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 27 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 and Spain.
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%.