Labour MEPs vote for EU action to upskill young jobless in bid to tackle youth unemployment

Labour MEPs have voted for a report calling for EU action to increase the skills of young people to help their prospects in finding a job.

Proposals include forecasting skills needs in the labour market; strengthening co-ordination between education institutions and local employers; and improving the quality of career guidance at schools.

The report also calls for national governments to take action to prevent trainees and apprentices from being abused; recognise and strengthen dual learning; and implement immediately the operational programmes of the EU Youth Employment Initiative.

Glenis Willmott MEP, member of the European Parliament employment and social affairs committee, said:

“In Britain, more than 650,000 16-24 year olds are out of work – that’s nearly 15 per cent of all young people.

“Young people’s skills must be developed to ensure they have the best chance of finding employment. This includes more high-quality traineeships and apprenticeships, an area in which the government has failed to take sufficient action.

“It is critical young people have access to the required skilled in today’s labour market. The government also needs to boost jobs, growth and investment to ensure there are quality jobs for young people.”

Labour MEPs have also been calling for EU action to enhance the rights of workers in insecure employment, like zero-hours contracts.

Ms Willmott added:

“For many young people in the UK, the only work they can get is on a zero-hours contract. It is often their first job, and their only way into the jobs market.

“Zero-hours contracts prevent people from having any form of financial security. People cannot be expected to put their life on hold in the off-chance they are offered work, which they desperately need. It is deplorable that workers can have their shifts cancelled at the last minute, or even be sent home after turning up for their shift.

“They offer no guaranteed hours or income, and are a problem across Europe – a very real problem of the quality of work and job security. It’s the young who suffer the most at this vicious end of the job market, and unless the EU and national governments act, this disgraceful practice will continue.

“Labour MEPs believe that if you work regular hours, you should have a regular contract, and that is why we are working to end exploitative zero-hours contracts across the EU.”