Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none

European Commission


Brussels, 9 September 2014

Youth Guarantee: progress and achievements of 18 pilot projects

See also IP/14/981

The European Commission is meeting with the coordinators of 18 Youth Guarantee pilot projects at a seminar in Brussels on 9th September to review progress made so far. The pilot projects represent concrete ways of putting the Youth Guarantee into practice by for example reinforcing links between employers and schools and by upgrading support to young people from public employment service.

The pilot projects were launched between August and December 2013 and each run for around 12 months. They are currently being implemented in seven countries: Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. The aim of the projects is to provide Member States with practical relevant experience for implementing their national Youth Guarantee schemes and for related actions using the European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative.

The projects are split into two groups:

  1. Projects targeting young people in the final stages of secondary education or training and aiming to help them to make the transition from school to a job, further education and/or training.

  2. Projects targeting young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and aiming to provide them with supported pathways into education, training or employment.

Projects to help young people move from school to work



So far 700 young people between 17-18 years from 10 secondary schools have taken part in the project and have received career guidance and job counselling, as well as a skills assessment. 400 of them have participated in company visits.


250 young people have been involved to date, namely:

  1. 203 at-risk pupils aged 15-16, who are following motivational workshops in schools.

  2. 47 pupils aged 16-18, who are following a school-to-work pathway by participating in seminars and traineeships in companies

All 203 young people who took part in motivational workshops have remained in education, thus preventing potential dropout.

3 out of the 47 young people taking part in a school-to-work workshop found a job at a company where they completed the placement.

35 teachers from 3 schools are also participating.



So far, 300-350 young people aged 15-24 have participated in the project. The participants have had meetings with their school coordinator and an employment advisor. They have had an opportunity to complete a competency test, receive group and one-on-one guidance, visit an employer and undertake practical exercises.

Around 100 pupils and young jobseekers attended the Education and Work fair where 20 representatives from further and higher education sectors and businesses presented opportunities available for young people, gave practical information on the recruitment process, gave an opportunity for participants to take part in mock interviews and delivered a seminar on job search methods.

An innovative job matching and work life familiarisation activity entitled “You Can Work” has been developed and delivered as part of the Education and Work fair. It brought local employers and students together to engage in “public” interview sessions. Responding to a real vacancy that a company was seeking to fill, interested candidates carried out their job interview in front of their peers.


Alba County

This project developed a job club model. Job clubs operate within schools with the aim of preparing young people for working life, over and above what schools currently provide.

80 pupils aged 15-19 have been involved in the project to date. They have received guidance and counselling from 16 specially trained vocational counsellors. They have also completed a special training course on entrepreneurship. This will be followed by an opportunity to practically apply new skills setting up 16 training firms. Funding has been promised for 4 new actual start-ups.

25 participants were involved in the creation of the platform, an online centre for career assistance for young people.

60 participants visited key labour market actors as a way of familiarising themselves with the job search process.

4 job clubs have been created and are active. Pupils were involved in the set-up of the clubs and the associated website.

Neamt County

This project targets young people who are about to leave the system of state care. 103 young people participated in the initial identification of their needs and the preparation of an individualised labour market plan.

Partners in the project have joined forces to address an important barrier facing the participants in accessing employment, namely a lack of school certificates and expired ID cards. They have put together a database of the young people lacking such documentation and have worked together to ask schools and authorities to (re)issue missing qualification certificates and ID cards.

A model for establishing an individualised labour market integration plan for this specific target group was also established.

Of the participants, 20 are testing the proposed methodology. They have attended one-to-one career guidance sessions and are undertaking tailor-made training. 13 are following a course on communication skills and 7 on IT. They are currently about to start a five day placement in a local company, NGO or institute.

All employers in the Neamt County received a letter informing them about the project and asking them to come forward to host and mentor young people participating in the project. This would not have been possible without the involvement of the Chamber of Commerce, which is running the pilot. 17 companies, NGOs and institutions have registered on the project’s website to offer mentoring.

United Kingdom


A total of 75 young people from five Croydon schools (13-18 year olds) have taken part in the pilot activities to date. 45 of them have taken part in a two-week work placement organised by the project, and a regeneration challenge with an employer.

A ‘partnership contract’ - a School and Employer Accord – was established to ensure school and employer partners are signed up to joint working and are open to full co-operation. Four of the private sector partners have recruited 30 volunteer business mentors to work with young people participating in the project. A mentor toolkit has been prepared to assist the business mentors.

A web development agency has been appointed to design an additional portal to the existing Croydon Youth Services website that will enable young people to have an e-passport account to help them track and plan their work-based learning journeys. The credits will be formally recorded in the ‘e-passport to employment’ which will be provided to an employer at the job application stage or interview. This is a tool that can be used after the pilot project period to benefit many more young people.


31 partners have signed a pledge to support the delivery of the Youth Guarantee and offer traineeships, apprenticeships and work placements/trials for local youth. These partners have helped to identify and create apprenticeships and other training places for local youth which may not have materialised without formal commitment to the partnership.

220 students (16-17 years old) from six secondary schools in Hartlepool have taken part in the pilot. All participants have benefitted from one-on-one mentoring and attended school-based careers events as well as a “Choices Event” which is an awareness raising event of post-16 providers and local employers offering apprenticeships and traineeships.

Schools have also arranged support over the summer holidays to keep in touch with each young person and practically support their transition in further education in mid-September. A mentoring and over-the-summer support model for 16 year old at-risk students has been established which can be used to identify and prepare the most vulnerable final year students with their transition to further education and training and thereby boost participation rates in post-16 education.

The commitment to the partnership has increased the number and general willingness of local employers to attend careers events where they have met young people in an informal setting.


A multi-agency NEET practitioner group was established to reach out to the hardest-to-help young people and has proven very effective. The project organised successful ‘Choices’ careers and labour market information events for school leavers in all secondary schools. The events enable students to gain impartial advice and guidance on all progression routes available to them including employment and self-employment. The event is to be sustained and included in a career calendar for subsequent years.

104 pupils have been engaged in the project to date; 14 are enrolled in the post-16 part of the project (active support into further education, training or employment) and 90 enrolled in the school-based part. Further activities include peer support groups and information sessions.

Projects targeting young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs)



An overview analysis of NEETs in the region has been drafted, including an analysis of their situation and appropriate methods for approaching them. A model for identification of NEETs was developed by the partners.


36 young people participated in various activities including:

  1. School visits

  2. Company visits

  3. Work placements

  4. In-company guidance and training

  5. Entrepreneurship workshops 2 events, as planned:

  6. Entrepreneurship event attracting 135 participants organised to raise awareness of the project and to gather information about soft skills and behaviour/preferences of young people by asking them to fill in a questionnaire.

  7. A work lab event attracting 32 participants. The event was aimed at young people registered with the project but not selected for the work experience, to help them improve their job search and interviewing skills.

  8. Three seminars were also held (job search techniques, interviewing skills and reputation on the internet – use of social networks)

The project has developed an evaluation tool to help employers make recruitment decisions. It has received positive feedback from employers.

The project also conducted a benchmarking exercise of good practices in Tuscany and four European countries (Sweden, Finland, Austria, The Netherlands) which was shared with partners.

The first NEET Network Meeting was held, constituting important first step in the creation of a permanent “NEET committee/observatory” in the region.



316 young jobseekers attended interviews with public employment service (PES) advisers during the first four months of the project. Out of those:

  1. 75 have received an offer of work experience or employment, with 63 young people accepting the offer (84%).

  2. A further 121 jobseekers received an offer of education or training, with 89 people accepting it (73%).

Local and national partnerships were set up, with the local implementation group responsible for delivering the project on the ground while the national one has the responsibility for drawing up policy recommendations. The local partnership gathered intelligence on and completed a review of the target group and available progression opportunities. It has also undertaken a desk review of Youth Guarantees across the EU to help with the development of a detailed plan for implementation.

The partnership has been used as a sounding board for ideas on how to address practical problems faced by the project and unemployed youth. Through this type of dialogue the project has identified and addressed employment barriers, including funding young jobseekers who wished to take up employment but would not be paid until they had worked for a month, or paying necessary expenses incurred to take up a job.

The local PES in Ballymun has been reformed to deliver the promise of a good quality offer within four months of a young person leaving school or becoming unemployed. For example:

  1. Existing services were modified to accommodate the need to provide ‘good quality offers’ to members of the target group. (e.g. access to a state-funded work-based programme has been extended to the project’s target group for the duration of the pilot)

  2. There has been an intensification of the systematic engagement with young unemployed people. The average number of PES advisor interviews with clients is four, which is significantly higher than the national average.

Employers and their representatives have made important contributions to the employer engagement strategy by shaping the content of the materials and co-hosting information events.



This project has developed a model whereby the Vilnius City and County Business Employers’ Confederation is operating a ‘matching service’ between young jobseekers and local companies. Participants are able to undertake a two-week placement in companies and this allows the employers to ‘test’ them before recruitment. Participating employers have expressed satisfaction with the young employees they have been recruiting through the project and the public employment service is satisfied with the declining numbers of unemployed young people.

270 young people have been involved to date and 70 out of the 270 participants (26%) found employment immediately after their participation in the project.

An important success factor is that employers are directly involved in the training of young jobseekers through lectures and also through participation in ‘employer fairs’ where businesses present their employment and recruitment experiences and plans, answer questions about salaries and career progression and share their views and tips on good interviews. This gives a direct opportunity for jobseekers and employers to meet and arrange interviews.

One of the biggest challenges has been the extent of ‘hand-holding’ required (e.g. in ensuring young jobseekers attend their meetings, arrive on time and are prepared) and to manage the sometimes unrealistic expectations of young people (e.g. in relation to early career and salary).



10 companies from the logistics and metal sectors are involved in providing trial 6 month apprenticeships for unemployed young people as part of this project.

An in-depth review of employment and skill situation of young people in the region has been drafted as part of the project. The results are being used to guide the drafting of local and regional youth employment policies and programmes. As part of this exercise, a survey of 400 young people and guidance counsellors has been completed and focus groups organised to understand where young people’s skills lie and identify the challenges that they face in entering the labour market. These are complemented by responses from 200 employers.


27 young people aged 16-24 have been involved to date. 12 are young people with no qualifications and at risk of school failure and early drop out and 14 are young people with qualifications whose competencies are not adapted to the requirements of IT companies.

A total of 75 individual and 2 group mentoring meetings have taken place, as well as English language, technical and general training courses. The project offers work placements and training/study visits.

Professional guidance counsellors at the local public employment service have been professionally trained in coaching methods. They have started to apply their new knowledge and skills in guidance interviews with young people.

The monitoring committee will continue its activities after the end of the project period so as to continue sharing experiences and promoting innovation in youth unemployment efforts.

Cartagena (Murcia)

This is the city's first network dedicated to the education, training and employment of young people and the involvement of public actors from all different levels of government as well as key representatives from private and third sectors. The project has developed a new, more sophisticated system of referrals and follow-up between different agencies and organisations involved in the provision of youth employment and training services. The systems of recording information have been streamlined so that key agencies now use the same tools and computer software as the public employment service (PES). The use of one database and identical protocols for recording data allows for improved sharing of information between different agencies and optimises the use of resources.

65 young people have been involved in the project so far.

Of the participants:

  1. 9 are about to leave their studies or finish their education;

  2. 38 are unemployed / inactive young people who are registered with the PES; - 18 are 'hard to reach' young people who are not registered with PES.

The following activities have been implemented to date:

  1. 63 coaching workshops

  2. 40 recreational activities

  3. 12 English workshops

  4. 54 ICT workshops

  5. 44 workshops on job search skills

  6. 35 visits

19 out of the first 65 participants accepted an offer immediately after the completion of the mediation service:

  1. 9 accepted an offer of (academic) education

  2. 5 accepted an offer of vocational training (VET)

  3. 5 have accepted an offer of employment or work placement

The involvement of associations of employers has had a positive impact by opening doors to local business owners. Outreach work has been carried out successfully by youth organisations, in collaboration with social services.

Most of the integration and support methods used have relied heavily on principles of non-formal learning. Recreational sport activities have been included in order to raise and maintain some participants’ interest in the project and ‘activation’ in general.


This is an entrepreneurship formula that seeks to prepare young people for self-employment through counselling, guidance, work placements in relevant sectors/fields and advisory group work sessions to analyse the feasibility of proposed business ideas. It has been developed and tailored to the specificities of a rural region.

50 young people have participated in the project to date.

This includes:

  1. 23 young people who are close to completing their vocational studies or have another technical qualification,

  2. 5 young people with basic education,

  3. 10 with medium or higher vocational training, and

  4. 12 with compulsory basic training

The following activities have been implemented:

  1. All 50 took part in a training course, which included 14 different modules related to entrepreneurship. Teaching methods consisted of classroom-based learning, small group work, case studies, sessions led by project partners (i.e. associations of entrepreneurs, public bodies, professional bodies and individual business owners) and events.

  2. 19 have taken part in the advice phase, which includes practical advice on taking forward a business idea and formation of a business plan

  3. 28 have participated in work placements.

22 of the participants will go into self-employment once the training is complete, with the remaining being offered jobs by host companies (most of them likely to be temporary or fixed-term contracts). 3 participants have already been recruited by their host company.


This project has set up a new centre dedicated to youth activation. The new Youth Employment and Activation Agency offers labour mediation services to young unemployed people. An office has been opened and the staff recruited. The partnership triggered the first cases of cross-administration collaboration. Permanent collaboration is being sought between the Agency and secondary schools and training centres.

Companies who are actively involved in supporting the project will obtain the hallmark of ‘Enterprises Committed to Young People’.

100 young people have been involved to date:60 men and 40 women, 31 with university education, 29 with vocational education and 40 without secondary education or secondary education at most.

The activities delivered to date include career guidance, an assessment of ICT skills and coaching. Study visits were organised in Birmingham and Leipzig.

Future activities will include sessions on volunteering, self-employment, a second session on career guidance and a second session on coaching.

Street counsellors ('dinamizadores de barrio') have been recruited to spread information about the Agency to young people who are far removed from the labour market and not registered with the public employment services.


More than 20,000 young people were informed of the project through a large scale dissemination campaign utilising partners' databases (PES and graduates’ databases) out of which;

  1. 225 filled in an online registration form to participate in the project,

  2. 5 young people have participated in training, and

  3. 18 have begun a period of on-the-job learning in an enterprise.

Of the 35 participants, 63% are women and 6% are regarded as being at risk of social exclusion.

According to a survey of participants, two-thirds (66%) of the first 35 participants have the intention to set up a business (the target is that 30% of participants will end up setting up their own business);

  1. 7 (20% of current participants) have an intention to do soon in a very near future, by making use of the business incubator provided by the project

  2. 16 (46% of current participants) have an intention to do so in the future.

Many of the companies offering on-the-job training have expressed an interest in offering employment for participants.

Particular emphasis has been placed on:

  1. Identifying employees to act as business mentors for young participants interested in setting up their own business; and

  2. Collaborating with NGOs so as to raise awareness of the project among young people not accessing mainstream services.

Further information

See also:

Side Bar