Tackling youth unemployment is a top policy priority. For today's young people to be in a position to shape tomorrow's Europe, they need the opportunity to live an independent life, which includes a job in line with their qualifications. Only a strategy geared towards growth and aimed at strengthening competitiveness and restoring the confidence of investors and households, as well as sustainable investment and an economic recovery plan, can stimulate demand for labour.
To encourage businesses to engage new and often inexperienced workers in economically uncertain times, there need to be the right incentives. The education system must provide the vocational and personal skills needed to start a career, include vocational training that is more closely geared to the needs of the labour market, and promote an entrepreneurial mindset. Also necessary is a dynamic and inclusive labour market in which people have the skills essential to a competitive European economy and sustainable economic growth in the long term. Reforms to this end must strike a balance between flexibility and security, which is best achieved with the involvement of the social partners.
Young people should be assisted by qualified careers advisers when choosing a career. An analysis of medium-term labour needs, particularly at local level, can usefully influence career choices. Member States whose education systems combine theoretical instruction with practical training (the dual training system) have had relatively low youth unemployment rates during the crisis. These systems are especially successful if all stakeholders (employers and workers, their representative organisations, and public authorities) assume their responsibility.
Public employment services also have an important role to play in the transition from school to work. They should have the appropriate financial and human resources not only to support unemployed people in their search for a job, but also to remain in close contact with the labour market.
Involving the social partners in a growth strategy, labour market reforms, education schemes and reforms of public administration, and involving youth organisations in the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, will ensure the consent of large parts of the population and thus social stability. Only decisions with broad support have a chance of bringing about sustainable change.
The opinion contains a long list of good examples of Member States' measures to tackle youth unemployment.