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Italy gears up for its own EU Youth Guarantee jobs program

EU members aim to combat 'army of under-employed under-25s'

24 March, 16:40
Italy gears up for its own EU Youth Guarantee jobs program (ANSA) - Rome, March 24 - At least 74.5 million people under 25 around the world were out of work in 2013, one million more than in the previous year, the UN's International Labor Organization (ILO) told a youth employment seminar at Italy's Lower House Monday.

In 2011, the number of so-called European NEETS (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) aged 15-24 had reached 7.5 million, in addition to 6.5 million NEETS aged 25-29, according to Eurostat statistics bureau.

"Barring rapid and structured intervention, an entire generation is at risk", according to the ILO.

The seminar set up jointly by the ILO, the European Parliament Youth Intergroup and the Italian Parliament Youth Intergroup, is aimed at setting up a Youth Guarantee program in Italy. The program was endorsed by EU countries in April 2013. EU member States are currently developing national Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans with the help of the European Commission.

The idea is to ensure that all people under 25 - whether registered with employment services or not - get access to a quality, concrete job, internship or continued education offer within four months of leaving formal education or losing a job.

The Youth Guarantee program should cost each country about 0.5-1.5% of national GDP, according to the ILO.

"The long-term costs of youth unemployment far outweigh those of investing in the program", said ILO Employment Policies Director Azita Berar Awad.

"The Youth Guarantee program is the first bridge to the future for recent graduates and NEETS, who have dropped off the radar", said Italian Labor Minister Giuliano Poletti.

"Staying home without taking action is just not an option," he added. "We must give everyone an opportunity".