Yesterday, on July 12, 2017, CEOs from business and NGOs gathered in Brussels to reaffirm their continued commitment to the European Pact for Youth, a mutual engagement of business and the European Union leaders, initiated by CSR Europe, to support youth employability and inclusion. The event took place as part of JA Europe's two-day Entrepreneurship Education Summit.
Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, and Viscount Etienne Davignon, Belgian Minister of State and President of CSR Europe co-chaired the meeting, with a speech delivered by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
At the meeting, leaders of the Pact introduced their third Joint Proposal, entitled “Mainstreaming Entrepreneurship in Learning”. The proposal lays out actions that can be taken at the business level, Member State level, and European level to provide young learners with a solid opportunity to develop the transversal and soft skills that are fostered through entrepreneurial education. The fundamental goal of the proposal lies in providing every young person access to an introduction and practical entrepreneurial experience at all levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary level). Amongst other things, the proposal recommends that youth experiences be complemented by leadership and professional development for teachers and school directors, and the permanent establishment of a pan-European Center for Entrepreneurial Learning (building upon the experiences of the EE-HUB.EU led by JA Europe).
On the Joint Proposal brought forth by Pact for Youth partners, Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe, stressed the need for collaboration between the public and private sectors to mainstream entrepreneurship education. “What makes entrepreneurship education distinctive from other subjects addressed in school is that it demands extensive involvement from business, civil society and non-governmental organisations,” Crets stated, “Companies must be proactive in providing practical entrepreneurial experiences for youth, while the soft skills related to entrepreneurship must be strengthened in diverse curricula and day to day life.”
In the same vein, Commissioner Thyssen added: "Entrepreneurial skills are extremely valuable when starting or developing a career. The work achieved by the Pact for Youth is impressive, and we have to keep it up. We need to offer young people all tools available to develop these transversal and soft skills, and both business and education play a crucial role here."
The Leader’s meeting yesterday also served as a time to review progress made on the Pact’s targets that were established in November 2015. At the launch of the Pact, companies and the European Commission set out to form 10,000 quality business-education partnerships with the shared target of creating at least 100,000 new good-quality apprenticeships, traineeships or entry-level jobs. Today, we are pleased to see over 15,238 thriving business-education partnerships, which have resulted in 91,343 new opportunities in the form of traineeships, apprenticeships or entry-level jobs. In addition, several enterprises and organisations have started with the support of the European Commission and in support to the new Erasmus Pro, a pilot project to support the international long-term mobility of apprentices.
CSR Europe, the supporters of the Pact for Youth and EU leadership will continue the work on building a pro-youth, pro-innovation Europe together over the coming months and will present the final results of the European Pact for Youth at the first European Business-Education Summit on November 23, 2017. This summit is being co-hosted by the European Commission and CSR Europe.
The European Pact for Youth is an initiative of the European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Europe) and the European Commission. It brings together representatives for business, education and youth, and the European institutions and calls upon all businesses, social partners, education and training providers, youth organisations, public and private employment services, teachers, trainers, learners and parents as well as other key actors, to develop or consolidate partnerships in support of youth employability and inclusion. Its main objectives are to:
- Boost the number and quality of business-education partnerships
- Reduce the skills gaps
- Contribute to the EU and national policy developments on skills for employability
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About CSR Europe
CSR Europe (www.csreurope.org) is the leading European business network for Corporate Social Responsibility. Through its network of 48 corporate members and 42 National CSR organisations, it gathers over 10,000 companies, and acts as a platform for those businesses looking to enhance sustainable growth and positively contribute to society. Improving STEM skills and promoting quality business-education partnerships is a key priority for CSR Europe, as is reflected in the Pact for Youth launched in 2015.