Danish Presidency Conference 

On 26-27 April, the Danish Presidency held a Conference on 'Youth: Employment and Inclusion in Times of Crisis' building on the Commission’s 'Youth Opportunities Initiative'. Participants representing Member States, youth organisations and social partners from across Europe gathered in Horsens, Denmark, to discuss three main topics during two plenary sessions and three parallel workshops: access to the labour market, developing skills and social inclusion.

ESN's Chief Executive, John Halloran, chaired the workshop entitled 'Social Inclusion enabling Labour Market Transition'. He introduced the workshop, saying: “Whilst we should be ambitious for all young people, particularly those furthest from the labour market by reason of their health, disability of social circumstances, we must also recognise that measuring success for these young people solely or mainly on their entry into the mainstream labour market would be a mistake. Many young people can achieve much in terms of their own personal development in other ways and we value this. Finally we should also seek to involve those young people who are not currently ‘counted’ by virtue of living in an institution. These are not just far from the labour market, they are effectively ‘invisible’.”

Some highlights from the workshop:

  • Bernadette Christensen from the Norwegian Centre for Child Behavioural Development presented MST (Multi systemic therapy), one of Norway's national programmes targeting society's most marginalised youth: “Focus is on helping the family to solve current and future problems by improving family relationships and helping the family create a supportive environment for the young person and increase his or her chances for a healthy and normal development trajectory.”
  • Daniel S. Bojsen from Rambøll Management identified some potential solutions for the social inclusion of vulnerable youth, such as investing in evidence-based social programs, focusing on education, and securing successful transitions through a stronger collaboration between social services: "Lack of coordination and gaps between services reduces the likelihood for vulnerable youth to be successful in education and the labour market."
  • Paul Hoop, from the Employment Service of the City of Rotterdam (Eurocities) made a case for combining efforts into an integrated approach, while presenting initiatives for helping vulnerable young people in Rotterdam prepare for their future.
  • Finally, Henrik Lindegaard Andersen from the Danish Institute of Governmental Research draw attention on the fact that: "There is no shortage of policy proposals. There is, however, a shortage of empirical evidence on the efficacy of these policies."

The Danish Government produced ‘Presidency conclusions’ following the conference – its recommendations were summed up as follows:

  1. prioritise an early intervention
  2. promote equal opportunities for all
  3. we must all take responsibility
  4. support young people's transition from school to work, for example through dual training systems
  5. prevent a mismatch of skills
  6. ensure an intelligent implementation
  7. show flexibility and combine efforts
  8. prevent the intergenerational transfer of social exclusion
  9. increase the employment rate of young people with disabilities

Key resources and presentations available here.