Investing in our youth

Adjacent Local Government sheds light on the European Youth Strategy and what role the Eastern Partnership Youth Window plays.

Young people are key for a successful future and economic development throughout any nation. Through its Youth Strategy 2010-18, the European Commission aims to provide better and equal opportunities for young people in education and in the job market; and, encourage young people to actively participate in society.

Almost 6 million people are unemployed in the EU, with around 2 million vacancies, and a third of employers report difficulties in recruiting staff with the skills they need. Unemployment is one of the key areas that the Commission believes is important to resolve, especially for young people.

The Commission understands that it is important to invest in young people in order to invest in our future development. At the forefront of their priorities they aim to boost skills, employability and the modernisation of education, training and youth systems, through a number of programmes.

One of these is the Erasmus+ initiative, which is a seven year scheme that will help support to study, train, and work or volunteer abroad for 4 million people. It has 3 main targets: two-thirds of the budget is allocated to learning opportunities abroad for individuals, within the EU and beyond: the remainder will support partnerships between educational institutions, youth organisations, businesses, local and regional authorities and NGO’s, as well as reforms to modernise education and training and to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability.

Through the Erasmus+ programme, 2 million higher education students will be able to study or train abroad; 650,000 vocational students and apprentices will receive grants to study, train or work abroad; and, 125,000 schools, vocational education and training institutions, higher and adult education institutions, youth organisations and enterprises will receive funding to set up 25,000 ‘strategic partnerships’ to promote the exchange of experience and links with the world of work.

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassillou is supporting Erasmus+ and the importance of education and training. “I am pleased that the European Parliament has adopted Erasmus+ and proud that we have been able to secure a 40% budget increase compared with the current programmes,” she said. “This demonstrates the EU’s commitment to education and training. Erasmus+ will also contribute to the fight against youth unemployment by giving young people the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills through experience abroad.

“As well as providing grants for individuals, Erasmus+ will support partnerships to help people make the transition from education to work, and reforms to modernise and improve the quality of education in Member States. This is crucial if we are to equip our young generation with the qualifications and skills they need to succeed in life,” concludes Vassilliou.1

Along with Erasmus+ another programme that aims to support cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries in the field of youth, is The Eastern Partnership Youth Window. The programme had a total budget of €29m for 2012/2013 – €14m of which was dedicated for 2012 and €15m for 2013.

Launched in 2009, the programme’s main aim was to bring Eastern European countries closer to the EU through political and economic integration. In total more than 1,400 projects will be financed involving around 21,000 young people and youth workers. The Programme is supported through the EU Youth Action Programme, and will provide funds to promote cooperation opportunities among young people, youth workers and organisations from the European Union and the Eastern Partnerships countries.

Under the Eastern Partnership Youth Window, projects that seek support will need to meet a number of priorities, including:

  • Demonstrating a clear commitment to provide support to young people with fewer opportunities living in rural or deprived urban areas;
  • Raising awareness about the nature of youth work;
  • Promoting the sharing of best practices in the sphere of youth work.

Speaking about the Partnership and the integral role it will play in supporting young people across the whole of Europe, Stefan Fule, Commissioner for Enlargement and the European Neighbourhood Policy said: “Young people are crucial for the harmonious development of inclusive societies and for successful future collaboration with our neighbours.

“For this reason we have approved this programme, to support young people – particular those with fewer opportunities – and their active participation in society.” 2

Through initiatives such as these the European Commission is committed to boosting education and training throughout Europe and give young people the best possible start in life they can. Programmes such as the Erasmus+ will help more than 4 million people to receive essential help to achieve employability and invest in potential leaders of the future.

1 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1110_en.htm

2 http://www.eurograduate.com/article.asp?id=4252&pid=1

 

Adjacent Local Government

editorial@adjacentopenaccess.org

www.adjacentgovernment.co.uk

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