Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, due to begin in January 2014, has been approved by the European Parliament. 

Aimed at boosting skills, employability and supporting the modernisation of education, training and youth systems, the seven-year programme will have a budget of €14.7 billion - 40% higher than current levels. More than 4 million people will receive support to study, train, work or volunteer abroad, including 2 million higher education students, 650 000 vocational training students and apprentices, as well as more than 500 000 going on youth exchanges or volunteering abroad. Students planning a full Master's degree abroad, for which national grants or loans are seldom available, will benefit from a new loan guarantee scheme run by the European Investment Fund.

Erasmus+ will also provide funding for education and training staff, youth workers and for partnerships between universities, colleges, schools, enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations.
"I am pleased that the European Parliament has adopted Erasmus+ and proud that we have been able to secure a 40% budget increase compared with our current programmes. This demonstrates the EU's commitment to education and training. Erasmus+ will also contribute to the fight against youth unemployment by giving young people the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills through experience abroad. As well as providing grants for individuals, Erasmus+ will support partnerships to help people make the transition from education to work, and reforms to modernise and improve the quality of education in Member States. This is crucial if we are to equip our young generation with the qualifications and skills they need to succeed in life," said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Erasmus+ has three main targets: two-thirds of the budget is allocated to learning opportunities abroad for individuals, within the EU and beyond; the remainder will support partnerships between educational institutions, youth organisations, businesses, local and regional authorities and NGOs, as well as reforms to modernise education and training and to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability.

The new Erasmus+ programme combines all the EU's current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for cooperation with industrialised countries). This will make it easier for applicants to understand the opportunities available, while other simplifications will also facilitate access.

Erasmus+ who benefits?
  • 2 million higher education students will be able to study or train abroad, including 450,000 traineeships;
  • 650 000 vocational students and apprentices will receive grants to study, train or work abroad;
  • 800 000 school teachers, lecturers, trainers, education staff and youth workers to teach or train abroad;
  • 200 000 Master's degree students doing a full course in another country will benefit from loan guarantees;
  • More than 500 000 young people will be able to volunteer abroad or participate in youth exchanges;
  • More than 25 000 students will receive grants for joint master's degrees, which involve studying in at least two higher education institutions abroad;
  • 125 000 schools, vocational education and training institutions, higher and adult education institutions, youth organisations and enterprises will receive funding to set up 25 000 'strategic partnerships' to promote the exchange of experience and links with the world of work;
  • 3 500 education institutions and enterprises will get support to create more than 300 'Knowledge Alliances' and 'Sector Skills Alliances' to boost employability, innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • 600 partnerships in sport, including European non-profit events, will also receive funding.

Source: European Commission

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Your first EURES Job

Your first EURES job is based on support from national employment services – information, job search, recruitment, funding – for both young jobseekers and businesses interested in recruiting from outside their home country. Funding is subject to conditions and procedures put in place by these services.

Who qualifies for support?

Jobseekers who are:
  • aged 18-30
  • EU nationals
  • legally living in an EU country
Employers who are:
  • a legally established business in an EU country
  • looking for workers with a specific profile they can't find in their home country
  • offering minimum 6-month contracts, with pay and conditions compliant with national labour law
What support is available?

  • Job matching and job placement support
  • Funding towards the costs of an interview trip and/or of moving abroad to take up a new job
  • Training (languages, soft skills)
  • Recruitment support
  • Small and medium businesses (companies with up to 250 employees) may apply for financial support to cover part of the cost of training newly-recruited workers and helping them settle in
Placement with European institutions and bodies and other international policy, economic, social and scientific organisations (e.g. United Nations bodies, OECD, Council of Europe, ILO or similar) as well as supra-national regulatory bodies and their agencies is ineligible.

How to participate?
The employment services implementing Your first EURES job as well as the relevant information points in the EU countries are listed below.

If your country does not yet offer these services, you can contact any of the organizations hereunder.


Youth on the Move

Youth on the Move is a comprehensive package of policy initiatives on educationand employment for young people in Europe. Launched in 2010, it is part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.


  1. making education and training more relevant to young people's needs
  2. encouraging more of them to take advantage of EU grants to study or train in another country
  3. encouraging EU countries to take measures simplifying the transition from education to work.
  1. Coordinating policy to identify and stimulate action at EU and national level;
  2. Specific actions designed for young people – such as the preparatory action 'Your first EURES job' for labour market mobility within the EU, and increased support for young entrepreneurs via the European progress microfinance facility.
Why focus on young people?
  1. Around 5.5 million young people are unemployed in the EU, which means that 1 in 5 people under 25 who are willing to work cannot find a job.
  2. The unemployment rate among young people is over 20% – double the rate for all age groups combined and nearly 3 times the rate for the over-25s.
  3. 7.5 million people aged 15 to 24 are currently neither in a job nor in education or training.

Youth on the Move aims to improve young people’s education and employability, to reduce high youth unemployment and to increase the youth-employment rate – in line with the wider EU target of achieving a 75% employment rate for the working-age population (20-64 years) – by


The EU promises cash to fight youth unemployment | DW.DE |

The EU promises cash to fight youth unemployment | Europe | DW.DE | 23.10.2013: "There are several ways the money can be spent to fight youth unemployment. For example, it can be used to subsidize employee wages or social-security costs. Start-up entrepreneurs could be supported with credits and consultation. Or the money could be invested in better vocational training, an area in which some countries are weak.
Here, Germany's highly regarded dual education and training system, in which apprentices continue their education while gaining hands-on experience, could serve as a model.
"We are trying to expand the dual system to companies with locations all over Europe," said Max Uebe, head of the European Commission's office for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. "We are trying to export this successful system into countries with no or little experience with it."

Fears over lack of skilled labour | Herald Scotland

Fears over lack of skilled labour | Herald Scotland: "A TALENT mismatch is ­hampering economic recovery because of a shortage of skilled labour to fill posts in key infrastructure projects, a leading employment agency has claimed.

Hays claims that for some ­engineering, construction and IT projects, it is having to look to Ireland and other European countries for applicants to fill jobs.

The new Queensferry Crossing, Edinburgh Trams and offshore and onshore renewables projects are said to be generating significant employment in engineering and IT, but it is claimed Scotland and the rest of the UK is suffering among the worst skills gaps in Europe.

The Hays Global Skill Index 2013 claims that, despite the economy coming out of recovery and job opportunities being created, there are still areas where skills are unavailable.

However, the Scottish ­Government claimed last night "impressive progress" was being made in the area and said youth employment levels were eighth out of 28 EU countries.

The company's report, The Great Skills Mismatch, claims the only countries in Europe facing a greater talent mismatch than the UK are economies badly affected by the eurozone crisis such as Spain, Portugal and Ireland."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The curious case of European youth unemployment: an inconvenient truth

Youth on the move… but where to?
One last, but persisting, political contradiction is to be noted. Part of the Europe 2020 strategy is to promote ‘youth on the move’ and social inclusion. Let’s bring forth from the shadows Regulation No. 1408/71 on the freedom of movement for workers and equal social rights. Since 1971, workers’ mobility has formed part of the Union’s basic principles. Yet, embroiled in the political debate of social mobility, national governments such as the UK Coalition have recently launched proposals for reform on immigration control.
To top it all off, the worrying rise in anti-immigration discourse and the resurgence of far-right political parties, such as the French National Front or the Greek Golden Dawn, have constrained the debates into protectionist fetters. Prospects for migrant and youth labour markets today are six of one, half a dozen of the other. Xenophobia and racism put the EU project of workers’ ‘mobility’ or ‘immigration’ – in whichever way politicians decide to label it – under vehement pressure and unsafe waters. What is clear is that the situation plays into the hands of radical parties.

Keep calm and…browse
So what next? The onus is on both sides. Recruiters and new graduate to new graduate. Firstly, let’s face the facts: European universities need to increase their competitive output. The Economist stated that, in 2011, only 2 European universities – the traditional Oxbridge tandem – were ranked among the world’s top 10 universities. A complete overhaul of university criteria and educational systems is needed. Secondly, a tailor-made labour market must be created. Positive economists assert that economic recovery is under way. Fantastic news. Now such hope should give adequate momentum for young cutting-edge entrepreneurs to kick off their start-ups. Likewise, the mushrooming of speculative bonds in the financial market should be an opportunity for companies to invest a greater amount in youth working potential.
I remain quite sceptical about the latest craze on ‘voluntary work’ or the ‘work for free’ approach. Androulla Vassiliou, member of the European Commission responsible for Education and Youth, calls for ‘increased opportunities for volunteering, youth exchanges and other forms of participation for young people’. Surely Ms Vassiliou could better justify her Commissioner’s salary with more elaborate options for young hard workers?
The emergence of new projects, such as the Youth Mentoring and Apprenticeship Programme, is encouraging companies to invest in Mentoring and Apprenticeship (M&A). The Commission plans to grant professional cards to specific professionals in order to increase the mobility of EU workers across the Union, notably among nurses and engineers. National schemes are pushed forward too. In the UK, eight core cities agreed to sign the Youth Contract, enabling local young employees to enter into local businesses. However ambitious and honourable these projects may look, they remain at an embryonic stage.
Last but not least, while it is true that young job seekers remain at the mercy of a dysfunctional technocratic elite, it is also certain that youth has stagnated in a self-complacent pessimism. Budding job seekers will need to adapt, and acknowledge that the digitalisation of all professions and the spread of social media have become the high yield nerve centre of growth. They should orientate their job-hunting accordingly and target those winning industries. I, for one, should formulate career backup plans, remain plugged in and browse the varying opportunities that are on offer.

ip of the iceberg…
To this day, no European leader has convincingly articulated concrete measures for fear of losing office. A crisis of democratic legitimacy and a leadership vacuum are impeding any fast-track solutions. Most national governments across the EU are battling voters’ general disenchantment with the political class. Yet, “the beginning of every government starts with the education of our youth”. Were Pythagoras still alive, he could certainly teach this to some of our European political leaders today.

Source: The curious case of European youth unemployment: an inconvenient truth - The World Outline | The World Outline

Monday, August 26, 2013

Technical Interview / Technical Assessment

Technical interviews or technical assessments are interviews in which the candidate is tested for his skills and knowledge.
They are usually done by knowledgeable or very experienced employees to

  • young graduates, whose universities are not well known
  • engineers who are coming from other countries and they have different way or working techniques
  • engineers who are trying to do a big career step or change

How to prepare for a technical assessment
The assessment might be done with one of the two following ways

  1. Assessment on CV skills: in that case you have to review all skills mentioned at your CV and to be able to back them up during the interview. Review old projects and study notes.
  2. Assessment based on a generic assignment that will be part of your future job: you have to carefully review the tasks and responsibilities which are written at the job description and based on those to get prepared accordingly. For example, if you have to do C# coding then you might get asked to design a simple program (depends on the job experience level) and if you have to design electronic systems for a specific industry then you might get asked to design something based on given requirements.

SKYPE interviews

Skype interviews are the preferred interviews for candidates who leave in other countries than the location of the employer. They are very popular as first interviews because they can save both time and money.

The fact that you are not getting outside your house it does not mean that you do not have to get dressed properly for an interview. The requiter asked you to have a Skype interview because he/she wants to see you. So make sure that you look presentable.

Do not forget that a Skype interview is supposed to be the same as a face-to-face interview. So all interview rules about body language, eye contact (try to look at the camera as much as possible, increase the distance between you and the camera if needed) apply here, too.

Make sure that your internet connection is working properly, including your hardware.
Make a test call a day before the interview at about the time of the interview. That will indicate you how the background looks, whether the lighting is enough and if there is any noise you sound take care of (if you leave with other people in the same house, notify them at about the time of the interview to be quite). It looks really bad when there are technical problems which you cannot solve fast and efficiently... especially when you are interviewed for an engineering job!

Tips: include your Skype address at your CV. If you do not want to give your personal Skype address, then make a new one with a neat naming and picture.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

EURES - Links to National Employment Services