Providing youngsters with the opportunity to secure productive employment and decent work is a societal, national and global challenge.
To contribute in crossing barriers of unemployment Eastern Partnership Youth Forum took place in Riga within the framework of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.For the second time EaPYouthForum creates the platform for people to the partnership and finding solutions to the problem of youth unemployment.
It contributed also strongly to legitimizing youth work and youth policy as credible and important sector of civil society. Eastern Partnership is the policy which provides the opportunity to the European Union to build closer links and ties based on mutual interests and wishes.
Participants of the forum generated new solutions to the youth unemployment problem and analyzed opportunities to adapt various existing mobility and international cooperation programs in order to boost employability of young people.
More than 200 participants from almost all over Europe talked about what mechanisms can be entered to increase youth employment, promote volunteering and encourage entrepreneurship. In order to encourage youth entrepreneurship, ongoing support from professional experts and volunteers was provided to promote leadership and confidence.
As the matter of fact, so far the cooperation in the youth field between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries has been implemented mainly with support of non-formal learning programs "Youth in Action" and "Erasmus+".
On the forum all participants were divided into several working groups, where each developed recommendations. Thematic workshops were all about alternative job opportunities for youngsters, easing the transition of young people from education to the labor market, youth policy, cross - sectorial cooperation and mobility programs.
Although one conclusion does not fit all, meeting the youth employment challenge calls for an integrated and coherent approach that combines macro and micro economic interventions and addresses both labor demand and supply and the quantity and quality of employment.
What should be done?
Action has to be taken in order to avert the growing youth employment crisis. The expected inflow of young people into the labor market, rather than being viewed as a problem, should be recognized as presenting an enormous opportunity and potential for economic and social development. Governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, international development partners and civil society need to tap into this vast productive potential of both women and men.
We should not forget the fact that there is a close relationship between a young person’s employment prospects and education. Basic education constitutes the foundation of young people’s employability and is also an effective means of combating youth labor and eradicating poverty. It is now widely accepted that long-term investments in human capital play a key role in enhancing the productivity of labor and growth. Ensuring that adolescent and youngsters are provided with quality formal and non-formal education programs is essential, including vocational training that would lead to their empowerment and to more opportunities for decent work in their adulthood.
High unemployment and long job searches may be manifestations of poor relevance of pre-employment job-entry training. Matching skills development with market needs is crucial in giving young men and women the possibility of competing for jobs.
Private sector growth is a key engine of job creation as well as youth entrepreneurship is an important component of employment policies. In most countries, with proportionately large populations of young people, the barriers to doing business are high and even higher for young people. This serves to thwart enterprise creation, encourage informality and jeopardize good governance. Supporting youth as entrepreneurs will provide an impetus to social and economic development.
Eastern Partnership Youth Forum strengthened the recognition of youth work and non-formal education, forming closer links between the work at the international, national and local level.
Innovative youth work best practice examples will be exchanged, and participants will also elaborate youth policy recommendations that are going to be presented also in Eastern Partnership Summit taking place in Riga on 21-22 May.
Photos by EaPYouthForum