The Fund for Youth Employment contributes to sustainable and quality youth employment in Europe. Unlike the ordinary programmes funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, this €60.61 million fund has a transnational focus. It helps entities across Europe to pool their efforts and find new ways to reduce youth unemployment.
In 2020, the Fund for Youth Employment achieved its halfway mark. It has been an active and challenging year for the 25 projects that are being implemented.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on many of the project activities, especially those targeting the most vulnerable target groups, such as unemployed youth. The 25 projects were forced to adapt their efforts to improve the employment situation of young people Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs). Project partners have shown great resilience to ensure the continued quality implementation of their projects. By shifting face-to-face activities and training sessions to online formats, they have been able to turn some of the current challenges into opportunities.
In September 2020, a second open call for proposals received more than 130 applications. The cost of the proposed projects is 16 times higher than the funds available in the call. This success confirms once again, how important it is to keep empowering, supporting and investing in young people through this fund.
To select the best project ideas for funding, the applications will now undergo an assessment and a decision on which projects to support will be taken in June 2021.
“Starting this project, we had planned a clear timeline for our NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training) – a linear path to employment. 2020 taught us that obstacles will come our way and that the journey is more valuable than the goal itself. Despite the adversities this year has brought, many of our participants managed to travel to other islands for their apprenticeships, work in local placements and even find permanent employment.”
Cyprus Energy Agency, Lead Partner
The YENESIS project involves partners from Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, Norway, Estonia, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
“The YOUTHShare project partnership developed the COVID-19_Regional_Labour dashboard. It continuously monitors the expansion of the pandemic and its impact upon the NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training) situation in Southern Europe. This data feeds the YOUTHShare Transnational Employment Centre and its branches in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Spain, allowing for more effective and tailor-made support and training for NEETs.”
University of the Aegean, Lead Partner
The YOUTHShare project involves partners from Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Norway.
“To our surprise, we managed to digitise our activities and organise a high-quality entrepreneurship development course in an online form. The Young Entrepreneurs Succeed course lasts over 50 hours, it is conducted online with elements of e-learning and it has very good feedback from participants. This would not be possible without the support, cooperation and exchange of experiences of all partner organisations involved in the project.”
Youth Business Poland, Beneficiary Partner
The YES project involves partners from Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The YENESIS project was nominated for the ‘EU Sustainable Energy Award’, awarded by the European Commission in the category ‘Youth: Recognising outstanding activities carried out by young people (under 30).’ YENESIS is helping to reduce unemployment by creating green jobs in these four areas: energy efficiency, renewables, sustainable tourism and mobility. This project involves partners from islands in Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, Norway, Estonia, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
The CODE project won the competition ‘Best in working with young people in 2020’, which was organised by the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science in cooperation with the Agency of International Youth Programmes, the Association of Latvian Municipalities and the Association of the Latvian Youth Council. CODE is giving vulnerable young people at risk of poverty an opportunity to develop digital competences such as 3D animation or game design. This project involves seven partners from Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Italy and Estonia.
The €31.89 million Fund for Regional Cooperation aims to tackle common European challenges through regional, cross-border and transnational cooperation. The Fund for Regional Cooperation is not limited to states involved in the EEA and Norway Grants. It is also open to some non-EEA countries, a first in the history of the Grants.
The Fund invited transnational and cross-border projects covering all 23 programme areas of the EEA and Norway Grants. In April 2020, the Donors finalised the selection of projects, choosing a total of 19 proposals that will be supported under the Fund for Regional Cooperation. So far, 18 projects have been contracted and are now in implementation.
The 19 selected projects cover more than 10 programme areas of the EEA and Norway Grants. Examples of their objectives are:
The COVID-19 pandemic has not had a strong impact so far, as the Fund Operator moved the orientation and training sessions to online formats. However, the pandemic may yet cause postponements and delays in the planned implementation in 2021.
Inclusion Through Sports for Children with Developmental Disabilities
This project will support children with Developmental Disabilities between 6 and 12 years old and help them develop a long-term healthy lifestyle by providing inclusive sporting opportunities. Through 155 Family Health Forums and close to 350 competitions, it will engage more than 5 000 children and 6 000 family members across local communities in Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro. The project will also develop a socially inclusive model for sports participation. Its findings will be shared across the Special Olympics network that is present in 52 countries all over Europe and Eurasia.
Partners: Turkey, Romania, Lithuania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and Iceland.
Joint Effort for Honey Bee Conservation and Selection - BeeConSel
Honey bees have been challenged by severe changes in their natural environment due to monocultures, use of chemicals in agriculture, climate change, urbanisation and pollution. The project BeeConSel aims at using scientifically proven tools and adapting knowledge and experience from Norway and Sweden to establish a tailor-made effective mating control system for bees. This will increase the efficiency of breeding programmes in the selection of traits and ensure higher survival rates of the local honeybees. Mating control is important from two aspects, conservation, and selection as an alternative to chemical control of parasites.
Partners: Slovenia, Croatia, North Macedonia, Norway and Sweden.