The EESC stresses the usefulness of the Youth Opportunities initiative and is ready to get involved in implementing the initiative by cooperating with the social partners and civil society organisations and through joint action with stakeholders to promote it.
The EU's austerity policy and the lack of a clear and generally recognised growth policy could jeopardise the success of the Youth Opportunities initiative, therefore it is vital to create an appropriate economic and financial environment.
Taking into account the different situations of young men and women, the EESC emphasises the importance of appropriate education, training and careers advice.
The EESC believes it is appropriate to support first work experience and on-the-job training and agrees that quality apprenticeships, placements in enterprises and traineeships as well as voluntary service programmes are an important means for young people to acquire skills and work experience.
The first job should guarantee a set of minimum employment standards.
The Youth Guarantee initiative should be supported by an active labour market policy which helps close the gap between the education and training system and the labour market.
To address the deterioration in young people's labour market prospects, the EESC proposes to:
- set ambitious EU objectives for youth employment;
- consistently implement the Youth Guarantee in all EU countries;
- deploy increased EU funding and make access easier, especially in strongly affected countries;
- set aside increased funding in the new EU budget for tackling youth unemployment;
- improve young people's access to unemployment benefits;
- deal with insecure and unregulated work in training and internships; - promote the dual education system more strongly as a model for the EU.
The creation of new high-quality jobs must remain a priority.