Chances for young people in Europe

The European Foundation for Education chaired by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, former Mayor of the City of Stuttgart for many years and Honorary President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), cooperates with educational institutions, companies and partners from politics and administration in many regions of Europe with high youth unemployment.

Its goals are open up better professional chances for young people, increase the work-based component of educational offers, improve the competitiveness of companies and strengthen the regional economic development.

Analyzing the regions with the lowest youth unemployment in Europe, you find three circumstances linked with each other:
  • a long tradition of a strong local governance and self-responsibility of the citizens and the local businesses
  • a social market economy system where companies are engaged in vocational education and training, as a living partnership of shared responsibility of the business sector as well as of the society
  • differentiated educational offers linked systematically with real life, especially with the working world
Within the Europe 2020 targets of the European Union, increasing the employment rate is top priority. The European Commission recommends for all countries of the European Union with high youth unemployment to develop or strengthen educational structures that connect theory and practice. Dual educational structures provide a strong link between education and employment at all levels and therefore open up much better employability for skilled people.

The development and change of educational systems by linking them systematically with labour market needs is a cultural and social process which cannot bet changed only by the modification of legal regulations. It is necessary to move ahead together – interacting and collaborating with many organizations and especially by an international exchange of expertise and proven education models.

This challenge is the starting point of the activities driven by the European Foundation for Education. As in most European countries graduation from school qualifies students to attend a higher education institution, EFE focuses on the development of dual educational structures with a strong work-based component linked with the companies on site. The necessity of a close cooperation between the educational system and the labour market needs are well analyzed in the reports of the European Commission, within the priorities of the European Social Fund, in the research studies of McKinsey, Robert Bosch Stiftung and Bertelsmann Stiftung as well as within the OECD Skills Strategy.