Jan 11, 2011

Ideas Factory Annual Seminar on youth unemployment across the EU

Just reflected on the Ideas Factory 2011 Annual Seminar I attended yesterday evening - an enthusiast, open discussion with the very clear title ‘Saving a generation: Is the fight against youth unemployment on the right track?’. On its programme, guest speakers Giuseppe Porcaro, Secretary General of the Brussels-based European Youth Forum, accompanied by a Member of Commissioner Vassiliou’s cabinet particularly keen on education matters, Jonathan Hill. The agenda was moderated by EU Observer‘s journalist Méabh McMahon. And in the front line, a specialized analysis on what is happening with the current cohorts of European youth, along with an introductory set of stimulating questions over what can public and private stakeholders do and how each of us can contribute to straighten out the rather alarming trends depicted by labour markets.

 Source: Employment in Europe 2010

Gisueppe Porcaro began portraying the current situation as one in which NGOs receiving CV’s from candidates with a PhD has become a commonly accepted pattern. While advocating for a deep participation of youngsters in the design of youth policies, he draw attention to the devastating effects of having such an ample, highly skilled workforce without any possibility of employment.

 The discussion brought up issues such as the existing intergenerational conflict, the actual choices for work, the reshape of careers, Europe 2020, the pension reform, improvements in New Skills for New Jobs (Agenda for New Skills and Jobs), the place of the EU in the World, or the strategies to further build an ‘economy of brains’.

Jonathan Hill detailed the main actions being developed by the Directorate-General of Education and Culture, with a focus on the multifaceted and renewed Youth on the Move programme, which also aims to make higher education at the EU more attractive to students, professors and scientists worldwide. Apart from providing a privileged outlook on youth unemployment linked to European educational systems, he released some interesting events to come in the institutional agenda: the efforts of modernising EU higher education, to be culminated in 2011, and the setting of the ‘online EU Skills panorama’, a transparent and comprehensive map of benchmark competencies that young people, jobseekers, students, universities, businesses and institutions will be able to use by 2012.

The EPC delighted an audience of mainly young professionals and institutional trainees with nuts and drinks at their comfortable Residence Palace’s salon. An uprightly moderated event, which gave every participant much food for thought, a copy of the 22nd report Employment in Europe 2010, and a good amount of systemic ideas to help reduce unemployment in the present context.

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