Early school leaving and youth unemployment: the Foundation P&V has awarded 6 innovative and efficient projects
On 19 February 2014 the 6 projects were presented that will receive a grant from the Foundation P&V for their actions against early school leaving and youth unemployment. Two projects come from Brussels, two from Flanders and two from Wallonia.
European top priority: preventing a lost generation
Young people are the first victims of the wave of unemployment which has struck Europe and its major cities and most vulnerable people. In December 2013, 23.7% of young people (aged 15-24) in Europe were without work. In some countries and major cities, youth unemployment has even hit 58%. It affects all young people, but those with the fewest qualifications are hit hardest. Many fear a 'lost generation' which will see its chances for a better future diminish through a combination of school drop-outs and unemployment.
Belgium sits around the European average for both issues. However, there are major differences between regions and communities. Flanders is doing relatively well with youth unemployment of 12.8%. Wallonia, and in particular the Brussels Capital Region, appear to have more problems getting their young people into work (percentages of 27.1% and 36.4% respectively).. In Brussels, 62% of unemployed young people have been out of work for longer than 6 months (compared to 55% in Wallonia and 35% in Flanders). Although Flanders scores well on the above indicators, the gap between labour market opportunities for young people and adults is larger in Flanders than in the other two regions. On top of this, Flanders appears to have a pronounced dual labour market for young people. Young people without a secondary education diploma are twice as likely to be unemployed in Flanders than highly educated young people.
According to the latest figures, Belgium is beginning to lag behind in terms of early school leaving. While Belgium could count itself among the best 10 European countries a couple of years ago, it has now fallen down to 20th place, just ahead of Bulgaria, the UK and Romania. Compared to 2009 a small rise in the number of early school leavers in Belgium can be seen (12% in 2012 compared to 11.1% in 2009), while most other European countries display a falling trend. In this case, too, there are majordifferences between regions. While in 2012, 8.7% of young people in Flanders left school without a diploma, the figure rises to 14.8% in Wallonia and 20.1% in Brussels. Young people of foreign descent are more than twice as likely to leave school without a diploma than young people who were born in Belgium.
Three-year project by the Foundation P&V combating early school leaving and youth unemployment
For the reasons outlined above, the Foundation P&V has launched an extensive programme whichcombines scientific research with concrete action. This programme aims to urge both policy makers and field practitioners to develop new policy measures, to give innovative and successful initiatives the chance to develop, to diffuse actions able to the fight against early school leaving and youth unemployment, and to support young people who either leave or threaten to leave education without a diploma or do not have or cannot find work.
The programme started in 2012 with an appeal to thousands of social scientists and research institutions across the whole of Europe. From the more than 40 submissions, an international panel selected 9 winning contributions which distinguished themselves through their original and informed take on the issue. These contributions were collected in the book Early school leaving & Youth unemployment, published by Lannoo Campus and Amsterdam University Press, and presented to the European Parliament.
These debates led to a broad call for projects that work on this issue within Belgium, which was launched on 5 June 2013. By 5 October 2013, we had received 245 dossiers from all over Belgium. After various evaluation rounds, a jury composed of Belgian experts selected 6 projects from these dossiers to receive grants of between €10,000 and €50,000.
The following projects are receiving a grant from the Foundation P&V:
Vormingscentrum Foyer – Roma Plus (Brussels)
A project to offer guidance to extremely vulnerable young people from an immigrant background (mostly young Romas) for getting into education and work, thereby improving their integration into the school and labour market. This projects aims to improve screening and route counselling tools, further develop relationships with partners, but also focus on the aftercare needed because even after they turn 18, these young people need support and advice.
Katelijn Schevelenbos, Coordinator, 02/609.55.75,
Odyssee – Guidance for adolescent school drop-outs (Brussels)
A non-profit organisation which seeks out young people who are threatening to drop out of school and helps them get back on track. In collaboration with 17 schools in Brussels, early school leavers are guided back into school by, among other things, carrying out an analysis of the reasons for dropping out, working intensively on motivation, self-respect and a personal project, and organizing group workshops for young people, as well as training sessions for teachers and educators.
Catherine Sztencel, Director, 0476/26.19.98,
Werkvormm – Junior Engineering (Antwerp)
Organises workshops outside school hours to introduce children and young people (5th and 6th year of primary education and 1st year of secondary education) to technology, allowing them to discover their potential technical talent, in this way getting them interested in technical education and guide them towards technical secondary education (TSO) or vocational secondary education (BSO) based on targeted selection (which might decrease the risk of a later school drop-out).
Chris Bryssinckx, General Coordinator, 0499/38.20.27,
Perspectives – Digital stage technology (Flémalle)
A project where poorly educated and/or long-term unemployed young people between 18 and 24 can receive basic training in and collaborate on a light and sound show over 9 months. This has the advantage that many other basic skills are acquired (basics in mathematics, computer science, electricity, but also collaboration, organisation, etc.) which are useful when looking for work in all sectors.
Bruno Schneider, Director, 0490/42.58.53,
De Schoolbrug – From chaos to zen in the classroom (Antwerp)
An in-school guidance route where teachers, classes and parents work together as equal partners to prevent school drop-outs (during the preparation, implementation and aftercare). Preventive work is done within the school, and in that way the project can be distinguished from all other external time-out projects outside the school.
Katleen Van de Velde, Coordinator, 0473/36 20 99,
La Teignouse AMO – Tutoring to help you grow (Comblain-Au-Pont)
A project for young people by young people, in which young school pupils and students learn from older, more experienced fellow pupils and where both 'parties' are supported and reinforced in their skills (mutual 'contracts', monitoring, guidance and training, feedback and evaluation, etc.).
Sébastien Hardy, Director, 0477/79.14.25,
- You can download the press release here.