Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth: financing the future of Europe’s young generations
Youth unemployment is one of the main challenges facing Europe. In a bid to address the jobs crisis facing the EU’s 15-24 year olds, the EIB Group, comprising the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund, has launched the “Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth” programme.
The initiative’s aim is twofold:
- To boost “Jobs for Youth” across the EU by improving access to finance for SMEs
- To enhance employability via “Investment in Skills”, targeting projects focused on education, vocational training and student finance
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. The Bank’s programme is envisaged to complement the EU Youth Employment Initiative, as well as the multiple national and regional schemes initiated by the Member States.
The EIB had originally allocated EUR 6bn for the programme but EUR 9bn have been committed to youth skills and employment in 2013.
How can the Bank help?
One of the principle constraints for youth employment is the lack of access to liquidity to allow companies, in particular SMEs, to employ, retain and train young workers.
The EIB Group boasts significant experience in SME financing, providing finance at favourable conditions to support 200 000 SMEs and mid-caps annually across the EU and Candidate Countries. Although in the past the Bank has not specifically focused on youth employment, lending activities to infrastructure, resource efficiency and knowledge economy projects in 2013 alone will directly support employment for half a million people. In addition, as a direct result of our financing, SMEs and mid-caps are able to sustain employment for two million people every year.
The Bank has also been active in the financing of skills acquisition and development since 1993, improving access to education and training, developing the quality of tertiary education and promoting life-long learning.
Which projects are eligible?
The “Skills and Jobs” programme aims to target a wide range of projects in both the public and private sectors which actively promote youth employment measures. Financing of investment, working capital and youth oriented training programmes will all be eligible. Equally, the initiative will foster youth employment programmes promoted by the public sector, such as investment in educational facilities, student loan schemes and young employee mobility initiatives.
The programme’s focus is on all 28 EU Member States, and all qualify for support.
How to apply
The EIB will extend the full range of 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 up to 100% of the project cost for SMEs and mid-caps who receive financing via EIB partner banks.
The first loans under the “Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth” programme have already been approved and more will follow before the end of 2013.