In the first few years after the financial crisis, the concept of NEETs (young people not in employment, education or training) crystallised the policy problem of youth unemployment and inactivity that most Member States of the European Union are still facing. Since then, countless policies, measures, programmes and initiatives have been created to tackle the problem. But how can policy makers and VET practitioners know if any of these solutions are working and if they make a difference? Understanding the profiles and needs of NEETs and designing tailored policies as well as evaluating their impact and effects is crucial for continuing to respond to the NEET challenge and refining the support already offered to NEETs.
This Europe-wide toolkit inspired by successful VET practices is a result of Cedefop's work on NEETs aiming at helping policy-makers, practitioners and providers of support to young NEETs to design policies and implement practices to identify, intervene and evaluate measures that will better address the needs of the NEETs and thus help them to reintegrate into education or training and the labour market and thus into the European societies.
VET provides opportunities for young people to develop, enrich and upgrade their skills, and to acquire qualifications. Better skills and qualifications increase young people’s employability and assist their inclusion in society.
VET plays a major role in promoting innovation and productivity, addressing skills needs, preventing skills mismatch and supporting youth employment. Such a role is critical in policies that effectively address the needs of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET), including outreach; personalised guidance; skills assessment; the provision of tailored, flexible and quality learning; and, the recognition and validation of the skills acquired in both formal and informal settings.
Tailored VET pathways allow individuals to acquire the knowledge and skills required for a range of occupations - more broadly the labour market - and support young people’s active participation in society. Skills development through VET programmes can provide young people with the relevant experience to prepare for and make the transition to work, as well as provide them with a better understanding of career options. Work-based learning - including apprenticeships - can enhance general employability and entrepreneurship skills by providing learners with hands-on experience in real or simulated work settings, which, in turn, help address skills needs in the labour market.
Policy-makers and practitioners, working in a ministry, VET school, company, guidance centre, public employment service, social service, or youth organisation, and providers of support to young NEETs looking for ways to:
- identify and monitor NEETs;
- intervene to reskill and/or upskill them and integrate them into the labour market;
- learn and get inspired by related good practices undertaken within a country, region or institution.
- Good practices – successful measures and projects implemented in different EU countries to address the re-integration of NEETs into education or training or the labour market.
- Toolkits and tools drawn from successful VET practices, including instruments developed as part of projects funded by the Erasmus+ programmes.
- Evaluation plan for policy-makers - Cedefop has developed an evaluation plan for the monitoring and evaluation of specific policies and measures to be used by policy-makers and other stakeholders who are not experts in the field of evaluation.
- Evaluation plan for VET providers - Cedefop has developed an evaluation plan for the monitoring and evaluation of specific policies and measures to be used by providers of support to youth NEETs who are not experts in the field of evaluation.
- Publications, statistics and data on NEETs in the EU member states.
The toolkit covers resources at the European level or at the national, regional or local level of the 27 EU member states. The resources of this toolkit are being enriched progressively, so if you don’t find currently information on a specific country, you may find it in the near future. Our aim is not to address every single European country but to highlight successful approaches.
You can use the toolkit to:
- find guidelines to design, implement and evaluate interventions to support young NEETs;
- promote reflection and dialogue among policy-makers and practitioners on the current strategies to integrate NEETs in education or training, the labour market and the society;
- support decision-making processes through the development of action plans inspired by the toolkit’s resources.
How was this toolkit developed?
The toolkit is a result of Cedefop's projects on “VET for social inclusion and labour market integration” carried out between 2018-2020 and ongoing internal research on tackling early leaving and VET teachers and trainers supporting young NEETs. The NEETs profiles and the risk factors are inspired from Eurofound’s work; they have been defined in close collaboration with Massimiliano Mascherini and his team, and adapted to serve the needs of the toolkit users. The toolkit was launched in October 2021.
The development of the toolkit was under the responsibility of Irene Psifidou, Expert at the Department for VET and Skills, who conceptualised it and edited its resources, supported by Alexandra Farazouli, Cedefop trainee.
Currently, the toolkit is managed by a team comprised of Irene Psifidou, Toolkit and Team Coordinator; Anthie Kyriakopoulou, Assistant, VET toolkit Administrator; and Cedefop trainee; at the Department for VET and Skills, headed by Antonio Ranieri.
Selection of publications, good practices, quick wins, and tools
The selection of resources for the further enrichment of the VET Toolkit is a never-ending process. These may be in the form of good practices, publications, data and statistics, and tools from different EU member states. You are welcome to send us your suggestions here.