Young jobless demand government action
Young people out of work in Switzerland have urged Economics Minister Joseph Deiss to take action to improve their plight.
According to government figures, around 30,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed – a fifth of the total jobless figure for the country.
On Thursday, a delegation from the Committee against Youth Unemployment handed the minister an open letter, with a list of proposals to get more young people back into work.
The group is demanding a ten per cent increase in the number of places at vocational training schools and better links between schools and employers.
It is also campaigning for those who have finished their apprenticeships to be able to stay on with firms for a further year.
“I am taking the problem of youth unemployment very seriously,” said Deiss, speaking after Thursday’s meeting in the capital, Bern.
He said the issue, as well as the lack of apprenticeship places, would be discussed during talks between the cabinet and the four main political parties later this month.
Since the 1990s, the jobless rate among 15- to 24-year-olds has continued to rise. The figure currently stands at 5.1 per cent, against a national average of 4.0 per cent.
The economics minister admitted that one of his biggest concerns was the number of young people without any form of training.
“We want to concentrate our resources on those who are looking for an apprenticeship place and who have gaps [in their education] to fill,” said Deiss.
His ministry aims to double the number of places available for so-called “motivation classes” and work experience.
It also wants to improve language skills among young foreigners, who are one of the groups worst affected by unemployment.
Emilie Moeschler of the Young Swiss Social Democrats, who attended Thursday’s meeting, said she had been encouraged by Deiss’s reaction to delegation’s concerns.
“Youth unemployment is a recognised problem, which cannot be resolved by goodwill alone,” she said.
swissinfo with agencies
Around 30,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed in Switzerland.
This is about 10% more than at the same time last year.
Since 1997, the government has been funding “motivation classes” for young people looking for work.
Teenagers are not entitled to claim unemployment benefit for six months after leaving school, but they can attend these classes if they register as jobless.
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