Brazil: Investing in youth

English: The logo of the Organisation for Econ...
English: The logo of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brazil’s strong economic growth has helped cut the youth unemployment rate over the past decade to levels below those of most OECD countries. Increased investment in education and vocational training is also helping young people get a foot in the jobs market, according to a new OECD report.

“Investing in Youth: Brazil”, analyses the youth labour market and education system in Brazil. It highlights innovative measures that Brazil has taken to strengthen the skills of youth and their job prospects, and offers recommendations to improve school‑to‑work transitions.

Launching the report in Brasília with Labour and Employment Minister Manoel Dias, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “Brazil’s investment in education over the years and continued efforts to strengthen the labour market and encourage formalisation are bearing fruit. Educational attainment has risen steadily and unemployment is at historically low levels. Giving young people a good start in their working life and encouraging employers to invest in youth will equip the young generation with the tools they need to share in the fruits of economic growth.

The report makes three key recommendations for action:

  • Ensure that all young people leave school with the skills required in the labour market. This will demand further investment in education, a reduction in drop‑out rates and increases in the proportion of youth graduating from vocational education and apprenticeships.
  • Create more favourable conditions for employers to hire and invest in youth. International experience points to areas for policy action, including reducing the cost to employers of hiring youth, particularly the low-skilled and those on training contracts, either through a youth minimum wage, targeted wage subsidies, or lower social security contributions; providing incentives for investments in training; and relaxing rules around the use of temporary agency work.
  • Help young people find and hold on to quality jobs. Policy options in this area include strengthening the public employment services; actively reaching out to disengaged youth and intervening early; providing financial assistance to young job‑seekers; promoting and supporting entrepreneurial activities; and encouraging the labour market participation of young women by providing more high‑quality childcare.

The report highlights several initiatives which are already producing results. Large increases in funding have been accompanied by efforts to achieve a more equitable allocation of resources, attract better teachers into the profession, and offer increased incentives for young people to attend school. Vocational training programmes have been given a boost through the ambitious PRONATEC programme. ProJovem reaches out to school drop-outs, raises their educational attainment and gives them the skills needed in the workplace.

Source: OECD News

Read the speech: Investing in youth

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