26 good examples of measures that work and 600 people wanting to discuss youth unemployment. That was the impressive effort at the meeting of Nordic prime ministers and labour ministers in Stockholm on 16 May. The Nordic Labour Journal was there and this edition focuses on youth outside of the labour market.
Make no mistake: youth unemployment is foremost in Nordic politicians’ minds. Especially NEETs, young people not in education, employment or training. They make up between five and ten percent of Nordic youths. But what will politicians do for them?
To really listen to young people and see each individual in light of their own merit, cooperating across sectors while also focusing on schools - where life-long learning begins. To learn from the other Nordic countries and benefit from the common Nordic labour market - these were all themes when Nordic prime ministers and labour ministers met in Stockholm on 16 May.
“A murderer can become a fantastic worker. He has been in prison, thinking. Employers who dare hire a former criminal get very loyal workers,” says Nanna Ravn Hansen, a consultant at High:five.
It is difficult to find political measures which actually do get more young people into work. Sweden’s dramatical reduction in employer contributions for youths in 2007 and 2009 has led to few new jobs.
Youth unemployment is a priority for Stockholm Municipality. Considerable work is being done within the city and between the city and other authorities, in order to get young people off benefits and into work or education. Two projects show that strong support on an individual level can be a recipe for success.
Iceland has a new government. It has announced a stop to EU membership negotiations to allow time to decide whether negotiations will continue at all. It is still unclear when a referendum on EU membership will take place.
335,000 citizens from EU’s new member states moved to the Nordic region between 2004 and 2011. A considerable number of workers and service providers from these countries have also been posted there during the same period of time. Foreign labour has represented a positive contribution to the economic growth, but it has also put pressure of wages and working conditions.
Participants at the conference ‘Nordic ways out of the crisis’ agreed the Nordic countries can play an important role in southern Europe’s current economic crisis. Yet just how the Nordic countries can work together and how much support there is for such work remains uncertain.
The programme for the Nordic Council of Ministers’ cooperation on working life issues for 2013 is called ‘An inclusive working life with focus on young people’ and has been prepared by Sweden’s Minister for Employment Hillevi Engström.