Building a database
To review the range of policies of effective youth employment measures we compiled a database/inventory for specific member states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and UK). The database provides an overview of the main representative and/or most effective programmes that have been in operation in these member states in the period 2008 (pre-crisis) to 2016. Specifically, for each youth-related programme, the database summarises country-specific information in relation to:
- An overview of the programme, including its aims and objectives, target group(s) and main activities, i.e., what interventions it supports and how it is delivered on the ground.
- The main body responsible for the programme and other key actors involved;
- Sources and level(s) of funding;
- Quantitative data about its take-up and outcomes, particularly employment outcomes; and
- Overall evaluation of the programme, including its effectiveness and the extent to which it facilitates young people’s school-to-work transitions; its main strengths and weaknesses; any innovative elements; as well as key lessons learnt (i.e., what works and for whom, and what does not work and why) that can be used as policy pointers.
In order to add validity and to enhance the thoroughness of the approach towards compiling the database, the partners involved in the project [CEPS (BE), CBS (DK), DUTH (EL), UNIOVI (ES), CCIG (FR), UVT (NL), SGI (SK) and IES (UK)] adopted a systematic approach both to identifying and analysing key documents:
First, the scope of the country-level review was focused and provided an overview of the main representative programmes that have been in operation in a specific member state in the period 2008 (pre-crisis) to 2016.
An inclusive approach
Second, the partners adopted an inclusive approach as to the type of documents reviewed. To this end, their data search focused on main types of content from:
- Official national/regional data and policy documents, including the National Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans, National Youth Employment Plans, Programme Guidance and related documentation, including evaluation reports and related studies specific to the programme under review, etc.;
- Data, including administrative data, available from national statistical sources and monitoring systems on the take-up and cost of the implemented programmes, e.g., Public Employment Services (PES) for programmes that form part of ALMP, etc.; ESF-related data from ESF Managing Authorities, where applicable; relevant Ministries (e.g., Ministry of Employment/Labour, Ministry of Education, Ministry for Youth, etc.);
- Relevant databases, e.g., European Commission’s Database of Labour Market Practices and European Employment Policy Observatory (EEPO); Eurostat’s Labour Market Policy Database (LMP); ILO’s Youth Employment Inventory; etc.;
- The European Commission’s Mutual Learning Programme (MLP), including a number of relevant Peer Reviews;
- Key published material (e.g., books, academic journals, research articles, independent research, and evaluation studies and reports); and
- Survey data, including employer and beneficiary surveys.
Common data collection tool
Third, in order to collect information in a consistent and comparable way, the partners adopted a quasi-systematic approach to the country-level review by using a common data collection tool (in the form of an Excel proforma/template) that sought to elicit information in line with the key focus of Task 4. Such a standardised pro-forma/template facilitated the collection of comparable data on youth-related programmes in each selected member state and ensured consistency of information gathering across the partners.
Fourth, in order to fill in data gaps, especially in relation to quantitative and evaluation data, including data on the programme’s funding/budget, participation/take-up and outcomes in terms of positive employment and other outcomes for young people, the partners conducted, where possible, interviews (face-to-face or via telephone/Skype) with the most relevant informants who could provide such information.
Fifth, given the fact that the database can be used as a useful repository/knowledge base in relation to youth-related programmes in the countries reviewed, it also includes key references and data sources used, including (where available) the relevant online links and programme websites.
In total, the database includes 48 youth-related programmes that cover a wide range of interventions, many of which have proved effective in facilitating school-to-work transitions, including those of youth at risk/NEETs. Using a classification developed by Eurofound (2012) in relation to young people’s pathway to employment, these can be grouped in six broad categories (see Table below):
|Type/Category of Programme/Measure
||Range of Programmes/Measures
||Early intervention; integrated approach; personalised and intensive support; individualised action planning; quality options; monitoring
|Preventive measures for early school leaving (ESL)
||Diagnostic measures for early identification & intervention
Alternative learning environments
Information, advice and guidance (IAG) & support at key transition points, especially between lower- and upper-secondary education
|Remedial measures for re-integrating early school-leavers
||Tracking and/or outreach services
Second-chance education programmes
Pre-vocational training, including basic and soft skills training
VET and work-related, practical training
Integrated and personalised approach for re-engaging ESL
|Measures to enhance youth employability
||Apprenticeships and/or pre-apprenticeship (or pre-vocational) training
Structured traineeships that form part of a ‘train-first’ approach
Mentoring and support to young person throughout placement and beyond
Incentives and support to participating employers throughout placement
|Measures to facilitate school-to-work (STW) transitions
||Outreach and rehabilitation programmes
Intensive and personalised help and support, including individualised action planning through dedicated case workers and mentors
IAG and counselling, including individualised vocational &/or socio-pedagogical guidance
Early activation, e.g., intensive and personalised jobsearch assistance programmes combined with follow-up services
Special programmes addressing specific barriers faced by youth at risk, e.g., language courses, transport, living and/or childcare subsidies
||Subsidised employment programmes, e.g., well-targeted employer subsidies