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EU scheme will guarantee work for all young people

EU Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commissioner Laszlo Andor speaking about proposals to fight youth unemployment. Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP

EU Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commissioner Laszlo Andor speaking about proposals to fight youth unemployment. Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP

The European Commission has tabled plans to make all 27 EU member states introduce a Youth Guarantee Scheme aimed at tackling the problem of unemployment among the young.

The scheme is an integral part of the Youth Employment Package, discussed at EU level over the past years.

Under the scheme, member states will have to ensure those up to the age of 25 are offered a quality job, continued education and apprenticeship or trainee-ship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.

Although youth unemployment in Malta is the fourth lowest in the EU, the number of under-25s registering for work is still on the rise.

According to Eurostat data, the youth unemployment rate stood at 13.8 per cent in September, up 1.6 per cent compared to 12 months earlier.

However, the Commission said that, over the past 12 months, the percentage of early school leavers has fallen by nearly five points, although, at 33.5 per cent, the figure is still much higher than the EU average.

It pointed out that many of the existing schemes for unemployed youths promoted by the Employment and Training Corporation are financed through EU funds and are already contributing towards Malta’s relatively low youth unemployment rate.

“The schemes include the Youth Employment Programme, which aims at increasing the employability and labour market integration of young people – which, until the end of June 2012, had 2,827 participants – and the Entrepreneurship scheme, through which job seekers are offered the possibility of starting one’s own business by providing training and financial assistance.”

EU employment ministers are expected to submit specific plans on how and when to introduce the Youth Guarantee Scheme.

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