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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.4 Inclusive programmes for young people

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Programmes specific for vulnerable young people
  2. Funding
  3. Quality assurance

Programmes for vulnerable young people

In the employment field, the Youth Guarantee programme aims to combat the high rates of youth unemployment, being intended for young people aged between 18 and 29 in a NEET situation. It seeks to increase the skills of young people, facilitating the transition to the labour market and reducing youth unemployment.

It operates along four lines: 

  • Traineeships;
  • Employment;
  • Education;
  • Training.

For more details about traineeships and employment see, respectively, chapter 3 – Employment and Entrepreneurism; sub-chapters 3.5 – Traineeships and Apprenticeships; 3.6 – Integration of Young People in the Labour Market and 3.9 – Startup Funding for Young Entrepreneurs.


With the objective of promoting the completion of secondary education (12th grade), the Youth Guarantee also offers school and alternative training paths in partnership with the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, PI (IEFP, I.P.); and with the Centres for Training and Vocational Education (CQEP), particularly:

At the post-secondary and higher education level, it also offers technological specialisation courses and higher vocational technical courses.


The Youth Active Life programme aims to strengthen the vocational qualification of unemployed young people seeking a first or new job. It is intended for young people aged between 18 and 29 who are enrolled in employment services, and it enables the development of modular training courses, based on short duration training units (UFCD) and practical training in work context (FPCT).


In response to the situation generated by the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security developed ATIVAR.PT - Reinforced Support Program for Employment and Professional Training, registered by the Government in the Economic and Social Stabilization Programme (Resolution of the Council of Ministers n. 41/2020, 6th June) with the objective of ensuring the maintenance of employment and the recovery progressive economic activity.

It targets the unemployed, with a special focus on new unemployed. The strengthening of training policies includes measures to increase specific skills, like digital and specific audiences like young people.


The STEER project supports the transition of young people at risk. It aims to develop a training programme for young workers, in order to facilitate their transition from the educational system to the labour market, with a special focus on the promotion of employability for the young unemployed and for young people in a NEET situation. It also targets the newly graduated, students, youth leaders and young people with fewer opportunities. The Foundation of Youth is the entity responsible for the implementation of this project in Portugal.


The Integrated Programme for Education and Training (PIEF) was created in 1999, within the scope of the Plan for the Elimination of Child Labour Exploitation (PEETI). It is an educational measure to prevent early school leaving, which seeks to promote compliance with the mandatory education system and social inclusion, providing a school qualification equivalent to the 2nd or 3rd cycle.

It has a temporary and exceptional character and should only be adopted when all other measures of school integration have been exhausted. The target group are young people aged between 15 and 18, who are at least three years older than the age of the education level they are attending, and who are at risk and/or in danger of school or social exclusion.


In Higher Education emphasis for the following measures :

  • Desk IncluIES: available in DGES’s website, it gathers contents about the support to people with special needs in higher education
  • Another initiative is the special access Regime to young people over 23 years old.
  • There are also social grants in higher education: an annual monetary benefit for sharing the expenses with the attendance of a course or the completion of a compulsory internship, awarded by the State, non-repayable, whenever the student´s household does not have an adequate minimum level of financial resources


In the field of scientific dissemination, the Integra programme was created by Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture, which aims to support innovative projects for social inclusion, through education and scientific culture.

The programme is planned for children and young people in contexts of migration, asylum or displaced from their countries of origin, with interrupted education or learning difficulties, who have recently arrived in Portugal and do not understand the language. It is targeted at scientific social institutions, higher educational establishments, museums and schools.


The Free-Time Programme (OTL) that is made available by the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth allows the participation of young people in projects, enhancing active experiences, in groups, contemplating learning at the level of diversity, tolerance, rights and duties.

The projects to be developed in this programme may be of short or long duration.

It is an integration programme for young people to occupy them so that unprotected young people can be integrated.

The long-term modality (LD) is aimed at young NEETs who present projects and receive a cash grant to develop a project. The aim of this programme, in this modality, is to remove young people from problematic contexts.

On average, about 200 entities and 2,000 young people participate in this programme every year, and about 500/550 projects are developed.


Within the scope of the National Programme of Sports for All (PNDpT), a government programme for sports promotion (IPDJ, I.P.), some initiatives were developed in order to promote youth social inclusion through sports, enabling the access of young people with a disadvantaged socio-economic profile to the practice of certain sports, for instance:

  • Dar à Costa project (surf);
  • Bola P’ra Frente project (football);
  • Crescer com Escolhas project (bodycombat and kickboxing).


High Commissioner for Migrations (ACM, I.P.) programmes

"Choices Programme" (Programa Escolhas)

In the framework of the “Choices Programme” (Programa Escolhas), the U CAN project is in its 3rd edition. In 2016, it granted 50 scholarships to young people from vulnerable socio-economic contexts, a contingency that limited their possibility of studying in a higher education establishment. The young university students should be aged under 24 and reside in the territories of intervention of the Choices programme.

The goal is to support higher education as a promoter of social inclusion and prevent school dropout in this educational cycle.

It also stimulates a Mentoring Network that provides personalised support to young people, composed of people with higher education that follow the young people’s personal and academic development.

Overall, both editions have already granted 96 scholarships, with 94 scholarship students achieving good results in most subjects. The project involved 66 mentors.

The procedures ruling the grant of scholarships are defined by the programme’s regulations.


The Operational Programme for the Promotion of Education (OPRE) grants scholarships to young university students from Roma communities. It is an initiative of the High Commission for Migration (ACM, I.P.), under the scope of the “Choices Programme” (Programa Escolhas). It is developed in partnership with the Letras Nómadas Association and the Portuguese Youth Network for Equal Opportunities Between Women and Men. This initiative presents a positive measure component by including in the requirements a 40% mandatory representation of each sex for the beneficiaries, therefore promoting gender parity.

The goal is to encourage the integration of Roma communities in higher education cycles, avoiding early dropout in this educational cycle and alleviating the barriers that exist between these communities and the formal education system.

In its first edition (2016/2017), it granted 25 university scholarships and in its second edition (2017/2018) 33. Both editions also included training, mentoring and follow-up of these young students and their respective families.

Conditions for access:

  • To be part a Roma community;
  • To be enrolled in an approved course of higher education;
  • To have successfully completed most subjects/course units of the previous school year.

Additional conditions for access are available in the programme’s regulations.


In addition to the grant of scholarships, the Government also provides for the follow-up of Roma students by socio-cultural mediators existing in Roma communities (through the mediation of CPCJ), which have the mission of contributing to reverse the trend of school dropout and to bridge the gap between families and schools.


Choices for Talent Network was a pilot initiative of the High Commission for Migration (ACM, I.P.), under the “Choices Programme” (Programa Escolhas), addressed to young people aged between 16 and 30, who want to develop a talent, interest or expertise related to a possible professional area.

Promoted in 2016, this initiative aimed to contribute to the development of the talent of young people coming from different contexts, by increasing the equality of access to opportunities.

It offered various kinds of support:

  • Personalised monitoring from an experienced mentor;
  • Support in the definition of a plan for the development of talents;
  • In-house training in personal and social skills;
  • Sharing experiences with other young citizens.

The initiative involved 22 youngsters, who participated in three training actions. These participants have been voluntarily monitor, guide, motivate and inspire by mentors with recognised talent in a certain area of expertise.


Ideas Competition for Young People – Mundar: Change Your World! (Mundar: Muda o Teu Mundo!) results from a partnership between the “Choices Programme” (Programa Escolhas) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It is intended for young people aged between 16 and 30, provided that their ideas are included in the main priorities defined by the competition and submitted through a Choices project.

It aims to encourage young people to present ideas, create projects and organise actions that promote their empowerment and autonomy. Until now (and since 2013), it has supported a total of 77 'ideas' that implemented life projects, improved the communities of young people and/or created solutions for social problems.


PEPEI – Entrepreneurship Project for International Students is sponsored by ACM, I.P., and it was implemented in 2015, within the framework of the PEI – Project for the Promotion of the Immigrant Entrepreneurship. It aims to empower international students to structure and implement a business idea, considering that training and empowerment in entrepreneurship is an increasing basic instrument to enter active life.

It provides:

  • ‘Support for the Creation of a Business’ course;
  • Advice;
  • Workshops. 



More Leaders – Young Roma (Mais Líderes – Jovens Cigan@s) is an empowerment programme promoted by the High Commission for Migration (ACM, I.P.), within the framework of Priority 5 of the National Roma Communities Integration Strategy (ENICC). The programme promotes an active participation of young Roma at a civic and associative level, using participatory methodologies in leading meetings, training courses, information/awareness sessions and development of projects. It is intended for young people aged between 18 and 35.


Mobility and Social Integration for Young Descendants of Immigrants is an initiative aiming to boost youth exchange, youth mobility and social integration, and to promote the contact with the architectural, historic and cultural heritage of Continental Portugal. It is intended for children and young people from the most vulnerable socio-economic contexts, particularly descendants of immigrants who have acquired Portuguese citizenship

It results from a partnership protocol between the High Commission for Migration (ACM, I.P.), Movijovem and the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth (IPDJ, I.P.). It seeks to reinforce the connection of young people with Portugal, thus contributing to a better integration into society, strengthening their feeling of belonging, through access to accommodation provided by various Youth Hostels, which constitute the Continental Network of Youth Tourism.


Access to citizenship and integration of new nationals

The Strategic Plan for Migration 2015-2020 includes the goal of promoting the integration and inclusion of new Portuguese citizens, in particular descendants of immigrants and those accessing Portuguese nationality, through actions in the fields of education, vocational training, transition to the labour market, civic and political participation, digital inclusion, entrepreneurship and coaching. In this axis, it also specifically provides for measures to promote the attribution of Portuguese nationality, particularly among descendants of immigrants, through the creation of mechanisms to enhance the granting of Portuguese nationality.



The "Choices Programme" (Programa Escolhas) is sponsored at a national level by:

  • The Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security through the Institute of Social Security;
  • The Ministry of Education through the Directorate-General of Education.

At a European level by:

  • The European Social Fund/Portugal 2020;
  • The Regional Operational Programme of Lisbon 2014/2020 (PORLISBOA);
  • The Operational Programme of Algarve CRESC ALGARVE 2020;
  • The Social Inclusion and Employment Operational Programme (PO ISEin the North/Centre of Portugal and Alentejo.


The Integra programme is funded by Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture.

The STEER project is funded by Erasmus+ – Key Action 2: Cooperation for Innovation and Exchange of Good Practices.


Quality assurance

In the PIEF programme, the monitoring and assessment are made by the Directorate-General of Education (DGE), based on the data collected, according to the student’s indicators for assessment and monitoring. It foresees the preparation of a report/evaluation.

Projects approved under the “Choices Programme” (Programa Escolhas) are subject to a self-assessment process, an internal assessment carried out by the programme's technical team, and an external assessment carried out by an independent entity, which assesses the programme as a whole.