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According to the data of the Central Statistical Bureau, there were on average 250 thousand young people at the age from 13 to 25 in Latvia in 2017.
The employment rate of young people aged 15–24 has increased in recent years, and it reached 34.5% in 2015 (EUROSTAT).
The unemployment rate of young people aged 15–24 has decreased in recent years, and it reached 16.3% in 2015 (EUROSTAT).
In Latvia, 50 thousand young people at the age of 15–29 on average were not in education, employment and training (hereinafter referred to as NEETs) in 2015, which is by 7 thousand or 13% less than in the previous year, 20 thousand of them were at the age of 15–24. Approximately 56% of all NEETs are actively looking for a job. (data from “Progress Report on Youth Guarantee Implementation 2016”, sent by the MoW, currently not published).
One of the main reasons of the high level of unemployment among youth is level of education that is insufficient for the labour market. According to Eurostat data regarding 2014, the difference between the unemployment rate of young people with higher education and young people with general secondary or lower education in Latvia may be up to 200% (15.3% and 29.4% accordingly).
Low level of education contributes to vulnerability of those young people in the labour market and increases the risk of discrimination. Current experience of the Employment State Agency (hereinafter also referred to as the SEA) and the State Labour Inspectorate shows that young people with basic education often are not familiar with aspects of the employment legal relationships, thus they are more exposed to the risk of undeclared employment.
The unemployed young people, who have acquired education or qualification, frequently lack work experience of good quality that is required in the labour market and often also the basic skills required in the labour market (communication, computer literacy, language skills, etc.). Not all young people have job-seeking skills and information about the skills, professions and vacancies required in the labour market.
In Latvia, like in other Member States of the European Union, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport “Erasmus+” is being implemented from 2014 until 2020. The aim of the programme is to overcome the socio-economic crisis that impacts European countries, to boost growth and create workplaces, as well as to promote social equality and inclusion. In order to reach the aim, the participants of the programme are offered the opportunity to improve and strengthen the current systems in the area of education, training and youth, to develop skills of the project participants that are requested in the labour market and competitive economy. One of the Erasmus+ tasks in the context of entrepreneurship and employment is to support socio-economic change management and solution of major issues that are targeted at the growth and creation of workplaces. Reducing of the growing unemployment rate, especially among young people, has become one of the most urgent tasks for the governments of European countries. Too many young people leave school early thus exposing themselves to high unemployment and social exclusion risks. Many adults, who have low-level skills, are exposed to the same risk.
The following lines of action are developed in the Youth Policy Implementation Plan for 2016 – 2020: environment, participation and personal development.
The following tasks to be performed in the next few years in the field of employment and entrepreneurship have been determined for the line of action “Citizenship Improvement”:
1. to improve and provide for an accessible financial, methodological and informative support mechanism for young people who wish to start commercial activity;
2. to ensure career support for young people, with the help of which it would be possible to determine the future profession most appropriate for the interests and abilities of a child and young person already at an early stage of development.
The National Development Plan for 2014–2020 sets “Human Securitability” as a priority – promotion of youth employment, providing young people with high-quality education and access to non-formal education, participation and involvement of young people, promotion of healthy lifestyle among youth, social inclusion.