The reinforced Youth Guarantee Program necessitates new approaches and methods on behalf of the public employment services


How can young people from vulnerable backgrounds be involved in the reinforced Youth Guarantee (YG) Program? Can more effective cooperation between public employment services, schools, social service providers and other grassroots NGOs improve young jobseekers’ outreach, skills and mental health?


The Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation on A Bridge to Jobs – Reinforcing the Youth Guarantee on 30 October 2020, which puts forward a number of key modifications in the priorities of youth interventions. One of the most important changes is the fact youth interventions have to  reach out to a wider target group and become more inclusive concerning young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds (e.g. those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities or those with disabilities) who have been unable - for different reasons - to benefit from the Youth Guarantee Program so far.

This more inclusive approach which puts major emphasis on vulnerable groups underlines the need 1. to offer psychosocial support and individualised skills trainings (e.g. IT and basic skills development), and 2. to build formalised partnerships with educational institutions, grassroots NGOs and social providers.

But how does all this affect the current activities of the public employment services in the EU Member States and how can they adapt their offer to these new goals?

At the online Thematic Review Workshop organized by the Network of European Public Employment Services on 18-19 March 2021, PES experts mentioned reaching out to inactive young people who might not have trust in large public institutions as one of their biggest difficulties. Reach-out is one of the key building blocks of the recent project lead by the PES of the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium, which has commissioned grassroots youth services, having active contacts with local disadvantaged young people, to inform and involve those most in need. Similarly, the plan ‘1 young person, 1 solution’ in France where local counselling services (missions locales) at regional level actively take part in reaching out to vulnerable young people, as well as offering a wide range of services which help them in finding the most appropriate form of support. It is also worth mentioning the mobile counselling and registration service used by the Estonian PES which requires staff members to travel to where clients live and set up locally. This mobile service is useful for reaching young people and their parents living in disadvantaged settlements far from PES offices. One recent and unique further development of this project has been to provide inmates, who are shortly to be released from prison, with personal job and debt counselling and with different trainingsThe availability of psychological and health services at the Finnish one-stop-shop youth centres (Ohjaamo) is also innovative and was one important element of their success.

In a thematic paper commissioned by the Network of European Public Employment Services,  Márton Csillag, senior researcher at BI reviews the main points of the Recommendation, then highlights some areas where PES will need to adapt, mentioning some of the issues, some of the promising practices recently implemented or piloted, and some potential solutions discussed at the Thematic Review Workshop, as well as organized with the contribution of BI.

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