The “Alliance for YOUth” is a business-driven initiative that wants to promote youth employment in Europe. Initiated in 2014 by Nestlé, it now unites close to 200 companies.
“Alliance for YOUth” companies have also been involved in more than 5 400 so-called ‘readiness for work’ activities, which include CV clinics, job fairs, job interview preparations and other support events for young graduates.
“After one year of activity, we can say that the “Alliance for YOUth” creates a new dynamic.” says Luis Cantarell, Executive Vice President for Nestlé. “More than 60% of the business partners have already improved youth recruitment practices and youth employability since they became involved in the Alliance.”
According to a survey conducted by global insights firm Nielsen among 635 business managers and human resources professionals from 70 “Alliance for YOUth” companies in 22 European countries, 66% of respondents say that apprenticeships and internships are likely to lead to permanent employment. Many countries, especially in the south and east of Europe, are not yet organised to offer this way of dual learning, a mixture between formal education and on-the-job training.
“Dual learning helps young people to gain experience and confidence before they enter the job market”, says Christophe Cambournac, European President of Nielsen, a member of the “Alliance for YOUth”. “In addition, it helps to feed the talent pipeline of companies, matching skills with the jobs on the market. This is important as society is changing at a much faster pace than traditional school curricula can adapt to. Many of the jobs that will exist in 10 years are not yet around today.”
When designing dual learning programmes the “Alliance for YOUth” business partners have experienced the important role governments can and should play in fostering better collaboration between business and schools or universities. Governments are also key in promoting these schemes across a wide variety of sectors and profiles all across Europe.
The plea was made at a debate in the European Parliament. The event involved European Commissioner for Employment Marianne Thyssen, several members of the European Parliament as well as youth organisations and senior representatives and youth from the “Alliance for YOUth” companies.
Speaking at the debate, European Commissioner for Employment Marianne Thyssen said: «The fast implementation of the Youth Guarantee in close cooperation with companies is crucial to facilitate school-to-work transitions and get young people into jobs. Member States have to take advantage of this opportunity and the financial support the EU makes available. Last week the Commission transferred almost €1 billion to Member States to help up to 650,000 young people find jobs, apprenticeships, traineeships or continued education.»
“Alliance for YOUth” companies have recently set up new dual learning schemes across Europe in collaboration with universities and schools, but they often face bureaucratic hurdles. 26% of the companies believe that the administrative burden linked to these schemes is a barrier to setting up new youth work schemes. This refers for example to the long procedures to get government authorization to change education curricula.