Youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges in some EU countries. Like Portugal for example. Sérgio Oliveira manages an employment scheme which helps young people to find work. The EU is supporting projects like this, as well as introducing a European Pillar of Social Rights to integrate these issues into its core values. With more funding to social schemes like Sérgio's, the EU will be able to improve the lives of more citizens.
Social policy has always been, and remains, a core concern of the European Union. Nevertheless more work is needed and further progress in this area is a priority for the EU institutions in 2017. EU laws have improved people's lives in areas like working time, protection from discrimination and workplace safety. But in recent years, many people feel the financial and economic aspects of the EU have overshadowed social concerns. That's why the European Parliament is backing plans to create a European Pillar of Social Rights that would anchor social concerns even more firmly into the EU's core values. One of the key areas where the Parliament wants to see more progress is the question of youth unemployment. These young people are looking for their big break. But here in Portugal jobs are not easy to come by. A third of all working-age young people are unemployed. Sergio Oliveira is trying to make sure young people have the skills they need to find jobs. He manages an employment scheme that helps young people living in areas with particularly high unemployment rates. The job centre helps match applications submitted by the agencies to the trainee candidates we have enrolled on our service. In 2015 we had 1105 trainees, in 2016 1026 trainees. As an example there was also the case of Joana, who created her own job through a scheme run by the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training, and who subsequently applied for the trainee employment programme, and ultimately, she ended up hiring [a trainee], thus creating more employment incentive. The idea of D'Barriga came about during my maternity leave, when I had just become a mother. I realised that there was a real lack of space for new mothers. I went to the job centre and presented my idea, my project and was advised in terms of being given information and training that helped me develop a business plan, a marketing plan and to have some support in raising investment for kick-starting the company. Today we have one trainee from the job centre and my staff were also hired with the help of the job centre. The scheme is being part-funded by the EU's Youth Employment Initiative, a multibillion euro programme designed to tackle the crisis of youth unemployment in the EU. Members of the European Parliament have already pushed hard to reduce the number of young people out of work in Europe. Last year they succeeded in adding a further €1.2 billion to YEI funds. And they have pledged to keep up the pressure. Aside from the YEI, the Parliament backs moves to increase cooperation between EU governments to ensure people can benefit from social security cover, wherever they live or work in the Union.