13 July 2017, Barcelona. – A main cause of high levels of unemployment among young graduates in the Mediterranean region is the persistent mismatch between the skills acquired at university and the requirements of employers. According to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), more than 32 percent of enterprises in some Mediterranean countries have identified labour skill levels as a major constraint to hiring. At the same time, according to the Erasmus Impact Study students that have had experiences abroad (such as Erasmus+) have 23% less chance of being unemployed.
With the goal of helping companies to identify the best young talents and strengthening academic and professional mobility in the region, the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) labelled the project HOMERe. This programme aims at increasing through international traineeships, the employability of students from more than 100 top universities members of the Mediterranean Network of Engineering Schools. So far, 125 young people from the Northern and the Southern rims of the Mediterranean benefitted from HOMERe.
On Thursday 13 July 2017, the UfM Secretariat gathered all interested stakeholders in order to discuss opportunities and challenges related to the expansion of internships in the Mediterranean region and the specific role of the private sector in that regard. The workshop “Boosting employability in the region: which role for internships? Lessons learnt and future perspectives of HOMERe UfM labelled project” allowed students, enterprises, civil society organisations and higher education institutions to formulate operational recommendations for the development of international training programmes in the region.
“This programme really helps young people to change their attitude towards work to a more pro-active approach and helps companies to identify high-quality candidates. It was also a key accelerator of my early career development” declared former HOMERe intern beneficiary Youssef Berdoul.
Delphine Borione, Senior Deputy Secretary General of the UfM, stated “international internships are a win-win investment for both companies which get access to talented students and knowledge on local markets and culture, and for young people who gain new perspectives and competencies”.
Three lively sessions allowed to take stock of HOMERe first achievements and shape perspectives for scaling up. The participants addressed the links between internships and employment in the Mediterranean as well as lessons learnt from difficulties faced in the implementation. The workshop also facilitated synergies among existing internship programmes in the region. HOMERe will expand to new countries and disciplines. New companies, such as Entreprise Publique Economique des Tracteurs Agricoles (ETRAG), CEGEDIM Maroc and Orange Applications for Business have officially announced their willingness to join the programme.