On 31 October 2018, TEPSA, CRPE and the Roma Enterprise Development Initiative (REDI) jointly organised a public event entitled “Mind the Gap – Facilitating access to Youth Guarantee measures for Roma youth in Romania” with the support of the Europe for Citizens programme. The event was structured in two main sessions: one town hall meeting engaging Roma youth and a round table meant to foster partnerships among local authorities on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee program.
The first part benefited from the participation of 40 Roma youth Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETS) aged 16-24 years old, from several villages from Prahova County as well as Ploiesti city. They were divided in four groups and together with the facilitators engaged in a discussion on their plans for future – labor wise (return to school, get a job, get an internship/apprenticeship, start a business), the encountered and perceived obstacles to their goals and what needed to be changed in order for them to reach them. Their ideas were written down on colored pieces of paper and in the end the facilitators centralized the ideas and reached the main conclusions on each category.
The main findings are related to:
- the necessity for the Public Employment Services to organize job fairs and awareness campaigns in rural areas and disadvantaged communities, not only in the cities;
- the necessity for subsidized shuttle service organized the employer for those who live in rural or disadvantaged areas, especially those who finish work late at night;
- the necessity for those who have completed only the secondary school to finish high-school in the framework of special Second Chance programs, which would allow them to also work;
- the need to stimulate employers to engage in apprenticeships and practice programmes, but also in the dual education system;
- more effective relevant institutions (PES) should communicate information related to apprenticeships, training and work on social media and on the channels in which youth communicate nowadays;
- the necessity to organize subsidized training courses in areas in high demand on the labor market;
- the necessity to revive psycho-pedagogical counseling in high schools;
While the first session was dedicated to a practical approach on the needs of Roma youth and solutions to their problems related to education, training and work, the second session was related to the facilitation of partnerships with local authorities with respect to the implementation of Youth Guarantee measures 2017-2020.
The second part was designed as a round table and attended by representatives of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Romania, the Public Employment Agency (AJOFM Prahova), Prahova County Office for Roma and local NGOs for youth. Together, these relevant stakeholders debated the national implementation of the Youth Guarantee programme.