THE SAFETY NET TO YOUTH’S FUTURE, BEYOND EDUCATION

by the Team with G.Errico

MONACO. As this year’s graduaing classes look to their future, what do they see beyond education? On 13 July 2018 the European Commission’s annual Employment and Social Developments (ESDE) published the 2018 edition of its yearly review. This eight edition of the annual ESDE Review presents a detailed analysis of key employment and social issues and concerns for the European Union and its Member States as they pursue the EU 2020 employment and social goals.This year edition confirms the ongoing positive labour market trends as well as an improving social situation. The numbers of people in employment reached new record levels. With almost 238 million people having a job, employment has never been higher in the EU and unemployment is at its lowest level since December 2008. Since 2013, 10 million jobs have been created in the EU. This 2018 edition feeds into the European and the 2017 flagship initiative of the European Pillar of Social rights. The main findings of ESDE 2018 corroborate the rationale and the objectives of follow-up initiatives of the Pillar. As in previous years, the opening section of the ESDE review provided an overview of the most recent developments, trends and challenges in the employment and social fields.

However, while the number of hours worked per person employed has grown in recent years, they are still below the 2008 levels. At the same time we witness rising disposable incomes and lower levels of poverty. Severe material deprivation has receded to an all-time low, with 16.1 million fewer people affected, compared with 2012. But looking at the impact of technological developments, there are uncertainties about the future effects of automation and digitalisation. This is why the 2018 ESDE review is dedicated to the changing world of work. Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: “The European economy is growing faster and more evenly than before. This favours employment, props up household incomes, and improves social conditions. Technological change has a high potential to boost growth and jobs, but only if we shape this change. The European Pillar of Social Rights provides a compass for getting everyone ready for this transformation. Our proposals turn the Pillar into practice, by equipping people in Europe with better education and skills throughout their life and by ensuring that all workers are covered by basic rights in this fast changing world of work, with our proposals on transparent and predictable working conditions and access to social protection.”

Commissioner Marianne Thyssen on “Alliance for Youth” achievements

 

This is why the 2018 ESDE review focuses on intergenerational fairness: EU needs to make sure that all generations benefit from the current positive economic trends.

 

 

Indeed, there is definitely a mixture of opinions amongst this year’s new wave of graduates about their future prospects and the opportunities open to them as they exit full-time education. A common thread between them is that they have all admitted that they feel nervous about navigating the working world. That’s one of the main challenges they believe, finding a steady job that pays well and you can feel secure in. Another common thread is that they feel that leaving college is kind of scary. Therefore, many are looking forward to going on and pursuing a Master’s degree and see where that takes them.

Concerning the Principality of Monaco, a Committee was established since 2010 by the Prince’s Government. The Committee, which is presided over by the Minister of State, is comprised of 13 members, in addition to the Committee’s executive unit, which is under the authority of Stéphane Valeri, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, and led by Maryse Battaglia, Technical Advisor. The role of the executive unit is to assist young graduates who are Monegasques or residents and create linkages by making special contacts with businesses to facilitate graduates’ access to appropriate employment. It is in line with the wish of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince to keep the intellectual wealth of young people in the Principality by offering young graduates, both Monegasques and denizens, opportunities in the private and public sectors in the Principality, and enable graduates living abroad to return to Monaco. The activities undertaken in 2017 highlightens a Executive Unit’s very positive results: 134 partnerships have been signed with businesses – 208 graduates, of which 101 are of Monegasque nationality, have found employment corresponding to their qualifications, and 89 are on open-ended contracts – 917 young graduates have been received by the Committee at a personalised interview to enable them to benefit from help with finding their first job at the end of their training – 143 graduates have benefitted from work experience required by their training course; – 160 young graduates have met with professionals to receive their advice on various specialisations. Moreover, as part of its role in helping young people to enter the world of work, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, through the Employment Office, introduced since 2014 a youth mentoring programme, designed to increase support for young Monegasques and Monaco residents as they search for a job. The idea is to provide additional assistance to young people to help them learn about the world of business, and about the various techniques used in job hunting. Youth mentoring involves pairing up a young person with a professional working in the field in which the mentee would like to work.

Indeed, who would not like to work in Monaco’s paradise?

The professionals, who are the young persons’ mentors, are able to offer their mentee specific, tailored advice and support the young persons in their efforts. Depending on the individuals involved, the mentoring relationship offers a clear insight into the world of work and the requirements of businesses, the opportunities and conditions in the employment market, tools and techniques for job hunting, interview preparation, and also provide ideas about career prospects and career planning. This is a new form of intensive support, which is being led and managed by the Employment Office, an it is offered in addition to the individual monitoring already provided by the Youth Employment Unit and the Vocational Integration Unit for Monegasque Nationals and Denizens of Monaco, as well as the Executive Unit of the Committee for Graduate Employment. A similar youth mentoring programme has been designed by the ESDE to increase support for young European as they search for a job. To work around the problem inspirational projects and an European Training Calendar in European youth work are provided by SALTO-YOUTH,a network of resource centres working on European priority areas within youth field. One of its goal is to support and reinforce the Euro-Mediterranean Youth cooperation, whose main challenge is to bring both sides of the Mediterranean sea closer. Countries involved and working together with the UNESCO as well are the countries of the European Union, the Principality of Monaco included, plus Lichtenstein, Iceland, Croatia, Switzerland, Norway and Turkey, and eight Mediterranean Partner countries, which are involved in the BarcelonaProcess, namely Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia.

 

Speaking about Monaco’s initiatives, we also report that since 2007, the Monegasque Employment Department and the AMAF (Monegasque Financial Activities Association) have offered young people with a 2-year post-Baccalauréat qualification the possibility of taking a year-long co-operative education program in financial establishments in Monaco. In 2016 this took the form of a Bachelor in Business Administration, with classroom teaching provided by the International University of Monaco (I.U.M.). The aim of the partnership between the Employment Department, the AMAF and the IUM is to respond to important challenges: for the Principality the goal is to train young people locally in the specialties required for banking and the finance industry, a key sector for the economic development of Monaco, through innovative bilingual training in finance that will promote their professional integration and career prospects. Students benefit from a Math-Finance Refresher Course and study Financial and Commercial Culture and the Monegasque Financial Market: Compliance, ethics and regulation; they also develop their Financial Skills. Students are selected on the basis of their academic results, professional experience, motivation and leadership qualities.

Many course modules, both theoretical and practical, are taught in English.

Indeed, we must aknowledge here the importance of communication. One of the main ESDE program is about the adoption of a common language, to enable youth workers to share their own feelings on the topic and to link this with current research, theory and practical communication strategies, explore definition of intercultural dialogue and the necessity of cultural sensitivity and mutual understanding in order to deal with conflict and misunderstandings: open new portals of intercultural dialogue through looking at techniques and skills as well as language differences in order to set up successful international youth activities training events; how to communicate effectively and sensitively in a cross-cultural setting; and especially think about English as an ‘international language.’ As a matter of fact, bridge theory with practice is the main and not the only focus of the European Training Calendar called Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme.

All training activities in the Calendar should be European (or international), not-for-profit and directed to youth workers wishing to develop their competences to further work with and for young people, to share experiences and, on occasion, to make contacts for common future projects. Besides, the calendar can also publish calls for projects in which youth workers will meet other target groups such as youth policy makers, adult learning organisers, among others, in order to learn from each other. Indeed, learning mobility is considered by the European Union Institutions, especially the EU Commission, a very important and effective tool to increase education quality, to provide more opportunities of work and to promote intercultural understanding and global citizenship. In the case, there is another important aspect to look at. Surprisingly, the countries of the North side of the Mediterranean Sea attract few foreign students in general, and even fewer from the Mediterranean region. So, even though they should be preferred by students coming from the South side, because of closeness and historical relationship between Europe and North Africa and Middle East, they lose in comparison with other European countries. In Italy, for example, even if there is a constant increase of foreign students (+0,2% per year), in 2011 non-Italian students were only 3,6%, which is substantially below the European average of 9,1%. Among the Mediterranean European countries, only France, in terms of the performance (11,2%), has good results and is able to compete with the EU Northern countries. A new report has shown that an influx of foreign students into France injected €1.6bn (US$2bn) into the country’s economy last year. As for the possibility for young Europeans to go down the internship route, a lot of that is actually underpaid. A lot of people in Europe are interns now and they’re only getting travel expenses, or not getting paid at all. That might be OK on a short term basis, but when you’re in some of these internships that go on for six or more months they’re just untenable for the long term.

 

As we wrote in our previous article about Millenials, they are the digital generation, they are nomophobes and app-dicts (source: Forbes).

But their five-year plan is constantly shifting, changing and disappearing. The multimedia field is broad and there are a lot of employment opportunities out there in Europe but there’s a lot, lot more overseas. In Europe, there’s just a lot of competition because there’s so, so many people looking for them. Therefore, a lot of young European are looking forward to going abroad – a few people have already gone to places already like the US with a Graduate Visa for a year, and Taiwan. We found out that one of the most interesting procedure at SALTO-YOUTH for young persons is the Need Analysis. There is no one standardised method for carrying out a needs analysis.

The process is a lot like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle. Each puzzle piece is unique and shows a different angle of the individual organisation and the environment around every student/worker, yet each piece is essential to providing a complete picture. Reviewing the “mission” for inclusion on national level will remind students of the direction they have taken in the past. Reviewing their past performance and their internal systems will highlight strengths and weaknesses. Reviewing the needs of the key stakeholders, the activities of competitors and current socio-economic trends will indicate where it is possible to find new opportunities as well as potential threats to inclusion work. By collecting the information in each of these separate areas students/workers are painting a picture of what is going on in and around their NA right this moment. This tells them exactly where they are in terms of inclusion and what the starting point is (“here today”). Not all the collected information will be positive but they must remember that to really know their situation, they have to be objective. They must be looking for the cold hard truth.

Narrowing the field, NAs face a unique challenge in the needs analysis phase. On one hand, prople must try to gain a deep insight into their overall situation in terms of their inclusion work. On the other hand, the range of profiles that fall under the term “inclusion” is so broad that is almost impossible to know all the needs and wishes of each separate profile in detail. Some NAs have solved this problem by choosing to concentrate on a specific target group. In the strategic context, a target group is one distinct profile within the larger group of young people with fewer opportunities. Identifying one or more specific target groups in the needs analysis makes it much easier for the NA to narrow down the field of external stakeholders and to gain a true insight into that group’s situation. This in turn makes it easier to develop a strategic plan which can respond to the group’s specific needs. In the past, National Agencies have concentrated on such target groups for periods of anywhere from 1 to 4 years. Note that it is not possible for an NA to identify priority groups within the inclusion field, as this would imply that certain groups receive special treatment at the expense of others. Balancing the need to treat all profiles equally with the need to bring coherence into the inclusion strategy can be a delicate balancing act but it is possible.

Finally the good news from the EU Youth Employment Initiative is that thanks to increased cohesion policy allocations, several YEI-eligible Member States will have the possibility to invest up to €2 billion more of ESF funding in youth employment measures, which brings them to €10.4 billion since the launch of the Initiative in 2013.

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