On 1 May Youth Guarantee had existed for four years. The European programme which aims to help the Neet (young people who do not study or work) aged between 15 and 29, to break into the labour market is now entering its fifth year. And it is time for the figures. According to the latest figures from Anpal, the national agency for active policies, the number of people subscribing to the programme on 31 January 2018 was 1 million 266 thousand (not counting cancellations). In the end slightly more than 232 thousand have a job today. A chiaroscuro result if we look at the figures, financed with a contribution of 1.5 billion to be spent by 2018, plus another fund of 1.27 billion until 2020, which has made it possible for the regions of the south to extend the programme to all young unemployed people and to just to the Neet.
Acceptance and the work of the operators
The young people that subscribed on the portal of Youth Guarantee are concentrated in the regions of Southern Italy (42,5%), whereas only 15.9% are in the regions of the north-east. Most of them are aged between 19 and 24 (54.6%) and only 10% are still minors. Of those who subscribed, the “accepted” ones – those who were re-contacted by the services for public or private employment – amounted to 78.6 percent, equivalent to 995,413.
Once accepted, more than half (55%) of young people were inducted into an active policy action. This percentage drops to 47.7% in the case of young people with greater difficulty getting into the labour market (high profiling) and reaches 67.7% for young people with medium-low profiling. The number of active policy measures provided overall was 631,917: 60% entered an extracurricular apprenticeship, 22.9% took advantage of employment incentives and 12.4% training courses.
78.2% of the cases were accepted at job centres throughout Italy except for the north-west where 78.8% of the young people were accepted by accredited employment agencies.
«Youth Guarantee has obtained the important result of bringing the discussion on policies to a wider audience», explained Alessandro Borgialli, Active Policies director of Adecco. «The programme however came up against an organisation of the labour market which requires that the active policies be managed at a regional level. The result was a split Youth Guarantee which differed from one region to another and which has also affected our work as private operators». Some regions made use of accredited private agencies while others preferred to rely on the public network of job centres.
Three models emerged. The first is the “voucher model” of Lombardy, Piedmont and Campania, which left the young person the possibility of choosing between the public and private sectors for provision of the service. In this case it is also the agency itself that can contact the potential users. The second is the “project model”, adopted for example in Veneto and Apulia, which has a training project in which the private agency comes in later to help with finding a job based on the vacancies available. The last is the model chosen by regions such as Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Friuli Venezia Giulia which, using different procedures, give priority to the job centres.
«The programme however came up against an organisation of the labour market which requires that the active policies be managed at a regional level. The result was a split Youth Guarantee which differed from one region to another.
Youth Guarantee: and then?
But how many of these young people found a job in the end? The results vary from region to region in view of the different methods of application. As regards those who completed the active policy action, the young people employed at the date the figures were produced by Anpal numbered 232,560. The rate of employment determined one, three and six months after conclusion of the Youth Guarantee action passed from 39% (after one month) to 48.4% (six months). In the month after conclusion of the Youth Guarantee action 40.8% of the young people found their first job, a percentage that rises to 58% if we consider a long period of time (within six months). 40.2% of young people were employed with an apprenticeship contract, 30.7% with a fixed term contract and 25.5% with an open-ended contract.
Considering the territorial viewpoint instead, employment rates are higher in the north, in particular in the regions of the north-west, compared to those of the centre, south and the islands. With some exceptions. «The best employment figures come from Lombardy, Piedmont and Campania, which opened private agencies», explained Borgialli. «And in the case of Campania what becomes very clear is the supremacy of the process with regard to the labour market, which in this region is certainly more difficult and complex than the other two. It is evident that the openness to the private sector is beneficial from the viewpoint of job placement».
The results overall are positive, considering that we are discussing a project aimed at a marginal category of the social and productive life of the country and which, thanks to Youth Guarantee, has been able in some way managed to get back into circulation in the labour market.
Maurizio Del Conte, president of Anpal, admits that for Youth Guarantee «we can and we must do more». But the results overall are positive, «considering that we are talking about a project aimed at a marginal category of the social and productive life of the country and which, thanks to Youth Guarantee has managed to get back into circulation in the labour market», as he explained to Sole 24 Ore. «They have evaluated their skills, they have contacted organisations such as job centres, regaining a social dimension, taking action and announcing their availability».
A closer look however at the figures reveals that half of those who subscribed to the programme were lost along the way. Since the active policy actions started are half of the total who registered. This fact perhaps demonstrates the weakness of the regional network of Italian employment services. This is the reason for the creation of Anpal, which was supposed to centralise the employment services except that it was hamstrung by the rejection of the constitutional referendum of 4 December 2016.
At the moment, the number of Neet has dropped from 2.41 million in 2014 to 2.19 million in 2017, Italy is still worst in Europe for the number of young people not engaged in work or study. 24% of Italian under-thirties still fall into this category, against an EU average of 13.4%, and well behind the 5.9% of Holland and 8.5% of Germany. With a greater concentration in the south where the figures for Neet reach 34.4% of the under-thirties, in other words more than one out of three. «The best practice of past experience is making us think about ways to ensure that Youth Guarantee 2 is more effective», concluded Alessandro Borgialli.