The VET toolkit for empowering NEETs offers different interventions to support NEETs. One of them is easing transitions into work. Work-based learning provides young people with the opportunity to apply their technical or academic skills while developing their employability. It encompasses on-the-job experience such as apprenticeships, as well as off-the-job experiences such as close-to-real simulations.

Improving the availability of work-based learning measures is one of the key objectives of the reinforced Youth Guarantee scheme. Similarly, improving the quality of such measures is central to the new European Skills Agenda and the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The following tips may be useful for policy makers and practitioners involved in the design and delivery of interventions to help NEETs’ transitioning into employment.

Tip 1: Guide and prepare young people for work-based learning

There is considerable value in giving young people the means to assess their skills and understand their own strengths, learning styles, and professional aspirations. Quality guidance is central to helping young people to develop career management skills and define their individual learning or career plans. This can ease their transition into work, giving them ownership of their career decisions while they simultaneously manage their expectations. 

Tip 2: Encourage employers to create work-based learning opportunities

Actions that incentivise employers to provide NEETs with work experience opportunities can be financial or non-financial.

Non-financial actions could involve the development of partnerships between employers and various organisations working with NEETs (e.g. VET schools, PES, social services, youth NGOs). These actions can help employers to understand the economic value of tapping into the potential and enthusiasm of young NEETs. They also enable employers to promote their industries and workplaces to prospective recruits among NEETs.

Tip 3: Ensure that work-based learning is a positive experience

It is important to foster a welcoming and supportive work environment, with good learning opportunities. Any mismatches between the learners’ expectations and the reality of the profession should, where possible, be tackled before the experience takes place. Some useful measures to achieve this include:

  • the use of written agreements between the training provider, the company and the learner, detailing the training programme, activities and working conditions (including working hours);
  • mechanisms to ensure that employers comply with their duties in relation to training (e.g. external agency or trade unions undertaking quality checks);
  • feedback mechanisms to monitor whether the learner is facing difficulties during the on-the-job training (e.g. periodic discussions with the VET school or workplace tutor);
  • processes for mediating conflict between trainees/apprentices and in-company trainer/employer.

Tip 4: Promote the development of entrepreneurial skills

Career guidance and mentoring services play an important role in giving NEETs the opportunity to be involved in entrepreneurial activities that will allow them to identify and capitalise on business and employment opportunities. Entrepreneurship education programmes across Europe are increasing, expanding the scope for employment and social services to encourage schools and training providers to offer entrepreneurial skills development programmes for NEETs.

Here you can find the rest of the interventions developed for empowering NEETs.

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Irene Psifidou