Youth initiative

01 May 2008

The recruitment of qualified young people is vital for the construction industry if it is to remain competitive and innovative. However, European construction companies often experience difficulties in recruiting competent and qualified young people, even though there is sometimes high unemployment in this age group. This curious combination of unfilled job vacancies and unemployment points to the need for specific education, vocational training and campaigning to attract and retain young people in the sector.

This issue is one of the factors that led to the development and adoption of the European Youth Pact initiative at the recent Tripartite Social Summit and the European Spring Council, which took place from 22 to 23 March in Brussels. Its aim is to improve the education, training, mobility, vocational integration and social inclusion of young Europeans and to ensure the overall consistency of initiatives in these areas.

FIEC and the European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW), the European-level construction social partners, support the European Youth Pact. During their Social Dialogue Working Group on Vocational Training held on 7 March, FIEC and EFBWW adopted a joint statement aimed at formalising their support. With this statement, they also committed themselves to implement a series of initiatives through their member federations.

THE STATEMENT READS:

EFBWW and FIEC, being recognised by the European Commission as the social partners respectively representing the workers and the employers in the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in the Construction Industry, agree as follows:

THAT WHEREAS

• in order to be able to effectively carry out construction works and to remain a competitive and innovative industry, the recruitment of qualified young people is vital for the continued prosperity of the sector; and • that promoting a more attractive image of the sector is fundamental to attracting young people who should be encouraged to choose education and training schemes which properly prepare them for a career in construction; and • that young people, on completion of their training, must by all means be encouraged to remain in the sector once having entered it.

HEREBY CONFIRM their long term involvement in favour of young people, as has already been demonstrated by the two joint initiatives recently undertaken by the Social Partners, namely: • the promotion of tutorship schemes through the industry with the aim of improving the mentoring and retention of young workers in the sector; and • the organisation of an exchange of best practices during the construction social dialogue committee meeting held on 7 March as concerns activities in favour of young people developed at national level by certain member federations.

HEREBY AGREE to implement the following initiatives through their member federations: • the provision of adequate information to young people about the construction sector in such manner as to raise the image of the sector and thereby attract them; • the promotion of education and training programmes to ensure an adequate level of qualifications among young workers; • to encourage and to motivate young workers and ensure their employability inside the sector through continuous training; • the provision of supporting measures for young people to assist them in obtaining employment in the construction sector; • the continuation of awareness raising initiatives among employers towards lifelong learning, career development and the job security of young people”.

It is not the first time that FIEC and EFBWW have launched an initiative aimed at attracting young people into the industry. Following the identification of difficulties in the recruitment and long-term integration of young people in the sector, and in view of responding to the sector's image problems, FIEC and EFBWW took the decision in 2002 to promote the development of tutorship in building and public works companies. They developed a brochure with the aim of providing the construction sector's social partners and businesses with information and tools to help them develop and promote tutorship schemes.

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