Within the amework of our ‘Social Policy and Politics in the EU’ course, students prepared Policy Memos outlining policy measures that could be implemented within the framework of the Youth Guarantee scheme to combat youth unemployment in their countries or an EU Member State of their choice.
Many interesting initiatives have been proposed. For instance, one of the students sought to tackle the high rates of youth unemployment rates and emigration of young people from Latvia’s economically least developed regions. She accordingly suggested a subsidy system that would support the transfer of companies’ production facilities to these localities, combined with a training program for the local youth designed to match their qualifications with the employers’ needs.
Addressing a similar problem in a Bulgarian context, another person suggested the creation of local expert boards matching business and education institutions located in the country’s non-capital regions. The aim of the initiative was to ensure that curricula at higher education institutions – and skills gained by the young people, respectively – meet local labour market needs.
Yet another policy scheme aimed at tackling the shortage of Bulgaria’s healthcare personnel, in particular nurses. The proposal envisaged the organization of promotional campaign and information sessions designed to encourage secondary school students to take up the profession.
What were the lessons taken from the policy memo? Two points are of particular relevance here. First, early all proposals highlighted the necessity of involving a wide range of stakeholders, especially employers and their organizations. Second, the majority sought to combat youth unemployment while simultaneously promoting a more balanced development and reducing inequality between different regions, ethnic and social groups. Such a comprehensive approach to the underlining causes of youth unemployment is well taken, especially in view of high level of income inequality and regional disparity in the students’ countries of origin.