In September 2013, the Lithuanian government approved the employment enhancement programme for 2014-20. The programme’s objective is that by 2020, 73 % of Lithuania’s citizens have work.
The programme tackles high unemployment rates especially among young people aged 15 to 24, which in recent years has been one of the highest in the European Union. According to Eurostat, in 2010, more than 35% of young Lithuanians were unemployed. In July 2013, this indicator decreased to 23.1%. However, it still remains high. The corresponding EU indicator is 23.4 %.
The employment enhancement programme was prepared to:
- solve integrally problems related to job creation and increasing labour demand;
- match workforce skills with labour market needs;
- maximise current job resources potential;
- bring together business, education and economic sectors, including social partners and municipalities to form employment policy.
To match skills better with labour market needs, it is foreseen to:
- improve quality and accessibility of vocational guidance services;
- modernise vocational education and training (VET);
- improve quality of apprenticeship;
- offer more opportunities to acquire skills on the job,
- optimise VET institutions and VET programmes taking into account needs and perspectives of specific regions;
- plan enrolment into VET and higher education based on skills supply and demand forecasts.
Additional programme measures are to:
- improve the competence assessment and recognition system;
- offer better lifelong learning opportunities;
- integrate available human resources better into the labour market. This covers support for young persons under 25 to get into employment, further education or (re)training, including apprenticeship, within four months of leaving school or losing a job. Support will be provided to employers who create new jobs, employ young persons or offer apprenticeship training;
- fund youth self-employment and youth business initiatives;
- assist older persons to remain longer in the labour market;
- assist the unemployed to return to employment;
- increase labour market participation of disabled persons;
- provide better opportunities for emigrants who return to Lithuania to reenter the labour market.
Programme measures will be implemented by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries. On 26 February 2014, the interinstitutional action plan for the employment enhancement development programme 2014-20 was approved.
Coordination of action rests with the Ministry of Social Security and Labour and a budget of LTL 1.1 billion (EUR 319 million) is foreseen.