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A guarantee for the future?

| By Berit Kvam

There are fewer young people outside education, employment or training in Denmark than in Sweden. Why do the Danes succeed? While all of Europe is learning from the Finnish youth guarantee, the Nordic Labour Journal has spoken to Nordic youths about their experiences, and examined how countries succeed with their measures. Central to them all are vocational educations, apprenticeships and internships.

We have known it for a long time, but more than ever we need to include young people — to rescue them from marginalisation also for the sake of the rest of us. OECD figures for Europe show that from this year fewer will enter the labour market than leave it. It is a challenge worth noting, but youth unemployment does not disappear as a result, according to British and German researchers. Political action is needed.

The Italian researcher Maurizio Ferrera is impressed by the help available to Norwegian youths to get activated. In many countries young people are left to fend for themselves. The youth guarantee is designed to prevent this, by securing jobs, internships or education to inactive youths. We take a closer look at the Finnish youth guarantee.

Danish authorities help vulnerable youths in their transition from elementary to further education with production schools, which focus on practical work and production. Sadly, there are not enough places. The government wants to address this with its “vocational education reform”.

Norway's 'Apprentice Promise' is wanted by employers and youths alike. Yet even though everyone thinks it's a good idea, more needs to be done. There are not enough apprenticeships to cover the need. 

Sweden has for a long time failed to change the fact it has the highest youth unemployment in the Nordic region. It's now the first job on the new government's list. We went to Northern Sweden to see how “Swedish municipalities get to grips with youth unemployment”.

All the Nordic countries seem to struggle with finding good enough measures to secure young people's futures. 

We know what is needed to help young people manage their transfer into working life: enough internships, individual approaches and help which addresses the needs of the individual youth, and preferably a mentor to see them through difficult transitions. It might sound extravagant: each youth gets the help he or she needs, but it could mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to the guarantee for the future.


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