PETE Project – The kick-off meeting took place on November 4th in Boulogne Sum mer, France.
Despite a recent improvement in EU28 unemployment rates, the economic crisis is far from over. The current EU28 youth unemployment rate, 19.4%, represents more than double the overall unemployment rate, (8.9% Feb 16 Eurostat) & reveals a worrying trend: the proportion of people 15-24 years old, Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), has continued to increase over the last few years (EC Draft Employment Report (2013) & Eurostat).
The 2013 NEET rate of 13%, represents a substantial loss of one of our most valuable & fundamental assets. – human capital. The economic cost of not integrating NEETS is estimated at over €150 billion, or 1.2% GDP in 2011 figures (Eurofound 31 Mar 15).
Socially & for the individuals themselves, the costs are also unacceptably high. Evidence shows that time spent as NEET can lead to a range of social disadvantages, including; poor future employment opportunities, lower levels of trust & political interest, mental & physical health problems, disaffection, lack of social activation & engagement & involvement in youth offending (Eurofound).
PETE responds to these challenges, by providing a holistic & innovative approach to the prevention of future NEETS & the re-integration of current young people in this category. Tackling the needs of this target group is directly supported by the EU & our project directly complements the EU recovery initiatives already in place to re-integrate the current record number of NEETS within our European society. We will respond to the Europe 2020 strategy by contributing to the targets of;
- raising the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 to at least 75 %
- reducing the number of people in or at risk of poverty & social exclusion by 20 million
We will contribute to the main aims of the EU Youth Strategy (2010-2018), which seeks to promote better educational & job opportunities for young people & to “Youth on the Move”. The European Employment Strategy guideline 8 is directly applicable to our project: “Developing a Skilled Workforce”, as is guideline 10 “Promoting social inclusion & combating poverty”.
The heterogeneous nature of the NEET target group means that a localised “sheep dip” approach to combating the complex issues our beneficiaries are facing will not be successful. Despite the diversity in constitution, the commonality facing all our beneficiaries within this group is that the current services provided do not meet their needs.
Research suggests that there is a spectrum among the target group, where at one end, ‘targeted psychological support is required for some people …at the other end, some people simply need practical support in applying for jobs. In the middle is a large cross-section of young people who have found themselves NEET, & who require the experiences that build general work-related skills & confidence’. Grist & Cheetham (Demos, 2011 www.demos.co.uk).
The rationale for our project, stems from that proposition. The project partners recognise the current provision on offer, but improvements can be made. There is a large contingent of young people who are not connecting with agencies commissioned to support them from education to work, or are flying under the radar of the support structure. This leaves them “floating”, with little financial resource or power.
The project partners have identified a need for better linkages between the various suppliers & a more intensive, personalised approach to connecting with & supporting young people in the NEET category, rather than the general nature of current provision.
The main aim of our project is to improve the employability skills & sustainable job prospects of our young unemployed people by:
(a) Formulating a menu of tailored methodologies to use in order to increase young people’s employability through gaining basic, soft & It skills. Partners will apply a tried and tested youth work methodology to an issue which has been characterized by short term quick fix solutions.
(b) Working with Youth professionals, sharing our innovative methodologies & disseminating our tools, in order to integrate our project model within current service provision & enhance individual professional practices within the topic.