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25 Universities to examine youth unemployment in Europe: Launch of the Strategic Transition for Youth Labour in Europe Project (STYLE)

Date

04 Apr 2014

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs

A new European-wide research project examining ways of overcoming youth unemployment launches in the United Kingdom at the University of Brighton this week and will last for a period of three years.

The €5m EU-funded ‘STYLE’ project (Strategic Transitions for Youth Labour in Europe) involves 25 research partners, researchers from 19 European countries and over 60 stakeholder organisations across Europe, including, amongst others, the European Youth Forum representing 99 national youth councils across the EU, along with Business Europe, the International Labour Organisation, the OECD and the European Trade Union Institute.

Heading the research is Professor Jacqueline O’Reilly from the Centre for Research on Management and Employment at the University of Brighton Business School. She said: “Youth unemployment is hard to ignore, difficult to define and elusive to resolve. The problem varies between countries in terms of its causes, magnitude, and consequences.

 The STYLE project examines labour market mismatch in terms of education and skills, mobility and migration, as well as the potential for youth business start-ups. But our focus goes beyond the immediate sphere of economic production.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of contemporary youth unemployment resides in family legacies from previous recessions and the inheritance of inequalities across generations. We are interested in understanding the interaction between the structures of economic production and social reproduction and how policy interventions affect these.”

Professor Maria Petmesidou, from the University of Thrace in northern Greece, where around 60 % of young people are without work, said: “The EU plays a significantly important role today in both funding policy initiatives and policy learning than was the case in previous recessions. The dramatic situation in Mediterranean countries has also been a catalyst for youth migration; the growth of European youth mobility has elevated the issue of youth unemployment from a national problem to one that needs integrated coordination with supra-national organisations such as the EU.”

Professor O’Reilly stressed that policy evaluation was an important part of the project. “But it is not just about using advanced statistical techniques and data analysis to identify effective measures to address these problems. Researchers will also study the attitudes and aspirations of young people themselves using a variety of innovative qualitative and quantitative methods.”

She said that the overriding aim of STYLE was to provide a comprehensive EU-wide analysis of youth unemployment that is “sensitive to gender, ethnic and class differences and the historical legacies of multi-level institutions shaping relevant policies”.

“We already have over 60 stakeholder organisations that have signed up to be involved in the project. It will help us provide a relevant, recent historical analysis accounting for factors prior to, and following on from, the on-going economic crisis. And it will aim to inform policy makers about what works for whom and why.”

Policy research and reports will be disseminated by EurActiv, the media partner of the project via its online European news portal on a dedicated section “Social Europe & Jobs”. Detailed background on the policy key players and stakeholders engaged in developing policies and programmes to overcome the youth unemployment problem in Europe as well as sustained coverage of developments in that particular area will be available on the platform over the lifetime of the project.  

At the end of the project a book will be published summarizing the result of the research.  An event to promote the launch of the book will be held in Brussels. 

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