Questions & answers
We are working within the framework of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region on behalf of the governments in the region.
The knowledge platform (KP) on Integration of Youth in NEET situation is one of three knowledge platforms in the flagship School to Work (S2W) within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The KP Integrate NEETs aims to increase and improve integration of young people in NEET situation into employment, education or training. It consists of actors who work directly with youth in NEET situation or have strategic responsibility for the group. The work of the Knowledge Platform is organized in Thematic Working Groups that meet regularly to jointly develop methods and policy recommendations, in a process of co-creation.
The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is the first macro-regional strategy (MRS) in the European Union, involving eight Member States (MS); Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. A macro-regional strategy (MRS) is an interconnected system, where existing institutions, existing funding and existing legislations are tools to be used, in different combinations, to reach the shared aims and objectives of the Strategy. These are formulated in an Action Plan agreed by the Member States. The Action Plan consists of 13 policy areas (PAs) and 4 horizontal actions (HAs). PA Education is one of those policy areas contributing to a strengthened social dimension of the EUSBSR. Action 1 in the PA Education Action plan has a specific focus on the reducing the rates of early school leaving and smoothening transition from school to work. Flagship S2W aims to tackle this societal problem.
Policy Area Education has a Coordinating group that can be understood as the board of directors. It consists of representatives of the Ministries of Education/Research and Employment/Social Affairs. The group holds meetings twice per year. One of the meetings is held in Brussels and the group is then extended with representatives from the Directorate Generals relevant for PA Education. Those are: DG Regional and Urban policy, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, DG Research and Innovation, DG Migration and Home Affairs, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. The mandate of the coordinating group is to recommend new flagships and when needed revise the Action Plan. The members of the group function as channels to and from respective MS, reaching out to stakeholders with new methods and policy recommendations and, the other way around, mobilize interest for the EUSBSR, proposals for new methods and policy recommendations to be channeled to the Policy Area Coordinators.
Our mission is to increase and improve integration of young people in NEET situation into the employment, education or training.
The approach is often not comprehensive enough. Some of the obstacles are:
- lack of coordination between sectors and governance levels
- projects limited by time and resources
- no mechanisms for channeling policy recommendations
- lack of implementation of good methods into the ordinary work
- lack of dissemination of good methods to other regions and countries
- structural, regulatory, or financial circumstances preventing cooperation or coordination
- inability of successful projects to secure permanent funding
We create a knowledge platform for transnational learning and joint development of methods and policy recommendations. The knowledge platform complements existing networks and measures developed on the national, regional, and local level in the eight members states of the Baltic Sea Region. It offers access to a wider geography and knowledge base. Furthermore, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region offers channels for reaching policy impact in different levels of governance.
This means creating a process based on thematic working groups, where selected actors from different levels of governance, local, regional and national, and from different sectors, businesses, government and non-governmental organizations come together and develop policy recommendations and new methods. Each group consists of both policy makers and practitioners.
The groups are essentially multi-skilled, transnational teams of about 15-20 actors guided by trained process facilitators.
As main inputs to the work of the TWGs we introduce
- input from research (under the lead of the research officer)
- successfully implemented, pre-screened projects and initiatives
- participants´ own knowledge and experience
Work in the TWGs follows the principle of co-creation. We refer to co-creation as a design tool that is used to invite key stakeholders to jointly produce mutually valued outcome. It creates ownership and engagement as well as more innovative ideas. Co-creation is used to generate ideas, solve problems, improve performance or create new products or services.
We form five thematic working groups focusing on the following themes:
The focus is not creation of start-up companies as an alternative way of integration on the labour market. This group will explore how a supportive environment, fostering entrepreneurial mind-sets among NEETs can be designed. This includes for example training programmes, mentoring by entrepreneurs and laboratories where NEETs can work together with students on real business projects. This also includes Social entrepreneurship.
Labour Market Integration
Closing the gap between school and work is one of our major societal challenges today. Examples of focus areas are digital support, programmes for in-company training and labour market policies. The group will involve social partners and further on in the process businesses.
Education and training
NEETs often can’t get a job directly without any further training. Education is needed but often it needs to be tailor-made for a target group with no or limited experiences of education. This group will for example be testing new pedagogical methods, shorter vocational courses and non-formal education.
Civil Society Involvement
Civil society organisations are an often an untapped resource for integration of NEETs. However, there are good examples in the region to learn from. An important topic to be discussed in this group will be the interaction between civil society organisations and public authorities as well as sustainable funding models for the support provided by civil society.
Resource Centres with multi-competence teams (One-Stop-Shops)
There are good results from existing resource centres in Germany, Sweden and Finland. The concept is spreading in the region and this group will be addressing the need to further develop these structures and explore the possibility to develop programmes for joint training courses for staff in the centres. Marketers is one key function, reaching out to the target group, motivating them to take the first step towards a job or education.
In thematic working groups, participants are selected from all levels, local, regional and national, and different sectors, businesses, government and non-governmental organizations. Typically, groups consist of people from both policy and practical levels.
The groups are essentially multi-skilled, transnational teams of about 15–20 actors from different sectors of society and representing different governance levels of eight Member States in the Baltic Sea Region.
The work leads to
- New methods including:
- further developed methods and good practices of integrating youth in NEET situation. This could mean that methods or practices are transferred to other contexts, scaled up through macro-regional potential, upgraded through participation of other actors in the multi-level governance perspective. This also includes the development of brand new methods
- project ideas for testing the methods generated in the Knowledge Platforms and partnerships formed for their subsequent implementation
- Policy recommendations ensuring adequate financial, regulatory, and structural circumstances for the methods and practices developed or already in us.
A further result is the establishment of the TWGs as a new format of cooperation across borders in the Baltic Sea region which facilitates implementation of policies and methods.
Both practitioners and policy makers from different levels and sectors are participating in the thematic working groups. This continuous interaction between practitioners and policy level enables us to implement methods and channel recommendations. As part of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the work of the knowledge platform is disseminated to and closely followed by policy makers on national and EU levels. In addition to participants and their home organizations, the outcomes developed in knowledge platform will be channelled to:
- Policy Area Focal Points (PA Education), representatives of Ministries of Employment (Social affairs) respective Ministries of Education in the eight MS
- Coordinating group (PA Education), with Policy Area Focal Points, flagship leaders, Managing Authorities for European Regional and Development Fund and European Social Fund and the EU Commission (DG Education and Culture, DG for Regional and Urban Policy; DG Grow- Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, DG Research and Innovation and DG Home)
- The BSR networks for the European Structural and Investment Funds (European Social Fund, European Regional and Development Fund, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund)
- Knowledge Platform Steering Group consisting of representatives from project partners in Lithuania (Ministry of Education), Estonia (National Association of Youth Centres), Finland (City of Turku), Germany (Hamburg Ministry of Schools and Vocational Education), Council of Nordic Ministers, Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society, Swedish Public Employment Service, The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, County Administrative Board of Stockholm
For your organization:
- To introduce, assess, further develop ideas and practices already in use, in a transnational context, with practitioners and policy makers from different sectors and levels of governance
- To access channels for dissemination of ideas and practices to reach policy impact
- To obtain knowledge of new policies and methods
- To develop policy recommendations and new methods within the EU Macro-regional strategies and Member States in the Baltic Sea Region
- To form long-term partnerships
- To enable joint applications for funding of new initiatives.
For you as a participant:
Personal professional development through:
- establishment of professional relationships with colleagues across the Baltic Sea region
- participation in development of policy recommendations and new methods in the whole Baltic Sea Region
- overview and knowledge of new methods and development of policies
Initially, this knowledge platform is developed and maintained with the support of this ESF funded project. Once the project is completed the Platform and its TWGs will continue operating under the coordination of TWG participants and the School2Work flagship.