EU Wide Approach
Since 2002 there has been significant progress in developing European-wide approaches to support vocational education and training. National authorities and social partners from 33 countries are working together to modernise vocational education and training. Together they are committed to achieving the objectives of the Bruges Communiqué as part of their support for the Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training (ET 2020). Earlier work by EU Institutions, national authorities and social partners, as part of this framework, has helped to improve quality and build trust. Following their joint development, national authorities are implementing European-wide initiatives which support vocational training and their own legislation. Listed below are the current approaches adopted by certain EU countries:
Italian NEET Policy
The main motor of Italy’s policy to tackle unemployment lies in Renzi’s Jobs Act that has recently been finished. The policy’s main aims is to reduce labor rigidity, mostly in the private sector and encourage firms to hire more people on a permanent basis by giving them tax cuts and incentives, as well as to make firing easier. It also tries to simplify bureaucratic paperwork for employment contract, revise unemployment benefits, grant more protection to people with temporary contracts, give employers more monitoring power over the employees, and set up a national employment agency. Italy also continues with ItaliaLavoro launched in 1997 to give NEETs (up to 35 years old) access to further education and training, apprenticeships and social inclusion and in 2010 introduced the innovative web platform, Cliclavoro – for the first time, a national portal that puts job seekers, employers and job centres in direct contact.
Spanish NiNi Policy
Spain’s main national measures against unemployment reside in the state policy called “Strategy for Job activation 2014-2016 (Estrategia de Activación para el Empleo 2014-2016) and the Annual Plan for Employment Policy (PAPE). The funding for 2015 is 129 million euros. Spain is determined to pool resources together and provide a statewide free and equal job services to the public. The objective is to reduce the transitional time to employment for the unemployed via effective job service, increase the employability among the young and the most vulnerable by guaranteeing equal access to professional training as the key instrument to develop their profiles, and offer quality training services to increase the competitiveness of workers and enterprises. The most innovative feature of the Strategy is its result-oriented criteria, which means that subsequent funding will be allocated based on the results accomplished.
UK NEET Policy
Alongside the pan European ‘Youth Guarantee’, the UK Government has in place targeted and specific legislation and policy with regard to youth training for those who are NEET or at risk of becoming NEET. A key policy the UK Government has adopted is raising the participation age of young people in education or training. From 2014 pupils leaving year 11 are now required to be involved in; full-time education, apprenticeship or part-time education if employed. Further to this policy is The ‘Youth Contract’ which is a wide ranging set of schemes introduced in 2012 aims at helping young people who are NEET into employment. This scheme includes approaches such as; work experience placements, sector based work academies, employer financial incentive schemes and apprenticeships. The recently introduced ‘Work Programme’ is the UK government’s main welfare-to-work scheme and offers those aged 18-24 a range of the above schemes depending on their individual circumstances. Mandatory work placements for up to 30hrs per week can also be prescribed to NEET’s dependant on the time welfare has been claimed.
Polish NEET Policy
The basic legal interpretation in Poland, regulating the activities of public institutions in the area of NEETs is Employment Promotion and Labour Market Institutions Act . This Act lists labour market institutions and their scope of activities. Apart from public employment services, represented by the minister responsible for labour issues and provincial or district labour offices, there are mainly Voluntary Labour Corps (OHP). This institution is a state body, specializing in youth support activities, especially those at risk of social exclusion or unemployed under 25 years of age. OHP’s main responsibilities are to: help in obtaining professional qualifications and completing the course of interrupted education on the primary and middle school level, labour mediation and reimbursement of social insurance costs, covered by the employer, that employs youth in a form of vocational training. A district labour office is obliged to present a NEETs group an offer, within 6 months since registering. Most common offers include: training, apprenticeship, adult vocational training or employment in intervention or public works. In Poland, when an employer for an intervention work, engages unemployed being in special situation in the labour market, is given a partial refund of costs resulting from the payment of salaries, bonuses and social insurance contributions. The Act also defines, on what purposes can these funds form the Labour Fund, be spend. Regarding the youth situation, it is worth to mention financing salaries and social security contributions of young workers, engaged under a contract of employment for vocational training. In Poland, the Labour Fund also finances District Labour Offices, including any activation measures they may offer, most of which being designed for young unemployed. Young unemployed are a group subject to a specific concern of Minister of Labour and Social Policy since 2012, through the implementation of pilot programs, targeted to young people, at national level and through special programs for labour offices. Despite all these facilities and diverse activities of polish institutions, NEETs representatives are still unwilling to work.