AN EXAMPLE OF INTERVIEW – THE YOUTH GUARANTEE PROGRAM DIRECTOR IN PORTUGAL
Vitor Moura Pinheiro
The interview with Victor Moura Pinheiro (VMP), Executive Director of the Youth Guarantee Program, addressed five main points:
- The relationship between the Youth Warranty program and the NEET situations;
- The opinion on the situation of NEETs and the causes that are in its origin;
- The activities of the actors and their skills;
- Validation of the Youth Permanent Observatory Report;
- Invitation to accompany the Comwork process.
About the part 1., to better understand the functioning of the Youth Guarantee program certain concepts were clarified and some references detailed related to youth unemployment, as follows:
- a) there is (i) migration of young people to several countries, but there are also new residents in Portugal, from other countries that create companies and even appear in the news (see the FORBES and some Start – ups in Lisbon and Braga);
- b) the concept of unemployed includes several situations like not having a job, but also young people who are not able to take up a job or who are not available (some have a kind of support activities to their family that could be considered employment);
– In Portugal, the harmony between the Youth Guarantee Program and young people in NEET situation is total. Low qualifications and early school leaving (17%) remain central issues. The great difficulty is to handle the big pressure of the media on the unemployment of graduates and skilled workers, a situation that has a very negative impact promoting demotivation and linear thinking which translates into the question: continue to study what for?
– The Youth Guarantee is based on several pillars:
- a) help young people to make their planning (identifying opportunities, organizing their information.);
- b) close the gap of lack of necessary information, ie, inducing the need for information (the young person needs to know he needs it);
- c) combat the idle cycles (promote activities for this purpose – volunteership, etc.).
At the methodological level there should be proactive Dynamics: go after, searching, meeting … instead of waiting.
In this approach it is essential to create a good Partnership Network (there are currently over 800 partners with us). The network plays a central role in all global and local policy intervention.
The CPCJ Network asseures up to the age of 18 years the identification of many cases and works the situation of those who do not know if they need help or not.
Portugal has some differences with the other countries, specifically in the intervention up to 30 years and develops very specific nature of actions especially in the field of Marketing of Professions;
About NEET, a differentiation must be stated. Young people make their own choices, and these can not easily be countered, as in the case of those who opt for a passive attitude and sit waiting. Nevertheless, there are many others who adhere to proactive measures such as internships. There are sectors such as Tourism who need manpower and knowing that there is a mismatch between training and the needs of businesses, the willingness of young people to participate in offers of this kind is essential for raising of more consistent opportunities. Also in the Agrifood Industry, there have been identified needs that are not met by a conventional job offer.
Several developments in methodologies have been registered lately. Presently, training offers have in regard the participant life story. They don’t show a catalog of courses as the solution to people’s problems (solution is designed by the supply side). The logic is now more focused on a collaborative decision (technician – participant). It has been considered more consistently the fact that there are big numbers of dropouts from the training courses, precisely because there has not been a good matching between the expectations and desires of the young and the course that was proposed at a certain time.
There are several projects that can be considered successful. For example, the project of TESE (NGO) that encourages young people to make contact with concrete realities of the local business world is clearly indicative of modes of action open to the community that is alternative to attack the problem from the offices. In this context, we should value the skills of the actors related to the creation and management of networks and particularly of companies and organizations with economic activities. Another international experience is the CDI Committee for Democracy in Information Technology that mobilizes young people from a technological approach to learning initiatives that have an inclusive dimension in the social plan. It is a very rich experience in risk prevention of illiteracy, school dropout and lack of interest in future employment.
About the Permanent Observatory of the Youth report, we can say that it contains the essential characteristics of the NEET in Portugal. What the report sets out very clearly is that the approach to NEET situations can not and should not be limited to the issue of employment or to employability.