Youth unemployment: the EU needs more collaboration between the education system and employers

In the last few years, the EU has launched numerous initiatives in a bid to tackle youth unemployment.

However, according to the head of the European higher education association, Stéphane Lauwick, one of the biggest problems being faced by young people in Europe is a “skills mismatch” within the education sector.

Students unable to meet local employment needs

In an interview, Lauwick commented on the differences in education between various regions within the EU, and the concerns that have been raised over a lack of consideration for local employment needs.

This is leaving students unable to find employment locally when they leave education. Therefore, students need more help in getting the skills they need for today’s changing labour market.

Part of the interview reads: “We realise that the situation of professional higher education is quite different from one country to another, and I would say from one region to another.

“And well-trained people who don’t find a job in their regions tend to migrate. Unmet expectations could often worsen the situation, as some educated students are not paid properly after their studies, or their acquired skills are not recognised by the local companies.”

“We find that emphasising the regional, sometimes even the local connections, is the best way to cope with this issue.”

How can this be addressed?

One of the suggestions put forward is that, in the future, there should be a lot more collaboration between local businesses and the education system.

Doing this would allow both sides to identify any barriers to employment and regional growth.

In particular, there needs to be a greater link between educators and SMEs, who are known for being more difficult to connect with than larger firms, but are a major source of employment in Europe.

It’s also noted that, in addition to the current EU programmes, which focus on entrepreneurship, digital skills, and innovation, students need more programmes aimed at providing a link between their theoretical knowledge and practical skills, like work-based learning and apprenticeships.


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