3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market
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Youth employment is a constant concern for public authorities, especially as entering employment encourages independence for young people. According to the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), in the second quarter of 2022, the unemployment rate in France was 7.3%, 0.7 points lower than in 2021. The unemployment rate for the under-25s is 18.3%, an increase of 0.3 points compared to 2021 but below the pre-covid-19 level (-3.3 points).
The challenges involved include reducing numbers of young jobseekers, in particular by reducing existing disparities between young people with few qualifications, those from disadvantaged urban districts and young graduates, and by taking prior action to remove the obstacles to professional integration met with along school and university pathways as well as in young people’s everyday lives.
In order to reduce unemployment among the least qualified and to boost long-term employability, several measures have been implemented or organised, especially to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impacts.
“Employment” schemes for young people finding professional integration difficult because of their social situations.
- The Skills Investment Plan (PIC)
See 3.3. Skills forecasting
The Youth Commitment Contract and the broken Youth Commitment Contract
The Youth Commitment Contract, which replaces the Youth Guarantee from March 2022, is part of the European "Youth Guarantee".
The European Guarantee aims to offer all NEETs under 25 years of age a professional integration solution (apprenticeship or internship, job, training, studies). In October 2022, the European Social Fund + (ESF+) presented its national programme "Inclusion, Youth, Employment and Skills", and foresees the financing of the priority "professional integration of young people and support for educational success" up to 1,053 million euros (including a central component of 380 million euros).
The "Youth Commitment Contract" pursues these objectives. At the end of October 2022, 225 400 youth commitment contracts (excluding renewals) had been registered since the scheme began in March 2022.
It offers a personalised support programme lasting 6 to 12 months, provided by the Pôle or local missions. The CEJ includes a weekly programme of 15 to 20 hours and can give rise to an allowance of up to 500 euros per month depending on the young person's resources.
This contract offers young people several weekly activities such as civic service, pre-qualifying or qualifying training, group workshops with other young people and work placements/immersions in companies.
The structures accompanying the young person in the various activities are selected during annual calls for projects. This scheme has a "young people in difficulty" component, for which specific structures are also selected.
The 2022 national call for projects, conducted by the Civic Service Agency, ended on 31 October 2022. It then gives rise to a regional selection process led by the decentralised youth and sports departments.
The Ministries in charge of Employment and Youth are co-financing the 2022 call for projects to the tune of 15 million euros.
Course within an EPIDE (Établissement Pour l'Insertion dans l'Emploi)
The EPIDE is a public administrative establishment whose mission is to support young people who are far from employment in their social and professional project through an adapted and individualised course.
The EPIDE is aimed at young people aged 17 to 25, without a diploma, without qualifications or in the process of being marginalised. EPIDE takes care of young people in a military-inspired framework. Within the EPIDE, they receive free training in a boarding school. They have a special status and sign an 8-month voluntary integration contract. The average duration of the contracts is 10 months and they cannot be extended beyond 24 months. The young people receive a monthly allowance of 210 euros.
Second chance schools, E2c
The E2Cs enable young people to join a training programme in which work-linked training plays a major role, thus facilitating their access to employment or the pursuit of a qualification.
The concept of "second chance schools" took shape under the impetus of European work. This concept of a second chance in education was included in the White Paper "Teaching and Learning, Towards the Learning Society", presented in December 1995 at the Madrid summit of heads of state and government.
In France, the first E2Cs were opened in 1998 in Marseille and Mulhouse. The first E2C in the Ile-de-France region was set up in Seine Saint-Denis in 2002. The E2C of Champagne-Ardenne was also created in 2002.
After the development of new E2Cs (Midi-Pyrénées, Ile-de-France/Essonne), the E2C Network was created to support the development of the schools and to guarantee compliance with the certification and labelling process.
There are a total of 54 schools spread over 135 sites, and schools may have several sites. The E2Cs are located in 12 regions and 63 departments and are present in 5 overseas regions.
The E2Cs take in 14,000 young people a year and employ 1,200 people, i.e. one FTE for every 13 young people.
Service Militaire Adapté (SMA – Adapted military service) is under the aegis of the ministry in charge of overseas French territories. It is a military scheme for socio-professional integration designed for young people 18-26 y/o who are the furthest removed from the world of work in Overseas France. Lasting for six to eight months and renewable, such service is attested by obtainment of certificate of professional aptitude (CAPI certificat d’aptitude personnelle à l’insertion ). Young people concerned have the status of army volunteers and receive military mentoring that includes training in interpersonal skills in professional environments, “second-chance” education leading to acquisition of basic knowledge, and a qualifying training programme.
In addition to these recurring measures, emergency measures to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis have been taken by the French government to help young people as part of the “1 jeune 1 solution” (A solution for every young person) plan that was presented in July 2020.
The “1 jeune, 1 solution” plan
The Covid-19 health crisis has limited young people's access to the labour market and made their education and training more difficult. In order to limit the negative effects of the crisis, the government has drawn up the "1 jeune, 1 solution" plan, which aims to support young people aged 16-25 as they emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, the economic and social consequences of which are having a greater impact on young people. The plan was funded by 9 billion euros from the France Relance plan.
The plan largely focuses on getting young people into work and its measures based on three axes:
- Helping young people get a foot on the career ladder
- Guiding and training 200,000 young people for the industries and professions of the future
- Supporting young people who are not in the workforce by creating 300,000 customised paths for integration.
The “1 young person, 1 solution” plan brings together the Ministries of Labour, Employment, Vocational Training and Integration, National Education, Youth and Sports, as well as the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. Its development and implementation are based on cross-disciplinary and collaborative work, particularly between ministries and institutional actors in employment (social partners, public service for employment, state services in the territories, associations for youth and apprentices, associations for representing local elected representatives, etc.).
Institutional actors for professional integration have put in place measures that enable an easier and more stable professional transition. However, the measures are not aimed specifically at young people, although they are also accessible to this age group. For example, the “right to professional training”, which comes under the law on secure employment of 14 June 2013 and necessitates the creation of a professional training account (CPF) that stays with the employee for their entire life or the council for professional development (CEP), a free and personalised support measure open to everyone who wants to review their professional situation.
Furthermore, the measures in the skills investment plan (see Measures for employing young people) aim to reduce unemployment for under-qualified young people and enable their long-term social inclusion. The regional implementation of this plan rests on the signing of regional agreements for skills investment between the State and regions for the 2018-2022 period. Some agreements expand on testing new practices, such as training in workplace situations or the introduction of virtual reality in teaching modules that are adapted to situations relevant to young people.
In order to facilitate young peoples’ professional integration, measures have been introduced that aim to reconcile their professional and home lives, covering the fields of accommodation, healthcare and family life, and including:
- The guarantee Visale is a public scheme that allows students, without conditions of resources, to obtain a free rental deposit for any type of housing.
- Day nurseries to aid professional integration (Crèches à vocation d’insertion professionnelle), which provide support and childminding facilities, in particular for single mothers and parents who need time to look for employment;
- Young workers (“Jeunes travailleurs”) hostels: residences that rent out rooms to young people 16-25 (sometimes 30) y/o, in particular those in training programmes (apprenticeships, work/study or traineeships) and salaried students, those who are working their first (CDD/CDI) jobs or are looking for work following completion of their studies. The FJTs are run by the National Union for Youth Housing (UNHAJ). They are financed, in particular, by the Caisse d'Allocations familiales. There will be 45,000 FJT-labelled accommodation units in France by the beginning of 2022;
- Introduction of a gap year (année de césure), which allows students to suspend their studies for a period of between 6 months and a year in order to gain personal, professional or volunteer experience in France or abroad. Such “break” years contribute to maturation of career choices, personal development and acquisition of new skills.
Dedicated loan funding for vocational training for the State is included in the finance laws (cf. Glossary) in programmes 102 “Access and return to work” and 103 “Supporting economic change and job development” that aim to “develop skills, especially for long-term jobseekers and young people without qualifications, to facilitate their access to jobs and to encourage growth that creates jobs”. The Finance law for 2023 presents the objective "Building a skills society".
As an indication, the skills investment plan (PIC) was given almost €14 billion over the 2018-2022 period. Its financing for the year 2023 will be taken from the 20.9 billion euros of the finance law for the "labour and employment" mission.
Source : Loi n° 2022-1726 du 30 décembre 2022 de finances pour 2023, Travail et emploi
France is also using European schemes to support its national employment policies : the Youth Employment Initiative one of the main EU financial resources to support the implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes (That is the Guarantee for youth) and the European Social Fund an another financial instrument for supporting jobs.
For the period 2021-2027, the European social fund becomes the "European social fund +", it includes the initiative for youth employment and aid to the most disadvantaged (EDF). The envelope for France amounts to 6.7 billion euros.
Source : https://www.europe-en-france.gouv.fr/fr/fonds-europeens/fonds-social-europeen-FSE
Checks and evaluations of the quality of employment measures, such as the “Youth commitment contract”, can be carried out by observatories, academic laboratories and study centres, as well as ministerial statistical departments: INSEE, the internal statistical department for the National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education (INJEP) or the Department for the Organisation of Research, Studies and Statistics (DARES).
The Ministry of Labour has its own statistics division, the Department for the Organisation of Research, Studies and Statistics (DARES).
The DARES publications are based on an annual programme that works in tandem with administrations, study and research institutes and providers concerned with employment. One of the topics of the study is “training and integration for young people”, for which DARES produces statistical analyses on the integration measures for young people and publishes an annual report on the current situation for young people aged 15 to 29 years old on the job market.
DARES coordinates the evaluation of the "Youth commitlent contract” and evaluates measures aimed at supporting the development of apprenticeships.
In addition, it evaluates and estimates the impacts of policies to integrate young people into employment in partnership with other government statistical departments, including the Directorate for Evaluation, Planning and Performance (DEPP) in the Ministry of National Education, as well as the statistical departments of DIRRECTE (Department for Studies, Statistics and Evaluation, SESE) that it coordinates and that in turn conduct studies on public policy on employment and integration on a regional scale.
In addition to DARES and Pôle emploi, many other actors participate in the evaluation of youth employment policies, among which we can cite the work of the CREST.
CREST, the Center for Research in Economics and Statistics, which is answerable to INSEE, is a laboratory for which one of the research topics is employment and integration for young people. It carries out randomised evaluations and contributes to producing evidence-based evaluations. The evaluation laboratory maintains strong relationships with INSEE, the network of ministerial statistical departments, such as DARES, and public bodies such as the Pôle emploi. It has recently published a report on “strengthened support for young graduates” and “the impact of anonymous CVs”. When looking at the economic laboratories that contribute to measuring the effects of employment policies aimed at young people, the role of CEREQ (Centre for Studies and Research on Qualifications), a public research body that studies questions related to advice, vocational training, integration and occupations, must be highlighted.