Background Documents

Current situation across the EU

The number of young people (15-29 years) not in employment, education and training is one of the indicators highly relevant to assess the quality and effectiveness of education, training and employment systems. This category includes young people who have failed to integrate into the labour market for various reasons (lack of employment opportunities, lack of skills required in the labour market etc.) and are not involved in educational program (regardless of level) or training. Recent studies point out that NEETs are triggered by a combination of personal, economic, educational and social factors and reflect the degree of withdrawal or distancing from the labour market and society in general (EUROFOUND, 2012).

The value of this indicator is a concern for all the Member States, provided that, on average, only about 30% of young people succeed to get employed after graduation (EUROSTAT, 2013). The majority of young people leaving early the education and training system come to be employed in low-paid jobs for limited period. Returning to school or enrolling in professional training programs should become the main alternative for these young people, CEDEFOP estimating that the demand for low skilled labour will continue to decline over the period 2010-2020.

Given that NEETs are not a homogeneous category, it is extremely important to identify their profile and the risk factors in order to have a broader and more relevant understanding of their situation and to develop appropriate intervention and support programs. As a result of the economic crisis, the unemployment among young people who have completed a tertiary education has also increased to almost 50% in Greece, 35% in Spain and close to 30% in Romania, Portugal and Italy.

Equally, a realistic assessment of individual and social cost-related to NEETs is needed both at national and European level. Long-term unemployment and inactivity in the case of youth population entails short, medium and long-term negative consequences, limiting the capacity of public policies to ensure the sustainability of health, education and social protection systems.

Please find below a list of documents that could be helpful to have a better understanding of NEETs current situation:

Council conclusions on enhancing the social inclusion of young people not in employment, education or training, Nov. 2013 here

NESSE report "Early school leaving – Lessons from research for policy makers" here

Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships here

NEETs Young people not in employment, education or training: Characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe here

Working together for Europe’s young people here

Employment Performance Monitor - December 2013 here

Council Recommendation of 22 April 2013 on establishing a Youth Guarantee here

Moving Youth into Employment here

Proposal for a Council Recommendation on Establishing a Youth Guarantee here

Youth Employment Initiative here

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