In conjunction with the 2012 budget proposal, the Danish government has put forward a number of initiatives aimed at tackling rising unemployment levels among young people by increasing education and training opportunities.
At the beginning of November, the newly elected Danish coalition government, comprising the Social Democrats, the Social Liberals and the Socialist People’s Party, presented its proposal for the 2012 budget. The proposal contains a number of initiatives aimed at tackling growing unemployment among young people aged 25-30. This group currently has the highest unemployment rates in the Danish labour force, with almost 50 000 receiving social security benefits. Of these, the majority have no formal qualifications beyond compulsory schooling, and education and training are therefore considered the primary tools for helping these young people enter the labour market.
To this end, the following four initiatives were announced in the budget:
- the funding of an additional 800 adult apprenticeships in order to provide vocational training to unemployed young adults;
- the funding of wage-subsidised employment and skills upgrading for academically weak young adults;
- an increase in the number of job-rotation schemes in the public sector to provide more young people with contact with the labour market; and
- improving the opportunities for young people with limited vocational qualifications to enter the labour market via in-company trainee programmes.
A total of DKK 120 million (EUR 16 million) is set aside to fund these four initiatives. Additionally, a number of initiatives will provide more training placements within IVET to ensure that young people complete their education and training. These initiatives include extension of the current agreement on financial incentives to enterprises to provide training placements, 2 200 additional placements in the public sector and 1 500 additional college-based training placements. In 2012, a further 1 500 college-based training placements will be funded, and public tenders will include clauses requiring bidders to provide a stipulated number of training placements.
Long-term solutions to the ongoing issue of insufficient training placements for young people in VET will be discussed in the spring 2012 labour-market negotiations between the government and the social partners.