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In order to promote competitiveness of entrepreneurs, the policy for entrepreneurship and employment in Latvia is developed and implemented by the Ministry of Economics, however, the issues under the competency of the Ministry of Economics do not set apart youth entrepreneurship as a separate category of entrepreneurship. The Ministry of Economics specifies that the age for starting entrepreneurship in Latvia is 18 years.
As from the beginning of 2014, the Youth Guarantee programme is implemented in Latvia (information regarding the programme is available at jauniesugarantija.lv) to support NEETs. The Youth Guarantee is implemented in three directions in Latvia:
The Agency for International Programs for Youth (hereinafter referred to as the AIPY) will offer regular counselling and participation in skill development measures to the inactive young people aged 15–29 in cooperation with 119 local governments by implementing a programme of individual measures.
The State Education Development Agency (hereinafter referred to as the SEDA) will implement 12-month and 18-month vocational education programmes thus creating an opportunity to young people (aged 17–29) to acquire one of approximately 90 professions.
The SEA (State Employment Agency) will increase the number of implemented measures providing young people (aged 15–29) with information regarding work places available in Latvia, training programmes and skills necessary for work.
The aim of the Youth Guarantee is to promote the involvement of NEETs in the labour market or education. The target group of the Youth Guarantee is young people aged 15–29 (included) who are offered support in looking for a job, quality offer for acquiring further education, first work experience or a job (including education programmes, upon accomplishment of which a recognised professional qualification is acquired) within four months after registration in the State Employment Agency or submission of an application in an educational institution implementing 12-month or 18-month vocational education programmes depending on the skills acquired by the young person and their previous work experience.
The Youth Guarantee programme provides for a comprehensive approach to the inclusion of NEETs in the education system and labour market.
The policy for entrepreneurship and employment is developed and implemented by the Ministry of Economics, however, the issues under the competency of the Ministry of Economics do not set apart youth entrepreneurship as a separate category of entrepreneurship.
The main line ministries involved in the youth integration into the labour market or education system are the Ministry of Welfare (MoW) as the institution in charge of the national policy for decrease of unemployment and the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) as the institution in charge of the development of the national policy in the field of youth and education.
The MoW and the MoES are responsible for planning, supervision and assessment of implementation of the Youth Guarantee measures, and coordination of the cooperation with the national and regional partners, organizations and institutions involved. Educational institutions, social pedagogues and youth affairs specialists thereof, social services of local governments and representatives of non-governmental organisations constitute the first institutional stage that deals with the problems related to school absenteeism and return of NEETs to educational institutions as well as increases the motivation of young people to pursue education and promotes dealing with the social problems of young people.
The support measures for NEETs implemented by the SEA are under supervision of the Ministry of Welfare, while the programmes administered by the SEDA and the AIPY are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Science.
Social services of local governments and social workers are responsible for the work with youth of social risk groups (young people who frequently are absent from school and have low academic success at school, offenders, young people with addiction problems, minor parents, young people from low-income families, young people with behaviour problems, etc.), and they are the main institution directly working and cooperating with young people from the risk groups and their families.
The social services of local governments play an important role in returning young people back to the education system or labour market, as well as in informing them regarding education, training and employment possibilities. According to the information provided by the social services of local governments, the absenteeism from educational establishments is one of the dominating reasons for young people becoming the target group of the social services.
Educational institutions are the first and most important information dissemination channel for young people regarding career planning. The MoES maintains the infrastructure of the vocational education institutions, provides the methodological basis, promotes cooperation among educational institutions and employers, youth organizations, the SEA, it facilitates functioning of career development support system in order to inform young people regarding the choice of profession and employment possibilities, etc. The career-related issues are included in the contents of general education subjects and are integrated in classroom activities, school subjects (interrelation of a school subject with the potential career path), activities beyond classroom activities (project weeks, thematic meetings, shadowing, excursions to enterprises), as well as counselling is provided (for students, teachers, parents). However, teachers currently lack professional competence to ensure high-quality career education within the educational system.
Social partners and sectoral professional associations are cooperation partners of the line ministries involved in the planning and implementation of Youth Guarantee measures, promotion of the compliance of the vocational education and active labour market policy with the needs of the labour market defining the needs of employers and participating in the development of training programmes, offering placement and first employment opportunities to young people, developing qualitative and quantitative order for training of workforce for sectors.
The SEA is the main institution responsible for the support of unemployed youth and job seekers in their transition from unemployment or economic inactivity to training or employment, providing career counselling, measures for promoting competitiveness and motivation, informing on employment and training possibilities, cooperating with employers in order to involve unemployed youth in the labour market,
as well as with educational and training institutions. The SEDA provides information on opportunities for education for all groups of residents in Latvia, ensures individual e-counselling to residents, maintains the national data base on educational opportunities – portal NIID.LV. The NIID.LV data base is connected to the Commission's portal PLOTEUS (Portal on Learning Opportunities Throughout the European Space), thus providing the residents of Europe with access to information regarding the opportunities for education in Latvia.
The AIPY – an institution for the implementation of the youth policy – envisages direct support to young people and persons involved in the work with young people through its programmes in the following main directions: a) improvement of the basic skills, knowledge and attitudes of young people (training, implementation of projects, YOUTHPASS); b) improvement of the quality of work with young people (experience exchange conferences/seminars, improvement of professional skills of youth affairs specialists, social workers, teachers and other persons involved in the work with young people); c) promotion of mobility; d) provision of information regarding the opportunities offered (counselling, the network of Eurodesk regional cooperation partners and information points, informative activities and materials).
The work with young people is mainly organized through youth centres and youth affairs specialists in local governments. Youth centre is one of the basic instruments of local governments in the work with young people, where the following activities take place: 1) young people are provided with options for using their leisure time efficiently, 2) acquisition of necessary knowledge and skills is facilitated beyond formal education and interest-related education, implementing different non-formal education activities, projects and programmes, 3) favourable conditions are created for intellectual and creative development of young people, 4) participation of young people in youth organisations, youth initiative groups and volunteering is promoted, 5) access to information according to the needs and interests of young people is provided, 6) inclusion of young people of socially excluded groups in the peer environment is facilitated, 7) intercultural dialogue among young people is promoted, 8) individual and group counselling for young people on topical issues is organized; 9) cooperation with the persons involved in the work with young people at local, regional, national and international level is promoted, 10) inclusion of young people residing in the territory of a local government in youth activities, projects and programmes of local, regional, national and international level is promoted. The youth centre is a particularly significant stage between “inactive” and “active” young people; it is a place where young people with different interests and life experience have access to a friendly, open and supportive environment.
An important resource in the work with young people, especially those exposed to social exclusion risk, is youth organizations and other associations or foundations engaged in the work with young people. Non-governmental organisations ensure individual approach to each young person, understanding their needs and ensuring the most appropriate support. Participating in non-formal learning activities organized by non-governmental institutions, including volunteering, young people acquire knowledge, experience and skills, improve their communication and cooperation skills, develop creativity and initiative, try out ideas that can be developed as their business in future and acquire other practical skills that are a valuable asset in addition to the outcome provided by formal education.
In order to start planning the Youth Guarantee and identify opinions about the most important lines of action, challenges and problems, the MoW in cooperation with the MoES organized a range of activities and discussions, involving experts engaged in policy making and implementation of policies in different sectors – specialists of social services and education, SEA specialists, representatives of youth organisations, members of Saeima, representatives of ministries, social partner organisations and representatives of the Latvian Association for Local and Regional Governments. In cooperation with the social services of local governments, the information regarding the situation of youth in regions, problems identified by social services, existing institutional cooperation instruments for solution of youth problems and necessary improvements was summarised.
The implemented activities and consultations with social partners, as well as the conferences and seminars implemented in order to inform young people on the progression of documents of “Youth Guarantee” have been summarised below.
Consultations with Social Partners and Young People on the Preparation of Youth Guarantee Documents:
Date and time
Conference “Youth Employment – Bottlenecks and Solutions” – government, ministries, youth NGOs, social partners and other.
Technical meeting: The Ministry of Welfare (the MoW) and the State Employment Agency (the SEA).
The MoW departments’ meeting.
Technical meeting: the MoW and the Ministry of Education and Science (the MoES).
Meeting with social partners: The MoW and the Student Union of Latvia.
Meeting with social partners: the MoW, the MoES, Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS), Latvian Employers' Confederation (LDDK), Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
Participation in Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments’ (LALRG) conference “Work with Youth” – discussions on Youth Guarantee implementation with municipalities.
Meeting with social partners: the MoW and youth NGO “PRAKSE.LV”.
Meeting with social partners: the MoW, the MoE, youth NGOs.
Participation in the Employment Policy Coordination Council: the MoW, the MoES, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Finance.
Participation in seminar “A Guarantee for Youth – do You know your guarantees?”, organized by the European Commission Representation in Latvia.
Meeting with social partners: the MoW and Latvian Students’ Union in Great Britain.
Meeting with social partners: the MoW, the MoES, LBAS, LDDK.
Meeting with social partners: the MoW and the Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association – LIKTA.
Meeting with social partners: the MoW, the MoES, the State Education Development Agency (SEDA), Riga municipality.
Technical meeting: the MoW, the SEA.
LALRG Education and Culture Commission’s meeting – the MoW discussion with municipalities.
Technical seminar of the European Commission in Brussels – the MoW, the MoES, the SEA.
The MoW meets with municipal social workers in Talsi to discuss the Youth Guarantee concept and measures.
Technical meeting: the MoW, the MoES, the Agency of International Programs for Youth.
National Youth Policy Forum – the Youth Guarantee discussed with youth coordinators, youth NGOs, young people.
The draft Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan is submitted to the European Commission.
The national documents on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee submitted for approval and discussed in the EU Funds Monitoring Committee. Monitoring Committee is chaired by the Head of Managing Authority and it consists of representatives from the Managing Authority, Responsible Institutions, Co-operation Institutions, Paying Authority, Audit Authority, Certifying Authority, as well as social partners, non-governmental sector and regional partners.
Written procedure: the national documents on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee sent to the social partners.
Technical meeting: the MoW, the SEA.
The Youth Guarantee discussed in the Youth Advisory Council.
The MoW meets young people, including representatives of youth NGOs.
The Youth Guarantee concept discussed with other Member States in Brussels (EMCO).
Technical meeting: the MoW, the SEA, the SEDA.
The national documents on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee repeatedly discussed in the EU Funds Monitoring Committee.
EU Informant’s Forum 2013 – the Youth Guarantee concept presented, the MoW, the MoES.
National Conference “Youth Guarantee in Latvia” – government, ministries, actors involved in the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, youth NGOs, social partners, municipalities, social workers and other.
The national documents on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The National Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan submitted to the European Commission.
The information on the Youth Guarantee implementation progress is submitted to and revised by the EU Funds Monitoring Committee. The Monitoring Committee is chaired by the Head of Managing Authority and consists of representatives from the Managing Authority, Responsible Institutions, Co-operation Institutions, Paying Authority, Audit Authority, Certifying Authority, as well as social partners, non-governmental sector and regional partners.
Additionally, the Youth Guarantee Advisory Board is created, involving representatives from the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia, Latvian Employers' Confederation, Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, National Youth Council of Latvia, the Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of Education and Science, the State Employment Agency, the State Education Development Agency and the Agency of International Programs for Youth. The Board will be responsible for coordination, implementation and evaluation of the Youth Guarantee measures and preparation of proposals for the necessary changes in the implementation process.