Next month, a new video will be released about “Green Infrastructure”, a strategically planned network of high-quality green spaces and environmental features. With around 80% of the EU’s population now living in towns or cities, taking care of the green infrastructure that breathes life into urban and rural habitats has never been more important. Achieving thriving biodiversity is vital to addressing numerous challenges, from climate change adaptation to long-term economic stability.
Hardest hit by the economic crisis, today one in five young Europeans (15-24) cannot find a job. This figure equates to around five million people across the EU. The situation is particularly worrying in some Member States, with youth unemployment rates now exceeding 30 % in Lithuania, Slovakia, and Greece and 40 % in Spain.
SMEs are a key employer in today’s labour market and are responsible for 80 % of newly created jobs. SMEs therefore have an important role to play in driving Europe’s recovery. However, young people are generally more attracted by big multinational firms where they believe they will get more attractive jobs; whereas SMEs do not always seem to be so keen on employing young people due to their lack of skills and experience which can result in them missing out on a large pool of potential talent.
Aware of these challenges, the EU’s Youth@Work action aims to link together young people and SMEs in order to encourage SMEs to hire young people and, in turn, to promote working in SMEs as a career choice or as a springboard for young people interested in becoming entrepreneurs.
To illustrate this action, we have produced a video that explores the relationship between young people and SMEs, demonstrating the potential and opportunities for collaboration. The video, filmed in three different EU Member States – Belgium, Spain and Slovakia – features three success stories and win-win relationships between SMEs and young people.
• Belgium – The first story shows a young person benefiting from work experience at an SME. Carole Charlier, 26, works at Ice Watch as a watch designer. When she completed her studies, she wanted to work in a big company as she thought it would lead to more interesting opportunities. She now realises that working in an SME is an equally good springboard for her career.
• Spain – The second story shows how an SME can benefit from employing young workers. Mikel Feijoo Elzo, founder of clothes design firm Skunkfunk has always relied on young professionals, because of the young and fashionable products created. Maider Tomasena, 24, works at Skunkfunk. She likes her highly-varied day-to-day job and the perspectives offered by the company.
• Slovakia – The third story presents a successful young entrepreneur. Michal Mesko started his own business and created Martinus.sk, an online bookshop supplied by a traditional bookshop. Martinus.sk is one of the first online bookshops in Slovakia.
Please find below background information on:
• Youth@Work, Youth on the Move, and the Europe 2020 strategy
• Youth unemployment in the EU27
• Trends in entrepreneurship in the EU27