Youth Policy Research
Between January and June 2016 YouthMetre partners undertook research of the latest EU youth policy developments and programmes for youth. This research included official documents, published scientific research and other articles investigating the impact of those policies on young Europeans.
A state-of-the art report on the situation of youth policies across Europe with a particular focus on the eight “key areas” has been produced and 20 main outcomes summarised here.
20 Main Outcomes
1. European programmes and initiatives for youth are succeeding in fostering the attainment of a higher level of education for young Europeans, as well as promoting their positive attitudes towards international mobility and exchanges.
2. Improved levels of education among young Europeans do not automatically lead to better working opportunities.
3. It is a major concern that youth unemployment rates, including long-term unemployment, continue to rise in EU since the start of the economic and financial crisis in 2008.
4. Youngsters find it difficult to deal with their transition from education to the workplace.
5. The main cause for this is the mismatch between the skills that they acquire at school and those demanded by the labour market.
6. There are very negative, sometimes even dramatic outcomes in almost all the eight policy areas identified by the European Commission as “strategic” for youth empowerment.
7. The economic crisis and the subsequent recession have had an extremely negative impact on young people in terms of poverty and social exclusion. Surveys and statistics show that young Europeans often feel “marginalised” or “excluded” from economic and social life.
8. There are feelings of uncertainty towards their employability and consequently towards their future, so youngsters are much less willing to leave their parental home. Their capacity to become independent is reduced, exacerbating even more their social exclusion. The feeling of “being in need” often leads the individual to focus on their self-empowerment rather than being concerned by global issues.
9. Feelings of exclusion bringing more and more youngsters into self and societal-disruptive behaviours, often labelled incorrectly as “radicalization”.
10. Young Europeans are described as being prone to risky and unhealthy behaviour, with their attitudes being influenced by deprivation and social exclusion.
11. In terms of youth participation, youngsters increasingly perceive a deterioration of their living conditions and future perspectives. So they become less confident in society and less engaged in socio-political activities.
12. Our research shows that indicators of voting and engagement in political parties are no longer adequate measures of youth participation, as young people “participate differently”
13. There is a widespread loss of confidence towards traditional ways of participation.
14. Tackling youth and long-term unemployment is nowadays considered an absolute priority and a common objective.
15. Finding solutions to this, applicable across the EU, is not easy, as there is much variety in the specific geographic, economic and/or social factors involved.
16. A common plea emerges across all the research: the necessity to directly engage young people in developing and implementing the policies and initiatives targeted towards them.
17. A different – more open – approach needs to be encouraged in European youth educational policies
18. The adoption of formal and/or non-formal education aimed at developing the “social dimension” of learners must be encouraged, targetting people’s sense of their place in the world.
19. The promotion of youth work is viewed as a possible future solution to youth unemployment.
20 An analysis of good practices and common approaches in youth work encourages the development of new personalized approaches to youth education, via principles of voluntary participation, youth-centeredness and mutual respect.