Investing for Youth

Investing for Youth

Youth unemployment is one of Europe’s biggest challenges.  Without urgent action to develop our young jobseekers into a skilled and experienced workforce, Europe's viability as an innovative and competitive market is at risk. Such an exceptional problem requires a coherent and coordinated response.

We build on our lengthy experience and expertise gained in financing both small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and the education sector in Europe, with continuous efforts to stimulate job opportunities and skills training for Europe's youth.  

In 2015, some EUR 14bn in loans were signed to support Europe’s youth, of which:

  • EUR 12.1bn reached SMEs - spread across 16 EU countries with high youth unemployment - under the Jobs for Youth, and
  • EUR 1.9bn went to educational institutions via Investing in Skills, to enhance youth employability, targeting projects focused on general education, vocational training and student finance.

According to the EIB’s Youth Employment Survey held in 2014, Investing for Youth supported the jobs of some 800 000 young people from its launch in 2013 to the end of 2014. Results from the survey also suggest that, during this period, 26 000 new jobs for youth would not have been created without EIB support.


Improving the younger generation’s performance on the labour market is precisely what the EIB Group is trying to do through its “Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth” programme. This initiative was launched mid-2013 in response to the European Council’s request for the Bank to contribute to the EU-wide effort to support youth employment.

The Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth programme complements the EU’s Youth Employment Initiative, as well as the multiple national and regional schemes at EU Member State level. The programme’s goal is twofold:

  • to boost ‘Jobs for Youth’ across the EU by improving access to finance for SMEs and Midcaps,
  • to enhance youth employability via ‘Investment in Skills’, targeting projects focused on general education, vocational training and student finance.

The programme aims to target a wide range of projects and companies in both the public and private sectors. Equally, the initiative will foster youth employment programmes promoted by the public sector, such as investment in educational facilities, operational expenditures of vocational training, student loan schemes and young employee mobility programmes initiatives.

Whilst all 28 EU Member States qualify for support, the programme's focus will be on projects located in regions where youth unemployment exceeds 25% and in areas with particularly large investment needs in education, including France, Spain and the UK.

Creating jobs for youth in Poland

The first loan under the ‘’Skills and Jobs- Investing for Youth’’ was in Poland:  EUR 50m to Europejski Fundusz Leasingowy S.A. (EFL) is already bearing fruit in the form of dozens of new jobs specifically dedicated to Polish youth.

Investing in youth for better job opportunities in Spain

One of the first loans for youth is materialising in Spain and setting the stage for similar schemes across Europe where young people are most in need. A EUR 200m loan is supporting students, young entrepreneurs and universities to improve skills and employment prospects.


To fight youth unemployment we have a wide range of products to support public and private investments, offering flexibility, expertise and creativity. The EIB extends its main existing financial products to support the "Skills and Jobs" programme and will work to tailor financing instruments to foster investment in the sector. Both public and private entities with qualifying projects are eligible to apply for financing under the initiative, as are financial intermediaries with the ability to support SMEs. The EIB's financing will support up to 50% of the total project cost or the portfolio of loans to SMEs and Midcaps who receive financing via EIB partner banks. The Bank’s financing share for projects in regions qualifying for support under the Youth Guarantee is exceptionally increased to 75%.