State of the European youth in 2014

In the run up to the European Youth Event a few weeks ago in Strasbourg, a special Eurobarometer focused on youth was released. Similarly to the official themes of the European Youth Event, this survey was divided into five topics: youth and jobs, the digital revolution, the future of the European Union, sustainable development and European values.

The survey was conducted between 13 March and 2 April 2014, among 13,437 young Europeans aged 16 to 30 in the 28 Member States of the European Union.

In terms of employment, this Eurobarometer showed that more than half of young Europeans feel that in their country young people have been marginalised and excluded from economic and social life by the crisis. Mobility was also mentioned with a strong distinction between voluntary and forced mobility. Indeed, in countries with a high youth unemployment rate, a significant proportion of young people feel compelled to move to another EU country.

Regarding the digital revolution, data protection is the main concern of young Europeans. The survey found that more regulation is needed. When it comes to the future of the European Union, 70 per cent of those questioned think that being part of the EU makes their country stronger.

On the subject of sustainable development, young people are clearly in favour of renewable energy and they think that they should have a key role in the fight against climate change.

Finally, European youth expressed what matters to them in terms of values. Human rights, freedom of speech and gender equality were the issues they most value.

The European Youth Forum welcomed this study, as it showed how much young people have to say when it comes to future of the society and it led to fruitful discussions at the European Youth Event.

Read more: European Youth in 2014 – Eurobarometer

Click to access eb_395_synthesis_youth_en.pdf

From Youth Policy Watch

eYF

State of bathing waters in EU

Interactive Map here: http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/water/interactive/bathing/state-of-bathing-waters-1

Bathing water monitoring by country. Please note: for the scales 1:5.000.001 and less detailed, data are aggregated by country. In such case, stacked bars show percentage of bathing water quality for coastal and inland waters together. Number of bathing waters within certain category is seen in pop up window which can be turned on with a click on one of the countries. For the scale range 1:5 000.000 to 1:700,001, individual bathing water sites (points) are visible instead of classified stacked charts and are coloured according to the classification of bathing water quality. Symbol size depends on the map scale (in more detailed map scales symbols are bigger). For the scales 1:700,000 and more detailed, symbol of bather in a square appears instead of points. Symbol size depends on the map scale.

Education and Training Monitor highlights impact of budget cuts and skills mismatch

The 2013 Education and Training Monitor provides a picture of each country’s progress in relation to specific benchmarks and indicators, and highlights the latest policy developments and analysis. Accompanied by 28 individual country reports and an online visualisation tool, it provides a wealth of data to facilitate evidence-based policy making across Europe.

The data provided by the annual Education and Training Monitor is invaluable because it allows Member States to compare themselves against others and encourages decision-makers to invest efficiently in modernising their education systems to improve quality and results. This is vital if we are to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in life,” commented Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

This year’s Monitor confirms a fall in the employment rate of recent graduates with at least an upper secondary education qualification: only 76% are now finding jobs compared with 82% in 2008. While the employment advantage of a university degree is still evident in all Member States, one in five of the EU working population with tertiary qualifications are in jobs that usually require lower qualifications. In spite of high levels of unemployment, this suggests a worrying mismatch between the skills delivered by education and training systems and those required by the labour market.

Europe 2020 headline target: steady progress

The rate of early leavers from education and training continues to decrease, standing at 12.7%. The EU target for 2020 is 10% or less. With the unemployment rate among early school leavers at just over 40%, the biggest challenge lies in the transition from school to work. This is facilitated through quality traineeships, apprenticeships and ‘dual learning’ models, which combine education with practical experience. Students from vocational education and training programmes experience a better transition from education to work in Member States with developed work-based learning. Similarly the move from work back to learning requires closer attention, with less than 1% of 18 to 24 year-olds in non-formal learning after having left formal education.

With the tertiary attainment rate slowly increasing, now at 35.7% compared with the Europe 2020 target of 40%, the policy focus is shifting towards reducing drop-out rates, enhancing quality and relevance and promoting the international mobility of students. International mobility in higher education increases the probability of mobility after graduation and can help in tackling skills mismatches and bottlenecks in European labour market.

Other key findings of the Education and Training Monitor

  • Inequality is still a feature of many education and training systems in Europe. This is reflected by strong weaknesses in the skills and qualifications of groups such as young people with a migrant background. These inequalities have severe consequences for individuals, economic progress and social cohesion, yet the success of Member States in tackling this problem varies greatly.
  • Demographic trends strongly affect the teaching profession: in many Member States the majority of teachers are in the highest age bracket, with very few teachers under 30. A rethink is needed on how to attract, recruit and educate the best candidates, in addition to ensuring they are supported in their professional development throughout their careers.
  • Europe is lagging behind in the development of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Although digital technologies are fully embedded in the way people interact, work and trade, they are not being fully exploited in European education and training. While 70% of teachers in the EU recognise the importance of ICT-supported training, only 20% of students are taught by digitally confident and supportive teachers.

More information

Eurobarometer on traineeships in the EU

According to the Eurobarometer survey on the quality of traineeships in
the EU published today, a significant number of trainees feel that their
working conditions could be improved and that the learning content of
their traineeship is insufficient. Even if the majority of trainees
consider their experience useful, the survey shows that almost one in
three traineeships is dissatisfactory with regard to working conditions or
learning content.

The Eurobarometer study shows that:
– Traineeships are widespread: around half of respondents (46%) have done
a traineeship, and a high share of them has done multiple traineeships.
– Almost six out of ten trainees (59%) did not receive any financial
compensation during their last traineeship. Among those who were paid,
less than a half consider it was enough to cover basic living costs.
– Four out of ten trainees did not have a written traineeship agreement or
contract with the host organisation or company.
– Almost one in three traineeships (30%) is substandard either with
regards to learning content or working conditions. Close to 25% report
that their working conditions were different from that of regular
employees and 20% consider they have not learned anything professionally
useful during their traineeship.
– Training abroad is still rare, with only around 10% of traineeships
taking place abroad.

An analysis based on the Eurobarometer results found a significant
correlation between the quality of traineeships and the employment
outcome. In other words, those that had completed a substandard
traineeship were significantly less likely to find a job afterwards.

Find out more:
http://ec.europa. eu/public_ opinion/archives /flash_arch_ 390_375_en. htm#378