European Youth Guarantee – a solution to counter youth unemployment?

Emil Wojtaluk

The European Youth Guarantee has been launched in April 2013. EU member states committed themselves to ensure the implementation of the program by facilitating young people’s successful transition into work. Is it working? Let’s find out…




How does it work…

The idea behind launching this program was to ensure that ALL young people under the age of 25 would get an appropriate offer within 4 months from ending formal education or becoming unemployed (no matter if registered with employment services or not). An offer, mentioned above should be for a job, apprenticeship, traineeship or for continued education, taking into account individual needs.

It all started with creating Youth Guarantee Implementation Plans, made by each EU country in 2014. Then the pilot programs were launched from December 2014 to June 2015 in Finland, Latvia, Portugal and Romania – which aimed to disseminate information about the Youth Guarantee, first by properly addressing the target group. One of the main principles is to create strong cooperation between all stakeholders, which are inter alia: public authorities, career guidance providers, education and training institutions, employers etc. To improve the number of quality offers the European Alliance for Apprenticeship (EAfA) helps to facilitate the implementation of the program by bringing together EU institutions, countries and regions, companies etc. EU member states are able to check each other how the program is implemented in their countries by using Mutual Learning Programme of the European Commission. Other pilot programs were also created in the early stage in 2013, with the participation of Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom running for one year in each country – aimed at developing partnership, support the labor market integration and promoting the scope of actions.

Registration process for the Youth Guarantee in 3 steps:

  • Registration
  • Meeting your own advisor
  • Getting quality offer (of job, apprenticeship, traineeship or education)

First successes



Number of countries enacted specific laws to improve quality of education and learning. Here are some of them: France created a new law on lifelong learning and VET (vocational education and training); in Portugal VET centers started to function for basic (age 14) and secondary (age 15-17) students etc. As for “school-to-work transitions” Poland has focused on the outreach to unregistered young people, providing vocational counseling and among other things activation tools like vouchers and start-up loans (for those who wish to set up their own economic activity).



The Youth Guarantee is funded from the well-known European Social Fund with the support of Youth Employment Initiative (which amounts to 6 bln euro). €12.7 billion is directed to labor market integration of young people, €11 billion from ESF to modernize employment services and promoting self-employment. Finally, €26 billion is planned to be spent on education measures (lifelong learning).

To conclude…

From the perspective of Polish citizen I have to admit that I was not familiar with Youth Guarantee before I did my research at the official websites of the European Union. Dissemination of the project seems to lack a lot, at least in my own country. Neither public authorities at local level nor the government have implemented appropriate measures to raise the awareness of the project among young people. More specific measures should be used – like meetings with high school or university students and also launching a country-wide media campaign. I am afraid that if it is not done, chances for most of our young citizens to benefit from Youth Guarantee will be low since many of them simply have not heard about it!

To find more information on Youth Guarantee please visit the official website of the program (including directions to national coordinators available in each EU member state):


What is the European Social Fund?

Emil Wojtaluk

European Social Fund (ESF) is European Union’s main instrument to invest in human capital – namely workers. It assists by funding initiatives to help workers improve their skills and prospects for job. ESF is mainly desired for those Member States who have the lowest GDP compared to the EU average.

What are the most important priorities?

* Boost adaptability of workers with new skills, and enterprises with new ways of working (training opportunities, active career management, modernizing the institutions etc.),

* Improving access to employment (training and qualifications, helping women after pregnancy to get back to work by updating their skills),

* Helping people from disadvantaged groups to get jobs (minorities, immigrants, social excluded persons),

* Vocational training (improving the offer of companies and universities to be best suitable for individuals and to give more job prospects).

To whom it is addressed?

To Beneficiaries which are wide variety of organizations as: public administrations, workers’ and employers’ organizations, NGO’s, charities and companies.

And to Participants who are individuals who take part in ESF project like: young job seekers getting work placements, people seeking advice how to set up their own business, and many other projects.

How it works?

The fundamental point of the functioning of European Social Fund is partnership between the European Commission and national and regional authorities. Other partners like NGO’s and workers’ organizations are also taken into account in the creation of ESF strategy and monitoring its implementation. The European Social Fund strategy and budget are negotiated and decided by EU governments, European Parliament and The Commission.

There are two main principles constituting ESF. First is co-financing for private and public entities that vary from 50% to 85%, and in exceptional cases even 95% of the total project cost. The level of co-financing also depends on current economic situation of a particular region. And the second principle is shared management which covers preparation of ESF guidelines after consultations with stakeholders, and negotiating 7-year Operational Programmes between national authorities and The Commission.

Important numbers

* Every year EU gives over 10 billion € to the European Social Fund

* European Union will provide over 76 billion € in funding to the ESF for the period 2007 -2013 and 84 billion € for the years 2014-2020!

* Every year ESF supports and train more than 10 million people!

ESF – close to us

Summing up, I would like to stress our domestic example of using ESF in Lublin. John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin is realizing “Najlepsze Praktyki” project co-funded from the fund, which is aimed at: sending doctoral students for internships, English language course for research and teaching staff of the University, organizing lectures of visiting professors and finally – modern studies programmes with additional professional courses that are completely free of charge. Being a student of European Studies I was attending Public Speaking class co-funded exactly from ESF. There are also many other free courses to choose like: fundraising for international projects, project management, protocol and etiquette and much more. That is an example of improving of education that is covered by the main priorities of the European Social Fund.

We can find European Funds at almost every step, we just got used to them. Try to imagine – what if there would be no EU funds? I will leave our readers with that question.