Flanders employment programme targets youth not in work or education

Flanders employment programme targets youth not in work or education
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The Flemish Employment Service (VDAB) is now focusing on reaching young adults who are not working, pursuing higher education or in vocational training. In Flanders, 7 out of 100 young people ages 15-29 are so-called NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training), according to a VDAB press release.

"These are young people who are in danger of falling through the cracks," Flemish Minister of Work Jo Brouns said. "That is precisely why the VDAB must provide appropriate guidance to all these young people in collaboration with specialized partners."

Brouns proposed the action for VDAB to focus on reaching NEETs young people which was approved by the Flemish government. These young people are often also not registered with the VDAB, calling for a specific action for VDAB to reach the group and provide them with the necessary resources.

Not wasting potential

According to Steunpunt Werk, belonging to a NEET group is an indication of vulnerability that can have long-term consequences. Young people who do not work or follow an educational path for a longer period of time are more often unemployed or not active later in life.

Yet about half of NEET young people want to work and are looking for work, the press release states.

The current age limit of 25 for VDAB youth services will be raised to 30. This is a step to expand VDAB support and align with the renewed European Youth Guarantee standard. Also, as part of the movement to engage this group of young people, VDAB will be able to more actively reach out to NEETs and guide them towards work.

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VDAB works with partner organisations and has its own in-house youth consultants specialised in assisting young people.

"They have a lot of potential that we should not let go to waste," Wim Adriaens, Managing Director of VDAB, said in the press release. "An education or a job has a much greater positive impact in the long term for these young people than for any other group on the labour market."

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