Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

International work placements to fight youth unemployment

Written by Gérard Tur on Monday, July 1st 2019 à 16:39 | Read 769 times

For its annual conference “Employment and employability: Adapting to the Mediterranean jobs market” in Marseille on 21st June, HOMERe brought together experts from twelve countries involved in its international work placement project.

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Youth employment at the heart of HOMERe's concerns. Photo GT.
Youth employment at the heart of HOMERe's concerns. Photo GT.
The context has remained the same for several decades, yet the situation is worsening. “Following the Arab Spring, the international institutions set themselves the objective of creating 20 million jobs in the Southern Mediterranean by 2020. Where are they?”, asks Roger Albinyana, director of Euro-Mediterranean policies at the European Institute of the Mediterranean. “Growth has not been inclusive. Young people and women are still excluded from the job market.”

On 21st June last, HOMERe brought together experts from both sides of the Mediterranean in Marseille to try to find solutions to the issue of youth unemployment. The association has been organizing international work placements for several years now. Students from the Mediterranean’s southern shore are pre-selected by the association and presented to companies who provide them with a six-month training course at their headquarters in France before offering them a job in a branch in the trainee’s country of origin.

For Fabrice Alimi, vice-president of the CCIMP (Marseille Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry), the answer to youth unemployment “lies in mentoring. This gives excellent results, since it provides people with support, whether in finding a job or setting up a business.” In Italy, employers also view this support mechanism positively. “Whether apprenticeships, work placements such as the ones provided by HOMERe or university courses, the solutions have to be international,” explains Confindustria representative, Alfonso Balsamo.

A practical solution

The president of the EMEA (Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association) Rym Ayadi believes that “the economic, political and academic stakeholders need to improve their coordination to provide practical solutions. The HOMERe project is an example of the actions needed to get out of the current impasse.” The Union for the Mediterranean has certified the HOMERe project. “HOMERe’s multi-sector approach seems very appropriate to me, since it combines the economic, political and university environments,” says Miguel Garcia-Herraiz, deputy secretary general of the UfM, approvingly. “Complexity paralyzes the system. HOMERe makes things simpler.”

The two dozen participants in the various round tables all insisted on the need for more work placements. “France brought the HOMERe project to us,” explains European Commission Alexandra Carvalho. “We approved it and consequently are funding it for 18 months. It’s an experiment that we will be watching very closely at the Commission and one that could lead to developments in the future.”

The European aid of €1M will help finance the organization of 250 international work placements between France, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.


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