Combating unemployment, in particular youth unemployment, is an important objective of the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA). Responding to the adverse effects of the economic crisis on the labour market, the HRDA has put forward a Special prevention scheme – action plan which includes a variety of measures targeted towards employees, the unemployed and economically inactive.

One of the prominent measures, the ‘Scheme for the job placement and training of tertiary education graduates’ is of particular significance in addressing youth unemployment. The Scheme was introduced to combat unemployment among tertiary-education graduates and at the same time assist enterprises in meeting their needs successfully by bringing new expertise in the business and enhancing their management capacity. The Scheme provides for a six-month on-the-job training, supplemented by participation in further training, provided by training institutions on the basis of a predefined training plan compiled by the enterprise and approved by the HRDA. The HRDA provides financial assistance towards the relevant costs incurred by the enterprise. The Scheme was identified as an example of good practice within the framework of the European mutual learning programme and a peer review meeting was held in Larnaca in October 2011.

In May 2012, the HRDA completed an evaluation study regarding the impact on participants of the Special prevention scheme – action plan. The survey, conducted through telephone interviews, covered all persons who successfully completed participation in the Scheme’s measures from January 2009 to September 2011. Results demonstrated a very positive impact of specific measures of the Special prevention scheme – action plan, which combine training with either employment in an enterprise or with a period of work placement, such as the ‘Scheme for the job placement and training of tertiary education graduates’. Specifically, 90% of all participants were found to be employed after completion of the six-month period, compared to 49,3% which was the average for all measures included in the Special prevention scheme – action plan.

This provides sound empirical evidence that work-based learning schemes constitute effective instruments in combatting youth unemployment, rendering their future wider adoption of paramount importance.

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