YVote2014 Convention on Youth (Un)Employment in Agrigento

Youth unemployment is on the main agenda in many EU member states, particularly in Greece, Spain and Portugal, where an alarming number of young people are unemployed. The YVote2014 Convention in Agrigento addressed this topic with 25 people from different EU contries.

Youth unemployment is on the agenda of all European governments, and also of the European Union. In order to discuss this situation and to contribute with new ideas and concepts to fight youth unemployment, 25 people from France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Italy met in the lovely town of Agrigento, in southern Sicily, to tackle these big issues.

The convention on Youth (Un)Employment was the third one of the YVote2014 Project and the second one focusing on one specific thematic, right after Las Palmas’ convention about the democratic gap in the EU.

The days were filled with brainstorming, discussions and workshops on topics like how to bridge the skills mismatch between what young people learn and what is demanded in the job marked, what is the added value and the role of youth organizations like AEGEE in being involved in the fight against youth unemployment, which obstacles prevent young people to start their own business and what kind of help young people need to be able to find a job. Some other specific topics were the implemention of the newly decided youth guarantee, which seeks to provide every young person with either a job, education, training or apprenticeship within four months after finishing school and what should be done about helping persons in special need (NEETs, acronym for Not in Employment, Education or Training).

During the conference, many projects and initiatives on how to fight unemployment among young people in Europe were presented. At the same time, the participants had the possibility to discuss with the mayor of Agrigento as well as with the local state attorney, Ramondo Alaimo.

Special mention was given to the task of encouraging small businesses and start-ups as well as social businesses as means to fight youth unemployment. During these workshops, the participants developed themselves concepts on how to start a social businesses in their environment.

Despite of creating business plans, everyone discussed and developed measures and objectives to fight unemployment. These ideas were used to formulate recommendations towards Members of European Parliaments in the last two days.

Focusing on the upcoming European elections, participants simulated a discussion between supporters and opponents of voting in the EU elections in 2014. In this workshop, group works and discussion circles were formed in order to find arguments and explanations why to vote and what are the concerns that people who refuse to take part in the elections have.

All of the participants enjoyed the unexpected comfort and luxury of staying in a 4-star hotel with very decent working facilities. Special thanks go to the organisers from AEGEE-Agrigento who made all this possible and provided everyone with a great and very informative convention in beautiful Sicily.

Written by Holger Schmitt, AEGEE-Berlin