International Youth Day highlights the issue of youth unemployment in the UK: the number of unemployed young people between the ages of 16 and 24 has risen by 8,000 in the last quarter - meaning that the unemployment rate for this age group is now 14.4 % - a shockingly high figure.
In Germany, youth unemployment is at 7.4% - the lowest in the EU by a long way. In contrast, in Spain more than half of all young people (55%) are without job prospects. The situation for first-time job entrants in Greece (49.8%), Croatia (45.5%) and Italy (43.9%) is similarly critical.
Experts call for greater mobility and transparency throughout Europe
Economic experts warn of the wasted potential. Because companies can benefit from more motivated European trainees and apprentices, and from them find and develop exactly the right talent. At the same time, you can also increase diversity and innovation within the company. Management consultants McKinsey therefore recommend developing EU-wide trainee and apprenticeship programmes in order to create greater transparency in the European job market. In addition to more cooperation between national employment agencies, there needs to be comparability between trainee qualifications. This will encourage mobility and exchange within the European job market.
Welcoming & willing to listen
Trainers not only impart technical and professional knowledge, they are also responsible for supervising, supporting and, to some extent, nurturing young apprentices – irrespective of where they come from. Differentiating between work and private life is not easy for young people at this stage in their development. Consequently, the support of a mentor, who is willing to listen to any issues, makes sense while trainees are learning the ropes.
For successful onboarding and quick integration of trainees from other countries, experts recommend being active in three areas: professionally, linguistically and socially. An open and welcoming culture, exemplified by management, is especially important. Employees need to regard training people from other countries as a benefit, and work towards its success. Intercultural skills in the workforce can be developed through appropriate training initiatives.
The following measures are recommended for day one:
- Official welcome : Welcome the trainees from other European countries and introduce them to their training supervisors and immediate colleagues. Mentors have a special role. They support integration during the first few weeks and may even be the trainers themselves.
- Introduction to the company: If not already done so as part of work experience, now is a good time to introduce your company by doing a tour of relevant company divisions and departments.
- Discuss tasks and familiarise trainees with their workspace: show the new apprentices their work station and equipment. You should discuss with them what they have to do first, and what the next steps are during the first few days. It may be necessary to talk about rights and responsibilities of trainees once again, and to explain the significance of any vocational training college classes.
- Hand out a welcome pack: Put the most important company information together in a folder (if necessary in English or in the trainee's native language), which the newcomer can use for orientation and as a source of reference.
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