In early 2016, unemployment among the youth in Amsterdam dropped below the national average. In the past two years, the unemployment rate among young people decreased from 14.7% to 9.3%. How did the city of Amsterdam achieve this decline in youth unemployment?
The project plan “Aanvalsplan Jeugdwerkeloosheid” (plan to tackle unemployment among young people) is a joint initiative of the city council, neighborhood councils, schools in Amsterdam, Ajax (football club) and regional employers’ organizations. The main objective of the plan is to equip people with a “start qualification”. This qualification includes at least a secondary school degree complimented with business competences like acumen, attitude and behavior.
The main focus point is tackling early school leaving. Every neighborhood council has established a youth center that cooperates with schools and local businesses with the objectives to return young people without a degree to school and create actual paid jobs to enable young people to learn, get experienced and earn money as well. The neighborhood councils know all the young people who are unemployed and do not have a secondary school degree. Social workers visit these young people at home with the objective to get them back to school. Each individual is coached on a personal basis.
One of the companies that support the program is Makro Amsterdam. Makro offers job opportunities to young people in Amsterdam that enables them to get educated and gain professional experience in order to become attractive employees for the business world. 49 Persons out of the 55 young people who started working at Makro Amsterdam did not return to the youth centers of the municipalities.
Context of good practice
All young people deserve a chance to become successful and active citizen of Amsterdam. That is the reason why the city of Amsterdam has initiated the Aanvalsplan Jeugdwerkeloosheid. In the period 2015 to 2018, the project aims to get 21.000 young people employed or educated. To realize these ambitious goals, the city council has established seven Youth Centers for Work and Education. The youth counselors are responsible for the well-being of the young people and aim to get all people educated. If needed, the counselors visit the young people at home.
The youth centers work closely together with the local businesses, schools and Ajax (football)
In 2015 and 2016, 10.500 young people found a job or returned to school.
Main characteristics of the challenge, description of the target group
In Amsterdam, there are 135.000 young people aged 15 to 27 years old. In total, 11.100 young people have left school without a diploma. In 2016, 2.200 young people dropped out of school before graduation and 2.600 Young people received social welfare payments. From a comparative perspective, 48% of young people with a Moroccan background are unemployed, compared to 14% overall.
The challenge of the program is to substantially reduce the number of inactive (no job / no study) young people. During the four years, the city will:
- Engage and draft a plan with all inactive young people.
- Guide 21.000 back to school or to employment.
Success factors and processes
This program brings together the city council, the neighbourhood councils, the employer organisation and the schools.
The work includes:
- 7 youth centres were established
- Over 100 persons were employed by the youth centres.
- Many jobs (paid / part time) were created by the employers’ organisation in cooperation with the local businesses.
- All young people were engaged on an individual basis
- For every person a plan was drafted that included individual actions.
- The youth workers guided the persons back to school.
- The youth workers visited the persons at their job
Perspectiefbanen can be translated into Perspective Jobs. The employers organisation together with the city council create jobs that last 6 months that are intended to offer young people their first experience in the business world. These jobs are real, paid jobs.
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Target group of good practice:
Henk Krauwel Ambassador
City of Amsterdam