Diana Filip, Deputy CEO I VP for Marketing and Development, JA Europe
What young people expect from the EU
Tomorrow, on Europe Day, EU Heads of State will renew their commitment to an EU that delivers on the issues that really matter to its citizens. The EU and its Member States are facing challenging times with rising social unrest, paired with weak economic performances. Leaders will need to prioritise to make change happen quickly, visibly and sustainably.
Ahead of the Informal European Council in Sibiu, the European Commission’s Eurobarometer gathered the views of young Europeans on how to build a stronger, more united Europe. This is what they say:
“Young people expect schools to prepare them for employment and to think critically. They consider the main shortcomings of schools currently to be not dedicating enough attention to entrepreneurship and financial competences; and climate change, environment and eco-friendly behaviours”.
Indeed, one out of two young Europeans upholds that the most important thing schools should offer young people is adequate preparation for employment. Almost 50% of young Europeans are calling for the promotion of creativity, adaptability and an entrepreneurial mind-set.
Entrepreneurship education is part of the solution
The feedback from these young Europeans sounds very familiar to us at JA Europe. In a recent survey we conducted together with ERT, the European Round Table of Industrialists, themed “Why Europe matters for youth” 4,500 young people confirmed that youth employment (78%) was a key priority for them.
We are convinced about the need to prepare young people for their future work life. For the last 100 years, JA has provided young people with education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. In the last school year alone, the JA network in Europe reached more than 4 million young people across 40 countries, with the support of 140,000 business volunteers and 130,000 teachers and educators.
Beyond preparing young Europeans for a brighter future, entrepreneurship education can also contribute towards a brighter future for the EU. The “Why Europe matters” survey also demonstrated that young people with an entrepreneurship education experience readily grasp the benefits of the EU and are more positive about the future of the EU.
As Heads of State gather in Romania to repeat their pledge to an EU that delivers on the issues that matter to citizens, JA Europe calls for an improved intake of entrepreneurship education at the national level, across Europe. We recommend that every young person should have at least one practical entrepreneurial experience before leaving school.
We believe that Europe’s youth remains the EU’s greatest source of inspiration and opportunity. Only by engaging with the visions, concerns and ideas of our young citizens, can Europe overcome its challenges and renew its confidence.
For more details, please check out the full policy recommendations of our Entrepreneurship Education hub of experts, the EE-HUB. http://www.ee-hub.eu/