In the European Year of Youth, five EU Agencies, Cedefop, Eurofound, ELA, EU-OSHA and ETF came together to organize an event with the EMPL Committee of the European Parliament to share their insights and explore the challenges and opportunities for young people in times of uncertainty. The Directors of the five Agencies together with MEPs and other experts discussed working conditions for young people, youth policies, wellbeing and mental health, access to education and training, opportunities for cross-border mobility, and realities in EU neighboring countries. VIEWS International attended this event and would like to share the outcomes.

The event started with the five Agencies’ commitment to recognize the importance of the development, well-being and participation in society and the labor market of young people in Europe. They further explained that they try to reach their commitment by investing in their potential, supporting their labor market integration, promoting quality jobs, facilitating skills development and mobility, and fighting economic and social exclusion. However, they acknowledged that many young people today still have difficulties getting hold of the opportunities to find employment or become the best they can be.

Speaking of opportunities, the next session was dedicated to that. The panelists touched upon the difficulty of getting a job in this changing world of work and the importance of developing the right skills to reduce the uncertainty of change. There were also discussions on how to create opportunities for jobs, education, training, quality work experience programmes and skills for the transition despite all of the challenges. They also reminded us of the advantage of the cross-border European labor markets. Lastly, this session also reflected on European youth policies and the general state of the world in terms of youth employment.

One nice thing about this event was that we also heard the voice of youth in the session called “Meeting the expectations of young Europeans” and the following sessions all revolved around giving a voice to one of the representatives of the concerned parties to speak up about the problems of the youth. After having listened to at least one young person, the five agencies reiterated their pledge to shaping a future that works for young people.

Then the event organizers steered the agenda to a different issue, which was supporting youth facing different challenges. This session covered investing in job quality, well-being and health and safety matters of young people with various different challenges such as disability. Furthermore, the group of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) was not forgotten either. This part of the seminar reflected on who they are really and how to design adequate support measures to meet their needs.

The event came to a conclusion after examining young workers’ job quality, wellbeing and sharing of good practices to protect the health and safety of young people in the workplace.