Four years after publishing a vocational education and training (VET) toolkit for tackling early leaving and creating a community of ambassadors to put the fight against early leaving from VET centre stage in Europe, Cedefop has now launched a VET toolkit for empowering young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs).

This new Europe-wide toolkit was inspired by successful VET practices. It aims to assist policy-makers, practitioners and providers of support to NEETs in designing policies and implementing practices that will better address their needs, helping them to reintegrate into education or training and the labour market.

Why a VET toolkit for empowering NEETs?

Lowering youth unemployment and aiming to effectively engage as many young Europeans as possible in work, education and training is at the heart of the EU policy agenda. 

VET is a life jacket for NEETs, offering an excellent pathway for their social and professional reintegration. It can provide them with opportunities to develop, enrich and upgrade their skills, and acquire qualifications. Better skills and qualifications will increase their employability and assist their social inclusion.

By 2019, the rate of NEETs had fallen to 12.6% in the EU population aged 15-29, the lowest in 10 years. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, this share increased to 13.7% in 2020. This means approximately 10 million young people in Europe are socially excluded.

There is concern among policy-makers that young workers will be the next victims of the pandemic economic fallout. Eurofound’s Living, working and COVID-19 survey of Europeans, published in November 2021, shows that young people are struggling. Unemployed or inactive young people were more likely to experience housing insecurity than other groups during the pandemic (17% in spring 2021) and reported difficulty making ends meet (43%), as well as having no savings (39%).

‘Αt Cedefop we recognise that inclusion has no borders. Neither does excellence,’ says Cedefop expert Irene Psifidou who coordinated the creation of the new toolkit.

Who can benefit from the new toolkit?

This new toolkit can be a great resource for policy-makers and practitioners working in ministries, VET programmes designed for NEETs, companies, guidance centres, public employment services, social services or youth organisations and providers of support to young NEETs.

What resources are available?

Users can learn about the main NEETs profiles developed based on research in different European countries. These are defined based on the ‘distance’ they have from their participation in employment, education and training and are divided in two main categories: those who are still seeking work or an education and training pathway; and those who are not. A thorough understanding of the characteristics and situation of each profile will improve the support these young people in need receive.

The main risk factors leading people to becoming NEETs are also presented in the toolkit. A better understanding of the risk factors will lead to more efficient policies and practices to support them.

The toolkit proposes key intervention approaches aiming to bringing NEETs back to education or training and/or employment.

Users may find also good practices with evidence of their success, publications and statistics and data on NEETs in the EU member states.

What tools are available?

There are tools to monitor and evaluate policies and practices of support to young NEETs. Check the evaluation plan for policy-makers and the evaluation plan for VET providers. Find also other tools developed as part of projects funded by Erasmus+ programmes.

The toolkit can be used to promote reflection and dialogue on NEETs among policy-makers and practitioners, as well as to support decision-making processes through the development of action plans inspired by the guidance and resources offered in it.

What’s next

Cedefop is collaborating with Eurofound to support young people’s employability and the two agencies jointly plan to enrich the toolkit resources.

Click here to submit your good practices and/or tools supporting NEETs, contact the team and send your feedback.

Click here to become an ambassador tackling early leaving and prevent early school leavers from becoming NEETs.