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EESC opinion: Youth employment, technical skills and mobility

18 Jan 2012
Adopted References: CESE 148/2012 - SOC/421 Own-initiative Rapporteur: Andersen (Employers - GR I / Denmark) Plenary Session: 477 - 18 Jan 2012 - 19 Jan 2012 (Summary Plenary Session) OJ C 68, 6.3.2012, p. 11–14

Youth employment, technical skills and mobility

Key points

  • Demographic trends pose major challenges for the labour market. The consequences of the economic crisis show that the labour markets suffer from structural problems. Young people in particular find it difficult to gain a footing in the labour market despite having appropriate skills. Member States should therefore carry out the reforms provided for in the Europe 2020 Strategy and the national reform programmes in order to revive growth.
  • Youth unemployment entails major economic and social disadvantages for society and young people and restricts opportunities for growth. Europe's competitiveness will depend to a great extent on skilled workers, and it risks losing ground in the competition for specialist and highly skilled workers.
  • Nobody really knows what tomorrow's jobs will look like, but training should be based on labour market needs and solutions to actual problems. There should be greater recognition of skills acquired outside the training systems. Curriculums should focus more on general and innovative competences.
  • Barriers between the education system and the labour market should be dismantled and excessive focus on financial considerations should be avoided. The partnership between businesses and the education sector should be deepened with a view to the development of curriculums and the anticipation of future needs. Training should lead to employment.
  • There should be more room for twin-track training and traineeships in the education system, also in relevant higher education courses and vocational training. Synergies between practical activity, workplace learning and classroom work make young people more employable, smooth their path into employment and give an impetus to the development of teaching.
  • Countries wishing to introduce a twin-track training system should receive subsidies from the European Social Fund to cover the initial start-up costs.
  • An open and dynamic labour market can promote mobility and in particular create job opportunities for young people. The Europe 2020 Strategy and the national reform programmes require the Member States to modernise their labour markets in order to improve their take-up capacity and operation.
  • An active labour market policy which motivates jobseekers and people in employment to undertake lifelong learning helps to boost vocational and geographical mobility and thus creates more employment opportunities.