As the workforce ages and the number of young people of working age falls, their chance of finding a job increases. But it is still too early for politicians to sit back and relax. Powerful measures are needed to fight youth unemployment. One solution is to create more apprenticeships.
Finland and Austria are in the vanguard when the EU is developing new ways of supporting young people at risk of becoming unemployed. Finland’s youth guarantee means everyone will get a job, internship or training within three months, and the country’s long-term youth unemployment is the lowest in all of the EU.
An increasing number of young people find work in Finnish industry via apprenticeships. In recent years the forest industry has traded in its own traditional training schemes with other kinds of education — and the programmes are popular.
Few young Danes are outside of the labour market. Improved vocational education should get even more of them into training and jobs.
It is hard to find a better role model for apprentices than Henrik Tanum. He is full of enthusiasm and drive. Right now he is also the face of the Norwegian employers’ organisation Virke, as he is learning the job as their receptionist.
Over the past seven years, Sweden’s Public Employment Service has taken on more and more responsibility for labour market measures aimed at young people. But it has been a challenging task, and municipalities have become increasingly central to getting people into work or training. If they don’t, the cost of marginalisation lands on the municipalities’ desk, and that is motivation enough to do something about it.
The tide is turning. Starting this year, Europe’s working-age population is falling, but that does not solve the problem of youth unemployment. Clear political priorities are needed. We have looked at some of the current measures in the Nordic region. We went to North Sweden to see how a small municipality is dealing with the challenges. We have looked at apprenticeship systems in Norway, Denmark and Finland to see what works, and we met Finnish youths who have been given a new chance through the youth guarantee — which is meant to be a model for the rest of Europe. The question remains: is there light at the end of the tunnel?
What happens when the number of communicators keep growing while the number of journalists keeps falling and many media are bleeding? Will it affect democracy in the Nordic countries?
Today’s Swedish government minister is on average surrounded by eight to ten so-called policy professionals. They work as communicators or policy advisors and have great influence over which issues are confronted and driven forward, even though they work in silence and with unclear mandates. These are some of the results from a new research report due to be published in the spring of 2015.
Journalists becoming communications advisors, or in particular spin doctors to politicians, often say goodbye to journalism for good. But not always. Three former spin doctors tell us about their return to the media world. They all agree their time ‘on the opposite side of the table’ has made them better journalists.
For the first time ever there is a considerable problem of open unemployment among journalists in Finland. There is also substantial hidden numbers since many are working less than they would like or take on extra non-journalistic work in order to make ends meet.
Investigative journalism and the media’s role in a democracy are the main arguments used by media companies when they ask for special treatment. There is a debate in all the Nordic countries over the media’s framework — should they be exempt from paying VAT and should digital media be subsidised?
The business cluster Íslenski sjávarklasinn or Ocean Cluster in Reykjavik is a cooperation between innovation companies and Iceland’s fisheries which has been running for two years. Foreign visitors are showing great interest. Other countries are very likely to set up similar centres in the future.
Anyone who’s stood frozen-fingered waiting for the Icelandic Strokkur geysir to erupt with its boiling water can imagine what it felt like at Iceland’s Directorate of Labour when unemployment figures started emerging after the 2008 crisis.
Five and a half years after the Icelandic economy collapsed, we now know children were doing better during the crisis than before, even though the opposite had been feared. This is according to the Welfare Watch, a body set up soon after the crisis hit which brought many good forces together to protect Icelanders’ welfare.
A new voluntary equal pay standard is bringing Iceland one step closer to equal pay and cements Iceland’s leadership when it comes to gender equality.
Despite being so heavy hit by the crisis, Icelanders continued construction of the new music house Harpa in Reykjavik - the only building project which kept going during the crisis. And as Iceland is bouncing back, the award-winning building Harpa has become the symbol of Iceland’s economic recovery.