The Youth guarantee (garantie jeunes) is a key measure aimed at less qualified young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) faced with risk of exclusion from the labour market. It targets those aged 16 to 25, not all of whom were previously eligible for the unemployment support scheme of a guaranteed minimum income (revenu de solidarité active).
It was first rolled out in 2013, on an experimental basis and piloted at local level. From 1 January 2017, it is available across the country and enshrined in the French labour code.
Young people registered in the scheme follow a one-year intensive support programme, combined with training and professional immersion; they receive monthly financial support (EUR 471). The programme is run by the local youth employment agencies (mission locales) and offers innovative forms of support:
- beginning with assessment of individual skills, training needs and plans, and subsequently offering training programmes or on-the-job experiences;
- giving priority to intensive group counselling through workshops run by tandem coordinators;
- emphasising on-the-job learning over other forms of learning, known as the ‘work first’ principle (l’emploi d’abord) to allow learners gradually to gain some experience in the labour market;
- providing active mediation services with companies, which receive support in hiring and taking on young people for on-the-job programmes.
According to a scientific committee assessment published in November 2016, among 84 000 young people enrolled in the Youth guarantee scheme by October 2016, 75% had no more than an end of secondary education diploma (Baccalauréat), and 25% came from disadvantaged areas. On average, 14 months after entering the programme, over 40% of the participants in the pilot regions had found employment, and over 20% had secured long-term employment. For those who would have been eligible but did not have access to the pilot programme the estimated job entry rate would have been 34% and 16% respectively.
According to the Ministry of Labour, expansion of the programme in 2017 should help reach 150 000 young people. The total budget foreseen is EUR 500 million, half of which goes to the support programme and half in benefits received by participants.