Almere, Flevoland (NL), August 23, 2011
At present, young people are forced to accept one internship after another in hope of one day being hired. The relation between the work performed and the salary earned is more disconnected than ever before. This economic and social drama was the very heart of the debate on the first day of the 16th Summer School and 10th Youth Summer School organized by the Assembly of European Regions (AER), in cooperation with the Province of Flevoland (NL).
"Youth unemployment is undoubtedly one of the greatest tragedies of our society. It has never been so difficult for a young person to access employment, which may seem paradoxical given the number of young people with a university education", said Michèle SABBAN, AER President. "The numbers speak for themselves: the unemployment rate of under 25s has reached 21% in Europe and up to 43% in Spain!" she concluded.
On this first day, many were the suggestions made by European regions to deal with this reality:
1. Eurodyssey, a fruitful initiative: for 26 years, AER has led this programme, which allows young people between 18 and 30 to benefit from an internship abroad for a period of one or two trimesters. Eurodyssey does however not stimulate the ìprofessional intern statusî: follow-up surveys show that 70 to 80% of former trainees in the programme obtain permanent employment within 6 to 12 months after their internships. Eurodyssey has sent over 10,000 young people abroad.
2. To encourage active youth participation in politics. Many are the young people who, already today, bring innovative solutions to the challenges of our society. A clear example of this can be observed in social networks, where youth shows curiosity, creativity and willingness to act.
3. Our political leaders have an essential role to play: "The substantial unemployment rate among young people cannot solely be pinned on the financial crisis as it is also, to a large extent, related to structural problems that remain unresolved due to a lack of political will. In Flevoland, we have for several years now conducted a strong policy aiming to integrate young people into the labour market. We are proud of our results: In our region, the rate of youth unemployment reaches only 6%", said Leen VERBEEK, Queen's Commissioner of the Province of Flevoland (NL).
AER Summer Schools now grant the floor to young people and actors at ground level. Workshops, discussions and exchanges of good practice between youth and political, academia and business representatives will take place up until Friday.AER invites you to follow upcoming events on its social network sites, as well as through the AER Summer School 2011 official website.
Twitter: @europeanregions (to follow the debates: #aerss)
AER Summer School 2011: www.flevoland.nl/english/flevoland-a-european-prov/summer-school/
The Assembly of European Regions (AER - aer.eu) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together 270 regions from 34 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
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