Access of young vulnerable NEETs to Youth Guarantee measures in Romania

CRPE Policy Memo nr. 76, August 2019, Authors: Alexandra Toderiță, Alexandru Damian, Cătălina Meiroșu

In 2013 the programme Youth Guarantee (YG) was lauched at EU level to support young people not in education, employment, nor training (NEETs). No less than 7.5 million young European were not in education, employment, nor training (NEETs) in 2013, i.e. 12.9% of young Europeans between the ages of 15 and 24 years.

What the Youth Guarantee intended to do was to support these young people in accessing the labour market through training programmes, assistance in finding jobs, internship programmes, financial support for employment (both for employees and for employers) and support for entrepreneurship programmes. Romania has set up its own YG programme through which aims to combat unemployment among young NEETs aged 15-24.

The report ”Access of young vulnerable NEETs to Youth Guarantee measures in Romania. Current status and way forward” analyses how the YG programme is implemented in Romania, its main objectives, target groups, national projects and programmes for young NEETs, and, above all, the extent to which this programme managed to facilitate and to support the integration on the labour market of young people at risk of social marginalisation – in particular young Roma people.

In this regard, we collected and analysed public information provided by institutions with responsibilities in this field – the Ministry of Labour, the Public Employment Service – ANOFM, but also by its county offices – AJOFMs, we conducted 90 in-depth interviews in 10 counties with 27 young Roma NEETs and 63 relevant actors in the field of youth, employment, Roma inclusion, etc. We also organised round tables, participatory workshops and a national conference in the capital, in large Romanian cities, as well as in small urban and rural areas, with over 200 relevant stakeholders at national and local level: young Roma NEETs, authorities – members of the Parliament, former ministers of relevant line ministries, representatives of institutions, NGOs, local action groups, training providers, community leaders.

Hence, the report is mainly aimed at understanding  the implementation of the Youth Guarantee since its launch in Romania from the perspective of the figures, mechanisms and public policies that define it, but focuses mainly on the implementation of the programme vis-a-vis the disadvantaged and discriminated groups, in particular young Roma NEETs.

Even though the implementation plan for the YG for the period 2017-2020 explicitly mentions for the first time that the programme should target “the most vulnerable categories of youth (the Roma minority, young people with disabilities, formerly institutionalised young people) in order to reduce the risk of social exclusion”, the field research carried out within this project shows that, for now, “not much has been achieved”.

The report shows that the young NEETs from the marginalised communities, those from the rural areas, the vulnerable groups – all of whom are difficult to reach even through inter-institutional efforts – are just beginning to enter the procedure and benefit from the measures of YG. Moreover, what can be said with certainty and was validated through this study is the fact that public policies in the field of youth employment in recent years in Romania, including the YG, have not taken into account the particularities of this minority group, which, indeed, is facing some problems commonly faced by the majority population as well (limited access to information, poverty, low level of education due largely to school dropout, vocational technical education not adapted to the needs of the market, low mobility especially in the rural area, migration abroad, etc). Added to these, there are specific problems – discrimination by employers, prejudices of the society that influence the self-image of the youth, certain cultural customs etc.

The study includes a series of public policy recommendations, targeting both the architecture and implementation of the future Youth Guarantee in Romania post-2020, as well as how the programme could support the inclusion of young people from vulnerable groups into the labor market.

Full report, in English, is available here.

The executive summary of the report, in English, is available here.