enemy were decisive indicators for the outcome of the war. We owe to Operations Research and to the graph presented here one of the most important lessons in research and organisation management. The Statistical Research Group (SRG), a classified US program, received a request from the american navy to determine the optimal amount of armour that bombers should carry in order to balance between efficiency and safety. The “mapping” of the bullets received by returning bombers should be the perfect answer to the question of where the armour had to

Besides its wartime use, survival bias is actually endemic in every human activity entailing performance measurement. In that context, social intervention projects, given the human factor involved, present a significantly more complex framework of performance measurement against set targets, where the trap of survival bias lurks. In different contexts, survival bias is considered a specific category of sampling bias, which refers to conditions where certain members of the researched population are more likely to be part of a sample than others. The YOUTHShare project set out in 2018 to deploy a multiscalar strategy combining research and social intervention with a view to designing and piloting different methods of addressing youth unemployment in South Europe. In that framework, based on their concentration and the existing bibliography, it defined the most vulnerable among the local NEET population, namely migrants, asylum seekers and women. Nevertheless, it soon became apparent to the researchers and to the Key Account Managers of the Transnational Employment Centre alike, that a socially imposed status is different from the objective reality of vulnerability. Being a migrant or a woman does not equate to vulnerability. A close engagement of the field provided even deeper reflections. Vulnerability does not equate to a skills gap either - at least not in the dominant sense of skills as provided through formal education. For South European societies the crux of vulnerability was to be found in disengagement from the labour market. The Key Account Managers have recorded cases of socially skilful asylum seekers that managed to remain engaged to the !62


Youth Employment Magazine labour market despite brief periods of unemployment or highly educated women that were disappointed by their contact with the labour market.

intervention after the completion of milestones could maximise the impact and provide the “sweet spot” between mistakes and biases.

Since this insight was gained as the YOUTHShare project was already under way, the predetermined target groups were found to only partially reflect the essence of the NEET phenomenon in the coastal and insular regions of Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Spain. Given that the Transnational Employment Centre could not and should not refuse support to NEETs that do not fall within the refined vulnerability perspective, the Key Account Managers were exposed to survival bias in the interpretation of the, otherwise impressive, results of the project.

YOUTHShare Project

Until today, more than 700 NEETs have received psycho-social counseling, CV

editing, soft skills training and job matching by the local branches of the YOUTHShare Transnational Employment Centre. 678 former NEETs have registered at the e-learning platform and enhanced their skills in resilient sectors of the Mediterranean economy. But how many among them were essentially vulnerable? How many among them were “re-engaged” with the labour market, while they have never been disengaged? We have grounds to believe that a percentage of them, falling neatly in the target group requirements of the project, reached out to the Transnational Employment Centre rather than be reached out. The YOUTHShare project and its staff, researchers and practitioners, soon became conscious of their exposure to this survival bias. The first question arising is the gravity of this “failure”; in other words, are we helping with the problem if we are not helping only the most vulnerable? The answer is pretty much obvious. Regardless of their level of vulnerability, many former NEETs have actually received support, training and hands-on experience and the YOUTHShare project has had a genuinely positive effect. Under that light, the question changes direction. The target-based performance measurement in funded programs like this leaves limited room for adjustments. Could the impact have been deeper with a more flexible design? Possibly, an impact-driven redesign of the targets and the

!63


Youth Employment Magazine

Is there a uniform NEET identity in the European Union? During the last decade, the policy e orts aiming to tackle the NEET situation (young people who neither study nor work) have increased dramatically in the European Union. Meanwhile, many studies challenged those policies, showing how they failed due to lack of understanding the NEETs. Thus, we analyse the factors that in uence the appearance, mod- i cation and elimination of a NEET identity. The results reveal the presence of a shared NEET identity in the countries with high NEET rates, despite the considerable di erences in the countries’ and NEETs’ characteristics. The NEET rate stands out as the key factor in uencing the NEET identity, showing that this identity depends more on economic cycles than on the speci c country or its culture. Read the full report here. Carlos Pesquera Alonso, Práxedes Muñoz Sánchez & Almudena Iniesta Martínez YOUTHShare Project

!64


Youth Employment Magazine

YOUTHShare present at the 2nd Workshop by StartUPiraeus Support Centre Blue Economy presents a whole new niche of sustainable job positions, under development. During the Workshop, guest speakers and mentors talked about the necessary steps for the development of a successful business idea and subsequently a successful Business pitching. On behalf of the YOUTHShare project, Mr Stelios Kaznesis, project manager at the Network for Employment and Social Care (NESC), project partner of YOUTHShare, made a speech regarding the idea of social entrepreneurship in the blue economy. NESC being based in Piraeus, Greece, is in constant contact with both the challenges of the adjacent to the sea areas and the opportunities of the sea-related jobs. In that respect, a useful crossfertilisation is in front of us! On Tuesday May 24th a Workshop by StartUPiraeus Support Center in Piraeus, Greece took place, where the YOUTHShare project was presented. The StartUPiraeus Support Center was launched in 2021 as a local innovation action within the framework of Piraeus Blue Strategy 2018-2024. Its aim is to set up an organization for the acceleration of the already thriving “Blue Innovation” ecosystem of the city. Among its main goals is to provide the inspiration and support to Startups in order to develop game-changing innovations with an emphasis on the blue economy. YOUTHShare’s aim to reduce youth unemployment in South Europe is perfectly fit for the blue economy sector. All insular and coastal regions under focus are adjacent to the sea and, as a matter of fact, the blue economy remains underdeveloped in most of them. Although the YOUTHShare project researches employability in the agri-food sector, the

YOUTHShare Project !65


Youth Employment Magazine

Project CODE at Tartu Art School - graduates’ experiences The third group of CODE (Competence Opportunities for Digital Employment) students graduated from Tartu Art School at the beginning of this year. Right now we are preparing to open our last CODE group and getting also ready to accept Ukranian refugees into it, if needed. However, before we do that, let’s take a look back on our graduates and the whole project. We can already see the positive influence that the project has had on NEET (not in education, employment or training) people. “Unbelievable, after CODE introduction event, I felt like I was going to shout - why haven't I noticed programmes like this before!” said Singa, a CODE graduate, recalling her first impressions of the project. Grete, an alumnus, who participated in CODE's first group, which focused on graphic design says “I was no stranger to this field, but I had never thought about devoting myself to graphic design before. At CODE, I immediately realized that I wanted to study graphic design at Tartu Art School. Surprisingly, I like sitting behind the computer!” Ave Leek, the school's international coordinator, says the CODE curriculum has developed very well over the years, “The team has started to work great together, we have our own routine and the management of the study group is getting smoother.” CODE mentor Toomas Loide is proud of his students, “They are my favorite students. They are no different from our other learners. NEET does not mean that a person is unintelligent or incompetent, it means that they have not had the same opportunities as other students, but we can offer them those.” CODE group’s teacher Vladimir Brovin adds, “NEET students have different needs. Some need technical skills, others just courage.”

Flexible and supportive curriculum

make changes according to the needs, expectations and wishes of the group. Cooperation with participants is important.” Distance learning during the pandemic made the curriculum even more flexible. Teachers tried to find alternative solutions to long days sitting behind the computer. The school day with remote learning started with a check-up in the morning. Everyone shared their work and plans for the new day. The teacher then gave out the assignments for the day and remained online for consulting, if needed. At the end of the day, students gathered for a check-out again. The students did not have to glue their eyes to the computer screen for eight hours in a row, they just had to finish their schoolwork in the pace suitable for them. Meetings at the beginning and end of the day were important for keeping in touch. Attention was also paid to mental health. For example, students were allowed to sleep longer and the school day started a bit later. The students also had one free week to catch up on their schoolwork without any new tasks. “CODE aims to develop social skills in addition to technical skills. We wanted the group to become a team. Regardless of the pandemic restrictions and distance, we succeeded,” added Toomas Loide. Team spirit was strengthened through extracurricular activities. For example, computer games were played together in the evening during which they got to know each other outside the classroom. Lovisa, a CODE graduate, pointed out liking the small study group and the fact that the students got together every week with a social educator. Mental health was also supported by invigorating exercises. For example, students were sent to take pictures of street art. To the delight of the teachers, the students had formed a good team despite social distancing restrictions, and some went on to complete the task in pairs.

Ave Leek confirms that the CODE curriculum is getting better and better, “The curriculum is flexible because the target group is special. We can !66


Youth Employment Magazine creative field. She went to study at the Baltic Film, Media and Arts Institute. "It was exciting, but after graduating I felt I couldn't do anything, the field was too broad. I didn't understand who I was, even though I had the skills. I couldn't start a new bachelor's degree right after because it would have cost me money.” Grete wanted to consolidate her skills, so the 2nd level vocational training program seemed ideal for her. She recalls the beginning of her study journey, “I didn't have to prove myself or be a little better than I am.”

The alumni experiences are encouraging Karl, an alumnus who worked at the Estonian National Museum for almost two years before entering the CODE curriculum, felt that he is capable of more. When he left work he did not know what to do next. “I didn't know if art school was for me at all, but six months seemed like a good opportunity to get acquainted. In the end, I studied in both CODE groups, because when I graduated the first one, I wanted to get into Tartu Art School, but unfortunately it didn't work out. In the CODE group, however, I caught the eye of the teachers, so I had the opportunity to apply for a place in the second CODE group as well,” recalls Karl. Participating in both groups benefited him and changed his career choice, “The first group focused on graphic design and the second on 3D. Now I am studying 3D at Tartu Art School.” After graduating from high school, Grete felt that she should go on to get a bachelor's degree, but she wasn't quite sure what "her thing" was in the

Students complete the CODE curriculum with a portfolio of the work done. If someone has a clear idea of where to apply for a job or school, teachers will support them with a consultation to put together a suitable portfolio for application. The prerequisite for passing the curriculum is the student attending 75% of the lessons and participating in the assessment of portfolios. Everyone's contribution to joint projects will be taken into account. An important prerequisite for graduation is also communication with a career counselor with whose support a definite goal for the future is set. Several alumni have conducted workshops for new CODE students. Among them Singa and Lovisa. Singa led a tattoo and Lovisa a book folding workshop. Grete, who is currently studying at level 4 vocational training in Tartu Art School, gives lessons to another short-term curriculum - a year of vocational choice - in addition to her studies. Lovisa says that CODE became a springboard for her further studies. “After completing the curriculum, it was quite easy for me to get admitted into the Estonian Academy of Arts,” she says. “The atmosphere in the CODE project was very cozy, I was able to be myself and it encouraged me,” says Grete, who is confident in her choice after finishing CODE. “I still have a lot to learn, but with CODE I got a higher quality portfolio to move on with. I don't know if I would otherwise have gotten into Tartu Art School.” Singa, who now has her own company and tattoo parlor, says that the CODE program provided a lot of new technical skills and also left time for personal life, sports and work. !67


Youth Employment Magazine The mentoring of NEETs has also given a lot to their teachers. CODE teacher Vladimir said, “I am studying to be a teacher at the university and teaching CODE group has helped me on that journey. We did a lot of project study with CODE students, in parallel I wrote my seminar work on that topic. Project training means that we did real work for real clients. For example, T-shirts and a Tartu street art card pack were completed within the course of the project. Students could also try selling T-shirts on social media. In addition, we visited creative companies.” Teacher Toomas admits, “I feel that I am a better teacher after the CODE project. My team building and leadership skills have developed a lot. The students must form a team, as a teacher I try to be a bystander.” CODE Project

!68


Youth Employment Magazine

New training course in 3D modelling in Game design and graphic design presentation of games will be organized under CODE project The training materials will be uploaded to a special online training platform Moodle, which will allow students to watch the lectures at a convenient time and to have full access to the lectures for an unlimited period of time. The training will be held under the CODE project funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment.

Human Resources Development have started the organization of an innovative training course that will combine the subjects from both training programs developed under CODE project. It will be focused on the basics and types of 3D modeling in GAME DESIGN and presentation of games with the help of graphic design. The training program will include the study of history of video games, tools and approaches for creating video game scenarios, designing the levels in the game, design method and 3D models for creating a character, creating an environment, business model for presentation and advertising of the game with the help of graphic design. The course is specially designed for young people at the age of 15 to 19 and it is planned to be conducted entirely online. The course is scheduled to start at the end of June and its duration will be about 10 weeks.

CODE Project

!69


Youth Employment Magazine

Disengagement and Social Cohesion: are individualised approaches enough? One of the indirect consequences of financial crises is that in some sense all the focus gets shifted to financial issues. Of course, this is a reasonable reaction. But, just like the occurrence of a crisis allows us to reflect on the viability and usefulness of past actions, we should also consider whether the shift of focus to practical urgencies has a disorientating effect even after the initial turmoil is over. Starting in 2013 there was a drop in the youth unemployment and NEET rates (although not necessarily in every Member State). One thing worth considering when analysing the events, is at what level the improvement was in fact a result of the policies implemented by Member States to support NEETs or whether it could be attributed to the economic recovery in general. Nevertheless there is another issue that draws attention. Taking a closer look at the subgroups of the unemployed and the inactive, one observes that the decrease in the overall NEET rate is solely due to the decrease in the unemployed. Inasmuch as the goal of policies like the Youth Guarantee was not only to reduce youth unemployment but also inactivity, it would appear that regarding the latter part they cannot be deemed effective. During the last decade the percentage of young people who do not want to work ranges between 4 and 5 percent, while that of the inactive is stable at about 8 percent, as indicated in the graphs below. A first question is whether all the people who answer that they do not want to work do not actually need a job or if some of them are in a state of disengagement. A second question that arises, concerns those who compose the difference between the two groups: there is a 3.5% to 4% of the 15-29 population who would like to work but they are not registered as unemployed.

Source: Eurostat; compiled by the author

One valid explanation lies in the inability of Public Employment Services and relevant services to reach these groups. Several scholars have investigated this situation and provided insight on its sources (for a brief review see also the other article from our project in this YEM issue). !70


Youth Employment Magazine The reinforced Youth Guarantee intends to achieve some progress in this regard. However, in some cases communication fails not only because of the shortcomings of the transmitter or the channel; it may also be that the receiver is not well tuned. Before the 2007-2008 financial crisis, European youth policies were concerned with employment and mobility, but also with promoting active citizenship. In the subsequent European Youth Strategies it is acknowledged that socially oriented and participation behaviours such as volunteering are increasingly taking the form of individualised actions such as consumer support and media attention (European Commission, 2018). The participation of more young people in the public debate is an important contributing factor to better informed and more effective youth policies. Furthermore, such public participation leads to networking; and larger networks of active youths increase the chances of reaching people of vulnerable groups, contributing in this way to the desirable labour market activation and avoiding social exclusion. Active citizenship presupposes trust in social structures and at the same time it can further enhance it. During the years of recession, the levels of trust in institutions declined significantly; in the first couple of months from the Covid-19 outbreak, the Eurobarometer (European Commission 2021) reported a boost in trust in the EU (still, not exceptionally high – at 49%), but this was not the case for national governments (36%) and parliaments (35%). Low levels of citizens’ trust in institutions mean that people do not count on public institutions to solve their problems; they may be hesitant to register to the unemployment records, and they may even not bother to get informed about public calls to join employment programmes. These are symptoms of discouragement and disengagement, bearing all the potential risks for the individual and the society (mental health issues, antisocial behaviour, vulnerability to populism etc); but under this scope, their source is not simply the skills mismatches.

action for the creation of more jobs and ensuring the term “good quality offer” of the YGs (Escudero & Murelo, 2017). At the same time, the focus on fostering social cohesion should be renewed. Promoting active citizenship can be a key factor; but even simpler practices such as the promotion of participation in extracurricular activities have been proven to have a positive impact (You, 2020) Such policies can be effectively implemented through secondary education; but this would require a partial shift from the current trend of developing education in complete alignment with the labour market trends. From our side, in the Cowork4YOUTH project, we are starting to explore how coworking spaces can act as places of networking which -among the other, operational, economic and productivity benefits- can have a broader role in the society by fostering social engagement and contributing to social cohesion.

References European Commission (2021) Eurobarometer: Trust in the European Union has increased since last summer [press release]. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/ en/ip_21_1867 European Commission Communication COM(2018) 269. Engaging, Connecting and Empowering young people: a new EU Youth Strategy, Brussels, 22.5.2018. Escudero, V. and Mourelo, E.L. (2017) The European Youth Guarantee: A systematic review of its implementation across countries. Research Department Working Paper No. 21. August 2017. International Labour Office. You JW. The Relationship Between Participation in Extracurricular Activities, Interaction, Satisfaction With Academic Major, and Career Motivation. Journal of Career Development. 2020;47(4):454-468.

Cowork4YOUTH Project

On the one hand, governmental institutions have to build trust by taking !71


Youth Employment Magazine

The Cowork4YOUTH project: a discussion with its Principal Investigator Cowork4YOUTH is an Analysis and Research project aiming to increase knowledge on the impact of existing policies and offer policy suggestions to enhance youth employment opportunities in less developed EEA regions. It focuses on two types of non-metropolitan regions in the Mediterranean EEA that suffer from particularly high NEET rates: a) tourism-dependent, island or remote coastal regions, and b) regions facing energy transition, decarbonisation or intense industrial decline. Their comparative study will allow for deeper understanding of the impact of employment policies on youth and for designing more effective policies through socially-oriented platform economy and collaborative work practices. With a view to contributing to this issue’s theme of “what do we want to change” we have asked Cowork4YOUTH Principal Investigator Vasilis Avdikos, representing lead partner UEHR, to shed some light on these concepts. An assistant professor of Regional Development and Creative Economy at the Department of Economic and Regional Development, Panteion University, Greece, his research interests lie in the intersection of urban and regional studies with creative and cultural economy, and he has published extensively on that intersection. Besides his role as PI in Cowork4YOUTH, Vasilis is also consortium coordinator of the MSCA CORAL-ITN that looks at the effects of collaborative workspaces in rural and peripheral regions in the EU.

Dr. Avdikos, the Cowork4YOUTH Project focuses on youth unemployment and NEETs. Why do you believe these subjects are important and what made you want to engage with them? Unemployment is an inherent problem of modern market economies. High unemployment rates have a negative impact on regional economies, local

societies (both urban and rural), and of course the personal and social lives of unemployed persons. The term NEETs refers to a special category of persons not in employment, those Not in Employment, Education or Training; looking at peripheral regions with weak economic bases, we see that high NEET rates generate a string of negative effects, like brain drain, depopulation or high crime rates. The effects are deep and persistent and we need to provide answers to some long-standing questions. In particular, we need to assist policy-makers in tackling unemployment and NEET rates and offering more opportunities for young people in small and peripheral regions and cities. Among other things, Cowork4YOUTH looks at socially-oriented platform economy and collaborative work practices as a means of access to a living wage. Do such alternative sectors and practices have the potential to contribute to more effective employment policies? Both practices, platforms and collaborative workspaces (such as coworking spaces and hubs) are here to stay. The pandemic and the subsequent measures proved that platforms represent a new way of matching demand with supply; collaborative spaces, on the other hand, support remote workers, digital nomads, freelancers and startuppers by providing more access to networks and funding, new employment opportunities, and offering some protection against precarity. Collaborative workspaces have also been used as a policy tool where they offer training programs and other resources to those in the start of their career or to the unemployed. On the other hand, research shows that in certain cases, particularly in rural and peripheral areas, the platformisation of an economy may intensify precarity. This means that platforms must be used with care and that we need to explore alternative methods of implementation, keeping in mind a number of social problems, such as access to !72


Youth Employment Magazine practices need the support of the public sector, as well as specific funding schemes. Cowork4YOUTH Project

How common are these practices currently and what is required in order for them to succeed? Collaborative workspaces, especially the more community-led ones, are already an established feature of urban and metropolitan areas around the globe, where they are in common use and often function as a form of economic and social infrastructure. The last few years have seen the expansion of the phenomenon to rural and peripheral areas as well, in an attempt to meet the needs of the local socio-economic environments; the intention is to provide relevant infrastructure and resources, while uniting local creative forces. That means that collaborative workspaces can be considered as placebased initiatives that give answers to local problems and challenges. On the other hand, socially-oriented platforms are just starting to develop and increase, mostly in large metropolitan areas. If they are to meet their objectives and act as local catalysts and social innovation enablers, both !73


Youth Employment Magazine

Youth Employment Policies: a literature review On the question of “what do we want to change”, one of this edition’s themes, we considered it interesting to take a broader view of the question. Besides discussing what the Cowork4YOUTH team wants to change, as a group or as individuals, it is also useful to take a look at what comes across in academic articles in general concerning youth unemployment. The following article presents an overview of recent literature concerning the European Youth Guarantee and NEETs. Focusing on 15 publicly available articles/papers/reports published since 2020, the article does not attempt to be exhaustive, but simply to get a “feel” for what the literature on the subject has to say. What are the most commonly cited necessary changes? It should be noted that the articles reviewed do not all take a Europeanwide perspective, but many focus on specific countries. Therefore, the observations found in each article are not necessarily generalisable and one should be careful not to assume that each of the categories mentioned below holds true for every European country. Still, this aggregation of various observations should help give a general idea of what is being discussed “out there”.

Issues concerning data One big category of criticism concerns the data used in conjunction with the youth employment policies. On the one hand, this may concern the quality of the available data: Boeren et. al. (2020) stress the need for longer-term monitoring of specific groups to extract more meaningful data; while Pesquera Alonso et. al. (2021) note possible bias in data due to the collection methods, as well as a lack of analysis of data in favour of simple descriptive presentations. At the same time, Petrescu et. al. (2022), note the lack of disaggregated data that makes it difficult to get information about specific groups (e.g. NEETs in rural areas vs urban ones).

This last observation leads us to another prominent category that concerns data, namely the articles that mention lack of diversified data, especially qualitative and empirical data. Petrescu et. al. (2022), Madoń et. al. (2021) both note this lack and the Youth employment partnerSHIP (2021) policy brief calls for use of pilots and field experiments, as well as regular evaluations. All this discussion of problematic or insufficient data may also be related to complaints about the collaboration between different agencies and the comparability of their data [Petrescu et al (2022), Petrescu et. al. (2021), Boeren et al (2020)].

Reaching and supporting different NEET groups The lack of quality data (statistical or empirical) is not unrelated to another major strain of criticism, which we tentatively named “lumping NEETs together”. Amendola (2021) calls for more tailored social support policies, similar to the Youth employment partnerSHIP (2021) policy brief that calls for more targeted and flexible interventions, as well as highlighting factors such as gender. Strecker et. al. (2021) notes that there is a disregard for individual differences of NEETs, while Focacci (2020) stresses the need to take into account the social stimuli and incentives of individuals and specific subcultures that may lead to a sense of exclusion. One of the most commonly mentioned things that need to be changed is the effectiveness of outreach efforts and the need to focus even more on the most difficult-to-reach groups and individuals. There is a feeling that in many cases ALP programmes are content to reach their targets by turning to the easiest to reach NEETs, leaving the most vulnerable out of the picture. Recommendations in this direction can be found in Petrescu et. al. (2022); Petrescu et. al. (2021); Andersson et. al. (2021); Focacci (2020); and Kreko et. al. (2020); while Molina et. al. (2021) also emphasise the need to better research these marginalised groups.

!74


Youth Employment Magazine deficiencies and pathologies requiring interventions promoted by psyknowledge”.

Conclusions The most common themes found in the literature reviewed in this article, are: • Improve the data available regarding the NEET phenomenon (including more use of empirical and qualitative data); • Not lumping NEETs together and improving efforts to reach out to the most vulnerable and isolated groups and individuals; • The need to pay more attention to structural factors contributing to the NEET phenomenon, while moving the focus from short-term employment to quality, long-term support, and stability.

Broadening the scope A major criticism of current Active Labour Policies is that, by focusing on skills gaps and personal incentives, they often ignore structural factors such as labour market conditions, legislation, demographic factors etc. In various forms, such concerns are raised by: Jonsson et. al. (2022); Strecker et. al. (2021); Amendola (2021); Molina et. al. (2021); Cabases et. al. (2021). This is closely related to the arguments made for “looking beyond the dichotomy of employment/unemployment” [Molina et. al. (2021)] to include issues such as job precarity [Jonsson et. al. (2022)] and taking a broader approach to youth support (which might include educational support, preventive policies, social care etc) with a more longterm outlook [see Cabases et. al. (2021); Boeren et. al. (2020)]. In the same vein but with an even deeper critique, we have Mäkelä et. al. (2021) and Strecker et. al. (2021). Strecker et. al. (2021) take a critical view of the NEET concept itself, which they see as coming from a deficit perspective that places the burden on the individual, resulting in a stigmatisation. Mäkelä et. al. (2021) provide a critique of Finnish Outreach Youth Work programmes through the lens of psy-disciplines, decrying a system that views youths’ challenging life situations as “individual

One thing is certain: implementation of the European Youth Guarantee is far from uniformly perfect. Of course this is not unexpected of such a complex and relatively recent project. Mistakes are to be expected, but through evaluation, analysis, and critical assessment- also to be used as stepping stones for improvement. References Jonsson, F., Goicolea, I., Hjelte, J., & Linander, I. (2022), Representing a Fading Welfare System that Is Failing Young People in ‘NEET’ Situations: a WPR Analysis of Swedish Youth Policies, Journal of Applied Youth Studies (2022) 5, 75–90. https://doi.org/ 10.1007/s43151-022-00071-x . Strecker, T., López, J., & Àngels Cabasés, M. (2021), Examining NEET situations in Spain: Labour Market, Discourses and Policies, Journal of Applied Youth Studies (2021) 4:119–134, https://doi.org/10.1007/s43151-021-00048-2 . Petrescu, C., Ellena, A. M., Fernandes-Jesus, M., & Marta, E. (2022), Using Evidence in Policies Addressing Rural NEETs: Common Patterns and Differences in Various EU Countries, Youth & Society 2022, Vol. 54(2S) 69S–88S, https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0044118X211056361 Petrescu, C., Negut, A., & Mihalache, F. (2021), Implementation of the Youth Guarantee Program in Romania, Calitatea Vieții, 32(4), 449–467. https://doi.org/10.46841/RCV. 2021.04.07 !75


Youth Employment Magazine Madoń, K., Magda, I., Palczyńska, M., & Smoter, M. (2021), What Works for Whom? Youth Labour Market Policy in Poland, IZA DP No. 14793.

Cowork4YOUTH Project

Amendola, S. (2021), Trends in rates of NEET (not in education, employment, or training) subgroups among youth aged 15 to 24 in Italy, 2004 – 2019, Journal of Public Health: From Theory to Practice, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-021-01484-3 Molina, O., & Godino, A. (2021), Scars that never heal: dualization and youth employment policies in Spain from the Great Recession to the Corona crisis, Sociologia del Lavoro, 159/2021, pp. 111-132, DOI:10.3280/SL2021-159006. Andersson, L., & Minas, R. (2021), Reaching without outreaching: A comparative policy study of EU member states policy agenda on youth unemployment, International Journal of Social Welfare; 30:255–265, DOI: 10.1111/ijsw.12470. Cabasés, M. A., & Úbeda, M. (2021), The Youth Guarantee in Spain: A worrying situation after its implementation, Economics and Sociology, 14(3), 89-104, doi: 10.14254/2071-789X.2021/14-3/5. Focacci, C. N. (2020), “You reap what you sow”: Do active labour market policies always increase job security? Evidence from the Youth Guarantee, European Journal of Law and Economics, 49, 373–429, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10657-020-09654-6 Krekó, J. Molnár, T., & Scharle, A. (2020), Active Labour Market Instruments Targeting Young People and the Youth Guarantee Programme, The Hungarian Labour Market 2019. The Hungarian Labour Market, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Budapest, pp. 105-109 Youth employment partnerSHIP (2021), Policy lessons from the evaluation of youth employment policies in Spain, Hungary, Italy and Poland, http://yepartnership.ibs.org.pl/ p/policy-lessons-from-the-evaluation-of-youth-employment-policies-in-spain-hungaryitaly-and-poland

Youth Guarantee: Looking for Explanations, Sustainability, 13, 5561. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/Su1310556 Boeren, E., Mackie, A., & Riddell, S. (2020), Employability pathways for young adults: lived experiences of learners and practitioners in Youth Guarantee programmes. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 39(1), pp. 119-131, doi: 10.1080/02601370.2020.1728405. Mäkelä, K., Mertanen, K., & Brunila, K. (2021), Outreach youth work and employability in the ethos of vulnerability, Power and Education, Vol. 13(2) 100–115, DOI: 10.1177/17577438211021943. !76


Youth Employment Magazine

LEAD Project, Romania: Interest in introducing Supported Employment as a new service for people with disabilities, recognized by law as a new service for people with disabilities, recognized by law, to understand each other's point of view, and to identify the steps to be taken so that these services become widely accessible", said Nicolae Dobrescu, Executive Director of HAO and the manager of Labour market Employment for young Adults with a Disability project (LEAD). "We do not seek to have as many beneficiaries as possible enrolled in the project. Instead, we work hard in order to have young adults who keep their jobs for a long time, who become well-integrated, and who live an independent life. At the same time, we develop long-term relationships, based on mutual respect with the employers we work with", emphasized Nicolae Dobrescu.

In mid-April, Health Action Overseas Romania Foundation (HAO) organised at the Palace of Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and Industry the roundtable "Challenges and Perspectives on Supported Employment Services for People with Disabilities in Romania". Representatives of public institutions engaged in disability policies, and of business organisations, public and private providers of educational, social and employment services, alongside human resources specialists from organisations and companies intereseted in assuring an inclusive work environment attended the event. "Experience shows that the Supported Employment model works regardless of the company’s size, the field of activity, or the disability of the beneficiary who we want to integrate. Only three elements matter: the young adult's desire to work, the openness and availability of the employer, and the quality of the services offered by the specialists. We are here to discuss constructively about the issue of Supported Employment

Adela Crăciun, vice-president of National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, also spoke about the importance of mutually beneficial collaboration between all parties involved. "Imposing is not a solution. When we do that, we can not guarantee to our beneficiaries the quality and sustainability of the integration process on the labour market. Moreover, this approach will have a boomerang effect, hitting precisely the vulnerable groups, which we want to protect, and will contribute to the furtherance of discrimination", underlined Adela Crăciun. In her opinion, simple funding mechanisms, coherent public policies, focused on the importance of the social worker and the change of mentality regarding disability, including ones through such events, are needed. In context, Adela Crăciun pointed out that National Recovery and Resilience Plan could be a chance, because it includes financing options for employment and assistive technologies for vulnerable groups.

!77


Youth Employment Magazine "I think that wide spread of the Supported Employment, a model based on a partnership strategy between the employee, the employer and the employment service provider, is a solution that must be seriously considered. However, I appreciate that better communication between the companies' representatives and other social actors is needed. I am glad to say that the chambers of commerce could play an important role on this issue, given their permanent contact with their members, and the partnership system developed over time”, underlined Iuliu Stoklosa, president of Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “In my opinion, by supporting the local community and developing a socially responsible business, we will attract new customers/consumers, shareholders and investors, and we will improve our reputation in a sustainable way. So, I express my entire openness to promote success stories and good practices on the local business environment in order to strengthen the previous idea”, said Iuliu Stocklosa. "The model of Supported Employment was created in the USA in the 70's. It was imported into Europe, initially in the United Kingdom, and then it has expanded in other countries. In 2018, HAO started implementing such a model in Romania, within the LEAD project, with the support of Status Employment, the expert partner from United Kingdom. The Supported Employment model has caught on very well, and the figures confirm this statement: all assumed indicators have been exceeded by almost 100%. Also, in 2019, we established the National Network of Supported Employment Services Providers within the LEAD project, in order to facilitate the implementation of Supported Employment methodology throughout the country and to ensure the exchange of information between professionals in the field", explained Alina Dobrescu, Coordinator of the Supported Employment Programme.

companies which use our Supported Employment program. Moreover, our specialists stay in touch with the employer in order to identify the problems which appear during the integration process and to solve them. Additionally, they work with the team members of whom the beneficiaries are part, in order to help them communicate effectively with them. Last but not least, our team provides comprehensive information regarding legal framework, tax facilities and benefits granted by the state to employers working with people with disabilities. The roundtable was organised within “Labour market Employment for young Adults with a Disability - LEAD” project, funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment. The project is addressed to: the young adults with disabilities; the parents and the relatives of young adults with disabilities; the companies; the specialists and the providers of Supported Employment services. LEAD project is implemented by Health Action Overseas Romania Foundation (HAO), as leading partner, alongside Valakupiai Rehabilitation Center (Lithuania), Consultis - Consultoria Empresarial, Unipessoal Lda. (Portugal), and Status Employment (United Kingdom). Cristina Şerbănescu LEAD Project

Within LEAD project, young people with disabilities benefit free of charge from: vocational profiling, counselling to develop self-confidence, preparing for a job in line with their professional training and interests, inwork and outside work support. Also, recruitment, pre-screening, training and support services at the workplace are provided free of charge for !78


Youth Employment Magazine

Contributors & Credits CONTRIBUTORS From the Fund Operators Mateusz Wiśniewski Francesca Bombarda Sara Barbi External Contributors Thomas Mc Grath Victoria Tokatzian Department of Public Relations and Marjeting for Tirana European Youth Capital 2022, National Youth Congress of Albania From the Projects Anna Maria Darmanin Bucovina Institute KoiSPE Diadromes Jörg Schoolmann Jo Gray Guillem Aris Youth Business International Adewale Olowode Claudia Caggiano Ana Margarida Silva BB Consulting team Sebastiano Scalco Francesco Trentini Claudia Villosio Sara De la Rica Lucía Gorjón Collegium Balticum

Anne Hege Strand Stelios Gialis Carlos Pesquera Alonso Práxedes Muñoz Sánchez Almudena Iniesta Martínez Cristina Şerbănescu Zuzanna Kowalik Gojana Paponja Alina Adomnicăi Monika Peter Tzvetkova Maria Evangelia Gretsi Laura Pacareu Flotats Kremena Yordanova Meath Partnership team Athina Avagianou Nikos Kapitsinis Ioannis Papageorgiou

Themes of the month: Projects: 0033, 053, 058, 086, 094, 0181, 314, 345 DIRECTOR Gian Luca Bombarda

!79


Youth Employment Magazine

Cover image: Cowork4 YOUTH & YOUTHShare Open Event The contents of the Magazine are the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the Donors.

born with the intention of sharing the results and updates of the projects participating to the Fund to showcase the main achievements of implemented activities. Follow us: www.youthemploymentmag.net

Don’t miss the Youth Employment Forum!

Go to the Forum Contact us: themag@youthemploymentmag.net Official number: 3380/2019

FUND OPERATED BY:

!80