The European Commission has hired consulting firm Ecorys to evaluate its recently launched labour mobility scheme for young people. The so-called ‘Your First EURES job’ scheme has been set up to help young Europeans find a paid job in an EU country other than their own. Ecorys concludes that the initiative is innovative and relevant to combat youth unemployment, however the current combined knowledge is not sufficient. To combat this, the researchers have provided the EC with several recommendations.
To help the many unemployed young people in the EU find a job, traineeship or apprenticeship, the European Commission (EC) has set up the ‘Your First EURES job’ (YfEj) mobility scheme. The scheme focuses on people between 18 and 30 years old, and supports them in finding paid work by providing access to the labour market in another EU country than their own. The YfEj offers young Europeans a wide range of services, ranging from support when they still are in school up to the point when they actually live abroad.
The mobility scheme also focuses on finding candidates for vacancies that are difficult to fill, particularly for SMEs. YfEj, which runs from 2012 until 2014, has set as goal to have helped 5,000 people find a job in another EU country by 2015. To do this, YfEj provides subsidies to young Europeans, for undertaking an interview abroad, a language course, or for the costs of relocation, and to employers, for training and integration costs for new foreign employees, for a total of €4 million on an annual basis. The scheme also helps young people and employers by providing matching, recruitment and placement services.
With YfEj coming to an end, the EC wanted an evaluation of the mobility scheme and has hired consulting firm Ecorys to conduct the assessment. In the period reviewed, 2012 until 2014, the YfEj helped more than 1,500 young people in the EU find a paid job abroad, and more than 750 young people through grants for work-related preparatory trainings or job interviews.
In its evaluation report, Ecorys concludes that the scheme is an innovative and relevant instrument for combatting youth unemployment and skills mismatches, and provides measures to overcome obstacles to labour mobility in the EU. The scheme is seen as an added value to youth labour mobility, as a result of its integrated approach: recruitment, matching and placement activities combined with financial support incentives.
However, Ecorys also indicates that the necessary combined knowledge of matching, placement and recruitment of young people in countries other than their own, was not sufficient among the participating organisations. The same is to be said of the hard-to fill vacancies. To secure a more efficient and knowledge-based performance in the future, Ecorys provides a number of recommendations. These include, among others, the need to avoid administrative burdens on all actors, and to create more visibility of YfEj at the centralised level. In addition, public-private partnership networks need to be boosted, and implementation guidelines and monitoring of the progress is needed.
To develop the mobility scheme beyond 2014, Ecorys provided the EC with a toolbox with different policy options concerning the management and finances of YfEj:
- Continue the YfEj under the management of the EC
- Integrate the YfEj services in EU countries under a shared management or with national budgets
- Create an entirely new EU financial and legal instrument to manage the YfEj