Tackling youth unemployment

Policies and programmes to support NEETs (not in education, employment, or training) and early school leavers

Youth unemployment is a growing concern in the Czech Republic. The economic crisis has had a disproportionate impact on young people seeking their first job and the number of young people out of work increased more than in most European countries from the end of 2008 to 2011. Previously relatively low, the employment rate gap between youth and older workers has increased more in the CR than in other European countries (Bakule, 2011). However it still remains below the EU average at 19.5% (compared to 22.8%). National labour market statistics do not recognise the not in education, employment or training (NEET) category and no such analysis is carried out on the category but EU data shows that the Czech Republic has a smaller number of NEET youth - 8.9% compared to 13.2% in the EU in 2012 (Eurostat, 2013a).

Young people are recognised as an at-risk group and are targeted by many labour market programmes, especially recent graduates. In March 2013, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs introduced a new employment plan that contains increased support for young people and graduates through expanded LO services. The new EU Strategy on Youth will have an impact on youth public policies. The EU Youth Guarantee will be introduced in the Czech Republic in the coming months, offering every young person a job, further education or training within five months of being unemployed.

The Czech Republic has one of the lowest school dropout rates across OECD countries - only 6% of 25-34 years-old have not completed upper secondary education (OECD, 2012b). Nevertheless, there are initiatives in place to prevent drop-outs at schools. There is systematic prevention at schools and the certified Backbone Schools, as discussed previously, in the Osti nad Labem region provide counselling services and options to change education paths to keep youth engaged. There are also a number of initiatives for early school leavers as part of publicly funded social inclusion projects by NGOs in deprived localities.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has recently drawn up a measure to support job creation for young people up to the age of 30 through an internship project called “work experience for young people up to 30”. For a maximum period of one year, employers can be granted a monthly subsidy of CZK 24 000 for newly hired young people and additional financial aid is available to cover the cost of establishing the job. Young people are eligible for the internships if they have been registered with the Labour Office for more than four months and have little or no work experience. The expected number of participants is 3 200. The Ministry will also assist recent graduates in job search. In June 2013, regional projects for expanding individual counselling on job search or graduate training were launched and up to CZK 1 billion has been allocated.

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