YOUNG PEOPLE AS AGENTS OF CHANGE Report on the National and Regional Events on Youth Employment in Europe and Central Asia

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n order to support and strengthen the consultation processes leading to the General Discussion on the “Youth Employment Crisis” of the 101st Session of the International Labour Conference, a series of national events across all five ILO regions were held in spring 2012. Within Europe and Central Asia Region, eleven events were scheduled for the months of March and April 2012. This report summarizes the discussions and conclusions that emerged from nine national events on youth employment in Brussels (regional event for the European Union), France, Spain, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and Turkey. The national events in Serbia and Italy are not covered in this report as they had not yet taken place at the time of its drafting. Key region-specific messages stemming from these national events cover both the main barriers that young people face in gaining access to decent work and the programmes and policies best able to address those challenges. Obstacles faced by youth in their pursuit for decent work include, (1) a low level of labour demand and a lack of decent jobs; (2) segmented national labour markets that penalize young people - who are disproportionately represented among temporary workers - in terms of wages, career prospects, training provision and job stability; (3) a mismatch between the education and training that young people have received and the skills demanded by the labour market; (4) a difficult school-to-work transition, often linked to a lack of work experience which makes youth less marketable to employers; (5) and a lack of knowledge among young people concerning where and how to look for work. At the events, young people, social partners, civil society and government representatives discussed ideas, initiatives and policies for addressing the youth employment crisis and helping young people overcome the barriers announced above, these included: (1) better career guidance, targeted training, skills needs projections and labour market analysis systems to reduce the skills mismatch; (2) more effective education, work-related apprenticeship and vocational training programmes and quality internships to facilitate the school-to-work transition; (3) collective bargaining, quality standards, minimum income guarantees and inclusive social protection systems to strengthen decent work; (4) better targeted services of Public Employment Agencies, increased offers by the social partners and the use of social media to effectively reach out to the young; and (5) the use of social dialogue, increased institutional representation of youth organizations and greater inter-ministerial coordination to ensure policy coherence.

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