A comparative analysis and competences model




 A comparative analysis to exchange practices, to recognize and validate competences of social and educational professional

Competences of socio educational operators and training scenarios

Competences model for professionals

Strategic skills of socio-educational operators, vocational guidance counsellors and NEETs

A comparative analysis to exchange practices, to recognize and validate competences of social and educational professional


An ambitious goal aims this first output of CoMWork Exchanging practices for recognize and validate competences of social and educational professionals: a comparative report on strategic non-formal and informal competences of social and educational professionals.

On one hand, it reports the most significant recount of information and analysis gathered by teams on the field in different countries, on other hand it is also meant to elaborate common criteria to define the validation and qualification of the strategic competences for social and educational operators.

Common work, CoMWork, started with partners discussing the main issues outlining the research’s schemes of reference. Afterwards, they have been debating the problem of qualification transparency in a European context and the concepts of competences, and the role this concept can play in the innovation of training patterns and national’s guidelines for evaluations.

Through the theoretical framework, partners could exchange opinions and experiences about the NEET situation in their own countries and in Europe.

The building of a common proposal first needed to intercept other’s views and experiences in each context, so a template[1] has been created to involve national experts and socio-educational operators, in order to set off from the beginning the contributions of the main beneficiaries of the project.

Aware of the considerable organizational differences between countries as Bulgaria, Italy, Spain and Portugal, whether about the role of socio-educational services or about their organization, it has been decided only to suggest the procedures to meet the protagonists and not to standardize them.

Thus, each team organized the meetings with 5 key actors and 20 socio-educational operators in the country following the procedures they felt more appropriate.

A focus group with Italy and Spain’s operators took place, while in Spain and Portugal group-meetings were preferred. The reporting has been possible thanks to the enriching face-to-face encounters between partners, during the transnational meetings, too.

All along the whole process, from the Theoretical Framework, to the National Researches until the Comparative Report, teams have been involved in a continuous debate, comparing and co-evaluating to address finally some critical issues, which from the beginning have revealed the complexity of this research and of an appropriate action.

The following report highlights the core of the qualitative comparison between the four national researches with the idea to enhancing collaborative work and open new practices in the light of the collaborations, on the bases of the new findings and testimonies of the different primary actors.

A collective discussion

Taking into consideration the ECA’s Special Report n.3/2015[3] about the structural obstacles hindering the program, here we present few excerpt from interviews with responsible of labour services, training and guidance centre from Bulgaria, Italy, Spain and Portugal: “There are not two separate educational systems. Formal education and informal education are two inseparable parts (elements) of the educational system. Realizing this connection (rather that differentiating or opposing one to the other) is one of the factors, which may affect the dissemination of this phenomenon. This lack of a clear purpose, demotivation for success, and failure to engage (inaction) in young people can be overcome if they are presented with opportunities to make choices that would give meaning to their life. Each action of personal value, which is considered as such by the person, may affect the behaviour of the person in a positive way. One of these opportunities is the validation of competencies acquired through informal learning and self-learning.”

“The current profile of the social service employee is suitable, but it may be improved with modern and innovative approaches for communication, motivation, continued support, and support in time of transition (from kindergarten to school, from primary school to secondary school, and from school to employment), in a situation of crisis, or a new situation.”

“The employment services are not an example for young people. They are general services. Young people do not use them. There should be a reformulation regarding the behaviour of this collective: these services are not attractive for young people with low levels of education; these services are basic for those with higher levels of education. There should be reinforcement on a good academic dossier, or this collective should achieve compulsory education to start an individualized itinerary for the incorporation in the labour market.”

During the comparison phase with the 80 socio-educational operators, if on the one hand, we focused on their way of describing the phenomenon (of NEET); on the other hand, we stimulated reflections about what competences that can be activated, those that needed to be improved, and about the real capacity of services agencies to react appropriately.

Even in the considerations expressed by the socio-educational professionals it is possible to trace out common points for the four countries.

“The suitability of professional profiles is not so much the professional profile per se but the acquisition of other skills and sensibilities towards the collective. In some cases, depending on the project or the NEET’s profile, the empathy and closeness with the collective is more valued than a previous formal training, since the methodological tools can be acquired through other paths.”

“Also, the projects should have continuity; stops, because of problems with funding, damage the relation with young people, eliminating the idea of mentor or model. It could also be interesting the encouragement of mentoring with young NEETS who have been in that situation and they have found a way to leave it.”

“I think the critical point is to establish a relationship between training and work, for example, to follow the German school-work model, or a training to obtain the first educational level in order to integrate young people in the labour market (although in alternation). A new approach should permit to acquire the necessary knowledge to be skilled for the job market at the end of the training”.

“The classical strategies (interviews, interventions in the classroom, lectures) are no longer entirely appropriate for engaging with young people, especially if there is a significant age gap between operators and » potential NEET, limiting the capacity of dialogue. Perhaps using “peers”, presenting their experiences with their language, could represent a possible strategy, or even with a reference “adult” operator, but less “structured” and flexible in the report”.

Many of the professionals involved insist over a cross-disciplinary approach, and they request changes in the education and training and updating supply.

A complex target: NEET and/or NET?

In trying to define the target, we faced some difficulties related to the nuances of the term. What we would now like to explain is the principal objective of CoMWork to form Learning Units, which will be able to give strategic skills to young socio-educational operators, to activate projects for the NEET. Such objective demands to sharpen the view of the NEET phenomenon, that keeps growing in many European Countries and whose characteristics supersede the traditional categories of as the “social disadvantaged” interpretation.

From the CoMWork Theoretical Framework: “At this point it is worth proposing a reading of the ‘status’ no longer from multiple negatives (not-not) but by statements. Moreover, this means that in the reading of the problem variables come into play not only as a result of the economic crisis but as a result of also educational, social, political factors. Youth unemployment and inactivity are both particularly worrisome, given their permanent effects on employability and future productivity of the persons concerned. The current divergence of the youth unemployment rate is likely to fuel a difference even more pronounced, in the long run, of socio-economic fundamentals both in monetary union and in the EU.”

The comparative work leads to new points of reflection, as we can read in the Italian Report: “… an operator that provides guidance to the work of young people in socio-educational nature argues: “in my opinion there is no such clear-cut classification of young people who are considered N.E.E.T. According to my experience, it is not a “class”; it is a period of transition, “stalemate”, between one experience (e.g. training or work) and another, so it’s not a “homogeneous group” but life stages of individual people”. Another operator, who works in more traditional job guidance and who is also working in the frame of “Youth guarantee”, stresses in a provocative way: “The category is totally invented; it is a rhetorical category that probably serves to justify the shifting of the responsibility for the problem outside the system, placing it in the motivation and inability to take action. A problem that is internal to the system in the labour market”.

The comparative views in the Reports emphasize how describing NEET by negations (not/not) turns out to be useful to measure statistically the phenomenon, but it does not add anything to help understanding their situation.

CoMWork, gathering feedback and experiences from those professionals who are called to plan services and take actions, helps in focusing all the aspects of the phenomenon and helps to consider it through many different perspectives.

The territorial government point of view over the NEET says:

  • They substantially match with the group of individuals who have abandoned or have been rejected by schools or in the best scenario, those who achieve the basic grade of education, but did not continue afterwards. On a larger scale, it represents a layer of society with little, or in extreme cases, no education.
  • They are selected by their ability to study, their job and training more than their professional and/or scholar curriculum. From this perspective, they are classed in two groups: “pure” and “smart”, both of them are NEET. The first category designate those who have a resigned, passive attitude, presenting a social “scotomization[4]; the second category instead concern those who acquired a greater knowledge and are generally more motivated, they properly use technology to accomplish their goals and they are more flexible in the work market.

The NEET seen from the front-office operators:

  • They are cropped, not well identified, they are represented by a temporal condition, the sum of phases in personal lives or at least defined as an “archipelago of notched islands”;
  • They are a “false category”, a “rhetorical definition”, “a label for a functional stigmatization in order to hide the real problem”, that is the lack of vision in work-policies and the distortion of economy politics.

This “cropping” of the image by the operators induce less ability to act properly and it disqualifies the competences. That is way it has been a crucial point in our research.

For the utility of the project, we thought to keep the division in “pure” NEET and “smart” NEET.

Then we focused the attention over the first category, the “pure” ones; we analysed which competences and skills where expected from them by the operators, and those expected by them from the operators who are designed to tutor them in the process towards autonomy.

To accept and introduce this distinction underlines how the NEED definition involves various generations (15-29), and between those, we can find the first “digital generation”.

The employment of digital technologies as pedagogical tools at school, as well as in their free time and socialization spaces since a very early age surely have a strong anthropological and social impact we must take into consideration.

In our exploration, we adopted the domestication approach; according to it, media and people are a relation, not separated entities. In this key, we tried to set up a biography of a potential last beneficiary of CoMWork.

This approach – introduced by the Yankelovich Institut – schematically outlined few social categorisations, now currently used, as the distinction between “Matures” (born before 1945), “Boomers” (born between 1946 and 1964), and “X Generation” (born after 1964). To these generations afterwards has been added the “Y Generation” (born after 1980).

In this context, a generation is considered as a social segment where consumer’s attitudes and behaviours are coherent unified by a collective shared conscience.

More recently, sociologists talk of a “digital native generation” (Prensky, 2001a; Id., 2001b), also called “Net Generation” (Tapscott, 1998; Id., 2009): this to underline the special familiarity with new technologies peculiar to those who belong to the cohorts of the Millennials generation (born after 1985)[5].

Mentioning the term of “generation” introduce us directly at the complexity of elements and conditions which are generically resumed in the NEET definition. It could be that all this overlapping made slippery and confused to target and focus beneficiaries, even for socio-educational professionals.

The young Millennials actually represent the bigger generational gap, having experiences that are not familiars to past generations.

With the end of XIX century’s traditional narrations, the generational issue needs a new key to understanding: the crisis of the progress (development) ideology and the transition to a post-growth society give in some measure reason for the absence of conflicts, a peculiarity of the millennial generation. They are “politically apathetic” compared to traditional expectations, but they are very active in the life-style and consumer sphere.

Unsurprisingly, the “micro-narrations” as journals, blogs, and Facebook pages replace the past schemes, this is youth self-production, no more bounded to the private or limited social space, and it is something appearing now in the public sphere, thanks to affordability and simplicity of technologies and to the spread digital alphabetization. [6]

The Millennials, or Y Generation, have built a specific life-style, linked to the affirmation of new technologies permitting to improve speed, brevity, and density.

Moved by insatiable appetite for instantaneous gratifications and frequent rewards, (TrendWatching, 2006), living focused on the hic et nunc, Millennials are used to live in a “just in time” universe with immediate availability, where the slogan is “jump on chances”. In fact, Wired magazine coined the term “snack culture” to define this generation consumer’s behaviour: they are based on little bites of everything (sms, tweet, web-episodes, podcast, etc.), called to fill every day empty moments, as a snack (Miller, 2007).

According to the best researchers on the argument (Neil Howe and William Strauss), these are the distinctive features of this generation: they are all grown up with the idea of being special, born by adult parents very keen on parenting; they have always been protected from dangers, thanks to a light net of norms and prescriptions, structured occupations, all organised by over-protective parents; so they are trustful, satisfied of their life, optimistic about the future; they are good for team-work, thanks to new educational methods, which emphasize collaborative learning and egalitarianism; they strive for their professional goals, for which they are able to make long-term plans, but they live continuously under stress to accomplish their family’s expectations, believing that success come as a natural result of personal commitment; they respect norms and conventions, ready to accept everything that can strengthen the family link. The danger is to remain locked in a golden box, avoiding a real confrontation with the diversity of situations and cultural stimulations (Quaglizza, 2012, p.58).

Other studies[7] (cfr. Twenge, 2006) use another interpretation by incorporating a larger base and a different age categorization (those born between 1970 and 1999): in fact, the distinctive feature of this generation – called Generation Me- is the gap between their expectations and reality. Often treated as “little kings” when growing up, taught to always believe in themselves and always go for the best option, today’s 20 and 30 years olds have become “teenager-adults”, who are not adults yet, unsecure and narcissists, used to have unlimited aspirations and dreams, put to a severe test by the difficult economic situation and a job market more competitive than ever. Cynicism, the need of affection, anxiety and depression, seem to be the direct emotional result to their condition. Twenge explains as well that their economic situation influences their ecologic and civic sensibility, which is the opposite of the expected scenario formulated by sociologists for the Millennials generation (Quaglizza, 2012, p.61).

This is the context for CoMWork to offer an interpretation of the NEET phenomenon as a social and economic status, cross-cutting different generations (each one owner of different languages, experiences, aspirations) and to address the attention to a better-known segment: the Net/NEET youth.

We could find some common traits to confirm the distinction in pure and smart NEET, even if not so precise as willed to be.

From the analysis and comparison between the four countries, we could see how this typology has been the target of important interventions in the UE area.

The transition from Net to NEET is all in some assumptions, ontologically included in its birth: in the absence of a constructive dialectic from our social system, in the deafness of educational systems, in the inadequacy of family’s contexts confronted to big changes and less financial resources. The dialogue with them was closed, institutions refused to discuss, keeping applying unsuitable categories.

In this way, a distance is created and discourage takes place. Young people lose the capacity of long-term planning, and their visions become confused.

That is probably why an operator (inside the focus group) says: “Working with NEET is going upstream the river like salmon, or it is like composing a puzzle with many pieces. Working with the static and the confidence in the world of education and work but also with the strength to listen that often schools, companies and institutions to the difficulties of young people often it raises operators faced with a sense of helplessness and worthlessness. An experience that concerns probably more so those who work in guidance to the work by competing with a mandate which is to effect integration and not only the motivation / activation of the boy.

The theme of the projects and the future seems to return in the words of this educator that during the focus tells us: “There is one thing that scares me a lot, is that the size of the dream for some kids there, there is no future, you can do any project of life … but he at most plans tonight with who comes out.”

Taking dreams serious should be an appropriate challenge for operators trying to discover a vital link with NEET and not just looking for job or training in a narrow meaning.

About numbers and their tender shell

“Numbers and life diverge, a case is not a person. Numbers give data over life, and they cannot give interpretation and contextualisation. They give indications over that safety that we lost, over a widespread misery, but unities are not rebuilt and isolation is not broken”

(Urlich Beck)

Even if, as Beck says “numbers and life diverge”, to carry out a description of the NEET phenomenon in the four partner countries (Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal and Spain), it is essential to make use of numeral indicators, despite many problems due to the differences of legislations, educational and work politics, as well as in the welfare system established in the various countries analysed.

If transition moments increase, an excess of opportunities and episodes can become a factor of greater inequalities, especially as far as the capacity and the medium necessary to individuals to manage these passages is concerned.

Rising unemployment

The EU’s job market was severely hit by the economic and financial crisis, which, since 2008, increased unemployment in Europe, the only exception being Germany. Between 2008 and 2013 the unemployment rate augmented by 56.5 % in the UE28 (from 16 million and 741 thousands in 2008, to 26 million 200 thousands in 2013, this means +9 million 460 thousands units).

This has caused the unemployment rate to increase from 7.1 in 2008 to 10.8% in 2013. Even though this is a phenomenon present in the whole of Europe, the number of unemployed has doubled in the larger southern states such as Spain (26.5%) and Greece (27.3%), where unemployment rate attain 25% (Fig. 1).

It affects also Bulgaria (13%), Portugal (16.5%), and Italy, where the unemployment rate is 12.2 % (5.4 points higher than in 2008), with a big increase mainly in the southern regions where it can go as far as 19.7% which is one of Europe’s highest rate after Greece and Spain.

Picture 1 (%)



Spain 26.1 25.6 26.7
Portugal 16.5 16.4 16.6
Bulgaria 13.0 13.9 11.8
Italy 12.2 11.5 13.1
UE28 10.8 10.8 10.8

Source: Eurostat, Labour force survey (2013)

What makes this situation worse in the increase of the long duration unemployment rate. The ongoing lack of work is not only a considerable social problem, but also a worrying example of the job market’s distortion. The rise of the unemployment rate concerns every EU country (the average UE rate being 47.5%), with an increase of nearly 3% in 2015 over 2012. Slovakia has the highest rate 70.2%, however, between the seven countries having more than 50% of the total unemployed individuals, we can find Bulgaria (57.3%), Italy (56.9%) and Portugal (56.3%), while Spain is ninth with 49.7%, and Sweden remains the only country in Europe whose rate still remains below 20% (18.5%).

Eurostat’s[8] annual Report highlights that in 2015, the EU unemployment rate continued to fall, to 9.4 %, and was at its lowest since 2010. This was the second year in a row with a markedly diminished rate. Regarding unemployment, the crisis, which started at the end of 2008, peaked at the beginning of 2013. There are, however, large differences between the countries; some have returned to or even improved on their pre-crisis levels, others have stabilised at much higher rates, and yet others show little or no effects from the crisis. There are also improvements in the employment rate, which stood at 70.1 % in 2015. This is the second best annual result since the start of the data series in 1995.

The EU annual average unemployment rate was 9.4 % in 2015, and 10.9 in the euro area. For the EU Member States, the levels ranged from 4.6 % in Germany to 24.9 % in Greece.

Some relevant elements of the situation for all countries in 2015 are the following: Germany clearly stands out as the Member State with the lowest unemployment, joined by the non-member states Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. The following group (5.0 % to 7.4 %) includes the United Kingdom as the largest economy, as well as a continuous corridor of the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and Romania on one side, a Scandinavian / Baltic cluster of Sweden, Denmark, and Estonia on another, as well as the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Four of the eight countries having unemployment rates from 7.5 % to 9.9 % form a northeastern group, from Poland through most of the Baltic, and into Finland. Joining them, in a more scattered fashion, are Belgium, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Ireland. France and Italy form the core of the 10.0 % – 14.9 % group, which also includes Slovakia, Portugal, and Turkey. The highest unemployment rates were recorded in Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Over high rate of unemployment and the difficulty to get in to the labour market

Crisis implements youth unemployment – more vulnerable in relation to market transformation – than adults; reducing opportunity for young people to become independent and exposing a large number of them to the risk of social exclusion. Youth unemployment rate in the UE28 attains 23.3%, with sensible differences between countries: youth condition looks especially critical in Greece, (57.3%), followed by Spain (55.5%) Croatia and Italy (40%).

Slovakia and Bulgaria are placed at the eighth place, with 28.4% of unemployment, just before Cyprus and Portugal (37.7%).

Young male’s rate unemployment in UE28 reaches 24.0% and female is attested to 22.6%, but for Greek, Spanish and Italian young women the situation is much worst, being attested respectively to 64.2%, 54.6 % e 41.4% (fig. 2).

Figure 2 (%)



Spain 55.5 56.2 54.6
Italy 40.0 39.0 41.4
Portugal 37.7 36.3 39.3
Bulgaria 28.4 30.2 25.7
UE28 23.3 24.0 22.6

Source: Labour force survey (2013)

Eurostat’s 2015 annual Report[9] highlights very well as regarding youth unemployment, a very common misunderstanding is that a 40% youth unemployment rate means that 40% of all persons aged 15-24 are unemployed. This is incorrect because the youth unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed persons aged 15–24 divided by the economically active population for the same age group. A large proportion of persons 15-24 are in education, i.e., not economically active, as opposed to older persons, who for the most part are no longer in education, and to a large extent have a job. The unemployment rate is calculated in the same way regardless of the age group, but this misunderstanding has a larger effect when looking at the younger age groups, for the reason just mentioned.[1] This is why Figure 4 contains both the unemployment rate and the unemployment ratio.

The youth unemployment rate is at a two-digit level in all Member States, except Germany. The lower end of the scale (10.0 % to 14.9 %) includes the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, and the United Kingdom. In contrast, Greece, Spain, Croatia, and Italy have the highest rates. This is a pattern, which closely resembles the overall unemployment rate, but the rates are higher for younger persons than for the total averages. Young persons are more exposed to unemployment than older persons are, but the situation is the opposite regarding the length of the unemployment spell.

Considering the unemployment ratio instead, a part of the differences between the countries disappears. While the highest unemployment rate (49.8 % for Greece) is almost seven times higher than the lowest unemployment rate (7.2 % for Germany), this measurement shrinks to slightly above four times for the unemployment ratio (16.8 % for Spain and 4.1 % for the Czech Republic).

Young NEET in numbers

In the OCSE community there are 39 millions of young aged between 16 and 29 who, in 2013 did not have a job and neither were following some kind of studies or training, 5 million more than pre-2008. Another worrying aspect is that nearly 20 million young NEET that is about half of them, are not included in any educational or formative system, and they do not look for a job.

figures are especially high in the southern States of Europe, where the crisis hit harder: Greece at first (28.9%), then Italy (26%) , where the percentage of NEETs is signally higher than the UE28’s average (15.9%); also in Bulgaria (25.7%) and Spain (22.5) the situation is not encouraging, while Portugal performs a bit better (16.7%). Women are particularly involved in this phenomenon (they represent 17.7 % compared to 14.1% for men) and about half of NEET people are looking for a job, with peaks over 70 % in Greece, Spain and Portugal (fig. 3).

Figure 3 (%)



Italy 26.0 24.4 27.7
Bulgaria 25.7 23.8 27.8
Spain 22.5 22.8 22.1
Portugal 16.7 16.2 17.2
UE28 15.9 14.1 17.7

Source: Labour force survey (2013)

Like the rest of Europe, where unemployed and inactive are equally divided in the NEET rate of the segment aged 15-29, in Italy inactive NEETs are predominant, with a peak during the economic crisis. This data about young Italians is often explained with the “discouragement factor” (see below), linked with the difficulty to find a job. It represents a vicious circle, because reaching 25 years old lacking of any work experience, even if actively searched, means living in a condition of frustration, which grows up with time and may become chronic and cause the exit from the labour market.

Eurostat published in August 2016 the study “Education, employment, both or neither? What are young people doing in the UE?”[10], in preparation of the International Youth Day about unemployment affecting young people.

The research is targeted on 20-24 old people and is particularly interesting for COMWORK .

Italy has the highest rate of NEETS: 31% of them between 20 and 24, after Greece (26.1%), Croatia (24.2%), Romania (24.1%), Bulgaria (24.0%), Spain and e Cyprus (both 22.2%).

The narrow rate of NEET is in Holland (7.2%), Luxemburg (8.8%), Denmark, Germany and Sweden (9.3%), Malta and Austria (9.8%), Czech Republic (10.8%).

During the crisis, Italy experienced the strongest increase, rising from 21.6% to 31.1%, +9.5 percentage points. Greece reached +9.3, followed by Spain with +9, Cyprus with + 8.5% and Ireland with +7.8. These countries have had to ask for financial assistance programs. Germany is rather the country in which NEETs have fallen more in the last 10 years (down from 15.2% in 2006 to 9.3% in 2015, i.e. -5.9 points).

At EU level, in 2015 there were almost 5 million the young people between 20 and 24 years (17.3%) who have neither worked nor studied, nor were formed.

In the EU, young people between 15 and 29 represent 17% of the population. The data of the Italian NEET has increased by almost 50% in 10 years: in 2006, it was 21.6%. Throughout the EU, Eurostat data indicates dividing young people into three groups of five years each (15-19, 20-24, 25-29 years). In the 15-19 years slot, 78.5% focuses on studying, 11.3% work and study, 3.7% work, the NEETs are 6.3%. Between 20-24 years, 33% study, 16.9% work and study, 32.6% work, the NEETs rises to 17.3%. Between 25-29 years 8.2% still studied, 13.5% work and study, 58.5% work but the NEETs rise again to 19.2%.

Having in the productive system a waste catchment area of young labour supply, in the productive system, often not exploited or under-exploited, gives a perception of insecurity over the future, the anxiety of making choices and planning, and all this leads to the high risks of wasting the investments States dedicated on education and training.

The discouraged

High number of potentially employable people (non-participation rate) suggests the persistence of discouraging mechanisms, depressing the access to the job market for wide ranks of population.

For example, during 2013 in Italy 3 million 91 thousand of unemployed wanted to work but they did not look for it. A big percentage of them, 46.2%, are “discouraged”: they claim they are not looking for a job because they think there is none.

Such data can be very important for those countries characterized by a high rate of people not actively looking for job, consequently they are not registered at the unemployment service and they do not appear in statistics.

In the UE28 zone the average of non-participation is 14.1%, the lower rate being in Germany (6.5%), the higher one in Spain (29.6%), and Italy is at the fourth place with a percentage of 21.7%., after Greece and Croatia. In the European average, women come first with respect to men (14.9% comparing to 13.4%), with a sensible difference between Greece and Italy, where about a quarter of the female population interested to work has no occupation. Conversely, in Bulgaria the male’s indicator is decisively higher than the woman’s one (fig.4).

Figure 4: Non-participation rate in percentage for the population aged 15-74, by gender and country



Spain 29.6 27.8 31.6
Italy 21.7 18.3 26.1
Portugal 20.7 19.9 21.5
Bulgaria 19.0 20.1 17.8
UE28 14.1 13.4 14.9

Source: Labour force survey (2013)

Operators have to confront themselves with dreams and discouragement as two important dimensions of the NEET phenomenon, of course keeping in mind the structural dimension of the problem. They have to provide young people not just with technical training and information but also with reflexivity, as the capacity to understand their failures and insecurity in relation with the big transformation of society

[1] Al CoMWork intellectual outputs are published in different languages on the project website: http://comworkproject.org/ and on the European dissemination platform Erasmus+ Project Results: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/projects/

[2] The Youth Guarantee is a new approach to tackling youth unemployment which ensures that all young people under 25 – whether registered with employment services or not – get a good-quality, concrete offer within 4 months of them leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The good-quality offer should be for a job, apprenticeship, traineeship, or continued education and be adapted to each individual need and situation. EU countries endorsed the principle of the Youth Guarantee in April 2013.

[3] Special Relations n. 3/2015: http://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/SR15_03/SR15_03_EN.pdf

[4] In psychology, the term indicates the unconscious mental operation, through which a subject occults or excludes from its consciousness or memory a painful or disturbing event or memory.

[5] Quaglizza G., Generazione Facebook, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2012

[6] Colombo F. (2012). Come eravamo. Il ruolo dei media nell’identità generazionale. In: Colombo F., Boccia Artieri G., Del Grosso Destreri L., Pasquali F. e Sorice M., Media e generazioni nella società italiana (pp. 13-32). Milano: FrancoAngeli.

[7] Twenge, J.M. (2006). Generation Me: Why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled—and more miserable than ever before. New York: Free Press.

[8] For more details: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Labour_market_and_Labour_force_survey_(LFS)_statistics#Unemployment

[9] For more details: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Labour_market_and_Labour_force_survey_(LFS)_statistics#Unemployment

[10] For more details: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/7590616/3-11082016-AP-EN.pdf/c0393ef3-2ea1-455a-ab64-2271c41fd9d4