The Study on sport’s contribution to youth employment is out!

Youth unemployment is one of the most pressing issues in Europe today, with more than 14 million young job seekers currently without work. In 2016 ENGSO Youth has teamed up with the Vrije University of Brussels, Streetfootballworld and VDAB Belgium and formed a European consortium awarded to obtain the Study on the contribution of sport to the employability of young people in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy. After two years of work the study was published on 19 October in English, French and German.

This study investigated sport’s contribution to the employability of young NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy. Its aim was to identify the key components needed to effectively produce outcomes in sport for employability programmes. Across all EU Member States youth unemployment rates are generally much higher than the unemployment rates for other age groups. These developments have serious consequences not only for the individuals concerned but also for society and the wider economy. Long-term unemployment may intensify marginalisation, leading to poverty and even greater risk of social exclusion. Sport contributes to combatting youth unemployment, to enhancing young people's employability and to ensuring labour market participation of vulnerable young people facing specific challenges.

An in-depth investigation was conducted in ten selected case study organisations in eight Member States of the EU. A theoretical framework provided the basis for data collection and analysis. In total, 85 in-depth interviews were conducted in four languages with programme designers, social workers, sport coaches, participants and former participants. Documents, field notes and follow-up interviews provided more understanding of the complexity of the work of these organisations and their programmes. A generic ‘programme theory’ for optimal sport for employability programmes was then developed which identified the key components, mechanisms, relationships and a presumed sequence of causes and effects. Because of its normative nature, the theory serves as a set of guiding principles and recommendations. It can be used as a robust basis for monitoring and evaluating existing programmes, as well as to optimise design and implementation of future initiatives. Insights from this study also provided the basis for a number of policy recommendations.

It is out there - as a pioneer and as a pillar for future, more in-depth and engaging consideration of competences and skills developed through and by sport. This study is the first of its kind as a Europe-wide analysis. You can read it and its executive summary here. If you have any questions about the study, get in touch with Nevena Vukašinović, Vice-Chair of ENGSO Youth and the coordinator of the study at ENGSO Youth.

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