Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries are experiencing rapid growth in their working age populations. Almost 60% of the regional population is today under the age of 30 and the number of young people under the age of 15 is forecasted to increase over 18% by 2020. This represents an asset for the region, and therefore, a positive and action-oriented regional agenda on youth employability is indispensable to unleash the region’s human and economic potential capital. As requisite for peace and stability in the region, priority actions must be built on promoting competitiveness and enhancing job opportunities, in particular for youth, through education and employment, vocational training initiatives and improved connectivity.
The UfM is promoting 15 projects directly addressing the challenges of youth employability and inclusive growth. Framed by the political mandate (in particular the Ministerial conferences on industrial cooperation and digital economy) and nourished by the priorities expressed in the regional dialogues, these projects target approximately 200.000 beneficiaries, mostly young people, and involve more than 1.000 small and medium private enterprises.
Fostering youth employment in the region is a top priority for the UfM. Through its labelled project HOMERe – High Opportunity for Mediterranean Executive Recruitment, the UfM Secretariat promotes international professional training placements in companies as a way to reduce transition from university to the labour market and facilitate access to employment for high-potential graduates.
The first beneficiaries of the project, which was launched in March 2015, strongly value the opportunity that they were given to put their skills into practice and to experience a real professional environment in an international context (see the interview of Youssef Barghane). On the other side, employers show a great interest in the assistance provided as regards the identification of the right young profiles. The first outcomes have been very positive, as all the students concerned so far have been offered a job position from their hosting company.
UfM Secretariat representatives and the promoter of the project, the Mediterranean Network of Engineering and Management Schools (RMEI), alongside some of their partners, namely the Conseillers du Commerce Extérieur Français (CCEF) and the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) met on 13 January at the UfM headquarters, in Barcelona. They discussed the next steps of the project’s implementation and the possibility of upscaling the experiment so as to rapidly reach more students and employers in the region. 2016 will witness a strengthening of the management’s approach in close connection with the academic and business communities with the aim to increase the number of beneficiaries.
“Young people aged between 15 and 25 are the major target of the UfM action through this project”, said UfM Secretary General. “The role of education is key to prevent radicalism”, he added.
As part of a two-year pilot phase (2015-2017), and labelled under the Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (Med4Jobs), the project will be implemented in nine Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Spain, Morocco and Tunisia.
- Beneficiary’s interview: the experience of Youssef Barghane
- VIDEO: Youth Employability and inclusive growth, a UfM priority
- HOMERe’s web page