More on Disadvantaged Youth in Europe

Funding: The Thematic Study has been commissioned by DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Duration December 2004 – October 2005
The final report of the study can be downloaded from the Website of DG EMPL.

Permanent Download from:

This thematic study on policy measures concerning disadvantaged youth aims at enhancing the understanding of disadvantage in young people’s transitions from school to work. It will provide local, national and EU policies as well as NGOs concerned with the social inclusion of disadvantaged youth a knowledge base of policies developed, applied and evaluated within the enlarged EU context. This knowledge base is both applicable and informed by a comparative perspective taking into account different labour markets and institutional contexts across Europe. From the 13 countries involved Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the UK display noticeable problems with the inclusion of either unemployed youth or early school leavers while Austria, Denmark and Slovenia are referred to as contrast countries with a better performance. The prime objective is to identify factors that account for the success or failure of policies in facilitating the transitions of disadvantaged youth from school to work in a sustainable way.

The particular approach of the study can be characterised by two basic assumptions:

  • disadvantage is addressed and analysed with regard to the interplay of socio-economic structures, institutional definitions and measures and individual perceptions and strategies
  • learning from comparative analysis and good practice requires that the complexity of ‘regimes’ of transitions to work and mechanisms of path dependency to be taken into account; rather than transferring policy models functional equivalents for success factors are identified.

The thematic study first identifies and clusters key problem constellations in the countries involved; second, current policies and their (mis)match with problems in each of the countries will be assessed; third, factors of success or failure of policies for disadvantaged youth are analysed; finally, recommendations will be developed of how the processes of policy making and practice may profit from ‘good practice’ while considering context-bound specificities.

The outcomes are laid down in a comparative report presenting clusters of disadvantage, assessing related policies and analysing factors of policy success and failure in a way that allows for contextualisation and application. It is complemented by an annex of national briefings containing analysis of disadvantage, assessment of policies and policy recommendations. A consortium of experienced experts carried out the work. The working process included a joint workshop of the consortium and validation meetings of national experts with policy makers and stakeholders in their respective national contexts. The findings were presented and discussed with national and European policy makers and NGO representatives at a concluding seminar held in Brussels.

The research consortium consisted of the following members:

Experts Institution Country
Dr. Siyka Kovacheva New Europe Research Centre, Plovdiv Bulgaria
Andy Biggart School of Policy Studies, University of Ulster UK
Prof. Ilse Julkunen STAKES, Institute of Welfare Research, Helsinki Finland
Octav Marcovici Youth Research Centre, Bucharest Romania
Dr. Bogdan Jung Warsaw School of Economics Poland
Prof. Ladislav Machacek Institute of Sociology, Slovak Academy of Science, Bratislava Slowak Republic
Dr. Luis Capucha ISCTE, Higher Institute for Science of Work and Enterprise, Lisbon Portugal
Prof. Yuri Kazepov Department of Sociology, University of Urbino Italy
Dr. Andreu López Blasco AREA, Asociación Regional y Europea de Análisis, Valencia Spain
Dr. Lorenz Lassnigg, Mag. Mario Steiner Institute of Advanced Studies, Wien Austria
Profs. Sven Moerch, Torben B. Jensen Psychological department, University Kopenhagen Denmark
Prof. Mirjana Ule Centre for Social Psychology, University Ljubljana Slovenia
Penelope Stathakopoulos, Kassandra Teliopoulou IEKEP, Institute of Vocational Training and Guidance, Nea Ionia Griechenland
Coordination: Dr. Andreas Walther, Axel Pohl IRIS, Tübingen Deutschland

Contact: Andreas Walther, Axel Pohl