August 7, 2019

A short map of European occupational programmes for training and skills-learning

Increasing youth’s standards of living is one of the key objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Erasmus + is an important element of this strategy. It aims at strengthening the civil and social skills of young European citizens, at a moment in which many struggle to find space for their academic skills in national and international labour markets.

According to the European employment strategy, EU should support the growth of qualified jobs. It does so in many ways.

First, the European Commission strengthened the Lifelong Learning Program (2007–2013), supporting quality and innovation in education, training and sport, creating also a generation of “new workers”, young people willing to travel and learn new skills around the Union.

Second, the 2014-2020 Community Programme for Education and Training has a chapter on young people, who take an active role in young organisations or NGOs. It aims to facilitate exchanges between youth and labour markets through projects of social innovation and non-formal education.

Third, in KA1 and KA2 mobility projects, facilitators are examples of these new European young workers. They create new youth work-groups, and they do so in a truly horizontal perspective. Youth work provides out-of-school education, as well as leisure activities managed by professional or voluntary young workers and leaders.

Fourth, the EU Traineeship mobility programme also offers chances to strengthen one’s skills in companies or academic institutions. Through the provision of scholarship, Europe 2020 strategy for growth gave around 4 million students the opportunity to train and study abroad.

Fifth, the Erasmus programme for Young Entrepreneurs, a model of business exchange. This innovative mobility strategy is a cross-border exchange programme that gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other Participating Countries. It should help to learn all necessary skills for running a small firm and cooperating with foreign partners in new markets.

Taken together, these examples show how strategic the transition from higher education to the job market is for the construction of a more inclusive societu. Doing business abroad, for instance, may be very difficult. Programs addressing young entrepreneurs are therefore key to facilitate cross-country connections and the expansion of the European Union as a single internal market.

This happens few years after the infamous Greek crisis, following years of austerity policies and increasing income inequalities in member states. A context in which many young European citizens had to live in a circle of self-exclusion.

Against this backdrop, Erasmus and all other actions are key to reduce unemployment, foster exchanges, create new and more flexible labour environments, and, eventually, set the seeds for a more homogenous and sustainable growth in the future. Erasmus and all other actions are key: they are not only drivers for employment, but they also are tools to advocate truly European values, such as multiculturalism, mutual sharing, and social innovation.

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About Antonio Quaranta

Antonio Quaranta

Antonio Quaranta is project manager of YouthMed and a European designer. He graduated in International and Geopolitical Studies from Vistula University.

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