Week Four Prompt: Please write about your country's youth employment situation, remedies, and the availability of youth programs in general.
Youth unemployment, defined as ages 15-29 by the National Youth Strategy (2020), has been very high in Bulgaria. Statistics from 2015 report the highest percentage at 22.5% unemployed in March 2015, and its lowest at 20.4% unemployment in September (tradingeconomics.com). According to the Employment, Social Affairs, & Inclusion report, Unemployment appears to be slightly decreasing since 2014. However, with the Eurozone in flux, these numbers likely change with every quarter.
In response to this high unemployment rate, the Bulgarian government partakes in and EU-wide program to support young people not in employment or educational training, in regions with unemployment rates above 25%. This program, The Youth Employment Initiative (2012), is support by the European Commission to implement the Youth Guarantee schemes. Under Youth Guarantee, member states are encouraged to put measures in place to ensure good quality employment offers, continued education, or an apprenticeship/traineeship within four months of leaving school or being unemployed (EU Commission).
For the year 2014-2015, Bulgaria, with support from the European Commission and several other countries, requested an advance of one billion euros to the YEI, for use by all member states. This was meant to speed up the implementation time for the Youth Guarantee scheme created by the EU institutions. The funding can directly support high-quality traineeships and apprenticeships (the meaning of ‘support’ is unclear), placement for first job post-college, start-up support for young entrepreneurs, and educational training. According to the Country Sheet on Youth Policy in Bulgaria, (2012), the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Science is responsible for youth initiatives and programs, including their implementation. The Ministry’s goal is to make Bulgaria attractive to all young people by establishing economic and educational opportunities.