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September 12, 2015 - 6:00 PM
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Switzerland: Youth Unemployment Strategy

While other OECD countries have youth unemployment rates (well) above the labour market average, Switzerland has youth unemployment of just three percent (the EU average is 23 percent). Part of the reason appears to be the apprenticeship program, which graduates roughly 70 percent of Swiss youth (aged 15 to 24).

This ‘dual track’ system, which combines school-based education with in-company training for vocational and professional streams, reduces youth unemployment and adult poverty (on account of the close relationship between the former and the latter). Swiss youth who complete the program are three times less likely to be unemployed, research shows.

Check out: This synopsis of youth unemployment success published in the Journal of Lifelong Learning in Europe 

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Economic and Social Costs of Youth Unemployment

There are significant economic and social costs to long-term youth unemployment. Lower overall career earnings, less opportunity for skills development are lower career prospects are obvious concerns. Recent studies have even pointed to a severe ‘scarring’ effect chronic unemployment has on young people, fostering feelings of distrust among social and political institutions and stoking unrest.

There are significant economic and social costs to long-term youth unemployment. Lower overall career earnings, less opportunity for skills development are lower career prospects are obvious concerns. Recent studies have even pointed to a severe ‘scarring’ effect chronic unemployment has on young people, fostering feelings of distrust among social and political institutions and stoking unrest.

Check out: Assessing the Long Term Cost of Youth Unemployment, Special Report by TD Economics

Check out: Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013: A Generation at Risk, by the International Labour Organization

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Regional Experiences with Youth Unemployment

In 2013, 387,000 young people (between 15 and 24 years old) looked, but couldn’t find a job. The youth unemployment rate – while having declined from 15% to 13.7% in recent years – is still frustratingly high.

Worse: the overall Canadian youth ‘employment rate’ (the number of youth employed as a share of the working age population) remains the lowest it has been in more than a decade. It’s worth noting that youth employment trends vary from province to province (even from region to region). Various studies have explored these geographical trends more carefully.

Check out: Les jeunes qui ne sont ni étudiants ni employés, par Mario Jodoin

Check out: Young Workers in Newfoundland and Labrador: Sinking, Swimming, or Treading Water?  By Erika Shaker

Check out: The Young and the Jobless: Youth Unemployment in Ontario, by Sean Geobey

Check out: Young, unemployed and losing hope in BC's boom economy, by Mike Chisholm

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Youth Unemployment in Canada

Canada’s job market performance has been underwhelming since the 2008 recession. Un- and underemployment remains frustratingly high, in many regions of the country.

Canada’s job market performance has been underwhelming since the 2008 recession. Un- and underemployment remains frustratingly high, in many regions of the country.

Overall employment, by various measures, has still not returned to pre-recession levels. Job opportunities are increasingly hard to come by, and are increasingly found in low-wage and precarious positions, with limited mobility. Too many today are giving up the search for work. These are worrying trends in the labour market that appear to have disproportionately impacted Canada’s youth – who have recently entered (or about to enter) the world of work.

Watch this: Generation Jobless, presented by CBC Doc Zone (approx. 45 minutes)

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