European Pact for Youth – Updates

BITCI News - Strategy - Oct 31, 2018

Business in the Community IrelandBITCI held a stakeholder round table on October 10th as a follow up for those who attended the first EU Business-Education Summit in Brussels in November 2017. At this Summit CSR Europe, the EU Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament launched the European Pact for Youth national action plans of member states, including Ireland’s.

The European Pact for Youth (P4Y) is a mutual engagement of business and the European Union leaders. Initiated by CSR Europe, it brought together representatives of business, education and youth, and the European institutions.  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, were called upon to develop or consolidate partnerships in support of youth employability and inclusion.

The objectives of the European P4Y are to:

  1. Boost the number and quality of business-education partnerships
  2. Reduce the skills gap
  3. Contribute to the EU and national policy developments on skills for employability.

Ireland’s national action plan can be read here.  The roundtable was kindly hosted by IBM and the focus was to discuss what is needed to take the implementation of Ireland’s national action plan to the next stage. The focus of the forum was to consider how stakeholders can collaborate at a higher level to ensure the impacts and outcomes are richer and stronger than working in isolation supporting:  school-business partnerships, apprenticeships, new collar jobs and entry level/placement/traineeships.

Attendees included M&S, Boots, Symantec, Accenture, IBM, ESB, Arup, Tusla, Department of Education & Skills, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Junior Achievement and Young Social Innovators.

Key recommendations were: 

  • A clear template, framework and roadmap for apprenticeships is needed and more of the ‘new’ apprenticeships are required e.g. for the retail sector.
  • Apprenticeships need to be promoted with stronger positive messaging in order to challenge and change widely held perceptions in Irish society.
  • Businesses need to engage earlier with schools in order to develop soft skills and to provide them with a solid insight into Ireland’s changing industries and the many opportunities that exist.. It was agreed that  business insights in senior cycle can often be too late.  The message was strong for business is to engage early so as to prevent youth disconnecting with their education and learning.
  • Quality work experience and more work placement programmes are urgently needed.
  • There was an innovative suggestion that Ireland should consider providing transition year at 2nd year rather than post Junior Certificate.
  • There is a need to promote the fact that the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation provide grants to employers when providing employment to people with various disabilities
  • There is a need to also assist on employment pathways for those with disabilities or special needs. There is currently 80% unemployment amongst those living with autism.
  • In order to promote a new vision of the education to workplace continuum, more diverse styles of education are needed, blending both worlds and inspiring young people on the future of work.
  • Alongside business supported initiatives on STEM and work-related abilities, a strong emphasis is needed on promoting soft skills, resilience, confidence and creativity.

BITCI has a team who lead on school-business engagement in Ireland with over 200 businesses participating and 59 of those partnerships have been maintained for longer than 10 years.  There is a commitment from our members and our strategic partners to consider the roundtable outcomes.  Further follow up actions will take place and BITCI will continue to update its network on progress.

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