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EXCEPT Report Summary

Project ID: 649496
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EXCEPT (Social Exclusion of Youth in Europe: Cumulative Disadvantage, Coping Strategies, Effective Policies and Transfer)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Against the background of increasing labour market insecurities among youth during the recent crisis, the aim of this interdisciplinary and internationally comparative project is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the consequences of youth labour market vulnerability to the risk of social exclusion in Europe. A multidimensional dynamic perspective on both the objective and subjective dimensions of the social exclusion of young people has been adopted in order to identify the complex interrelationships and potential risks of cumulative disadvantages and possible compensatory mechanisms. Specifically, the implications of labour market insecurities which put youth at risk of poverty and material deprivation, affect their subjective well-being and health status as well as their ability to reach independence from the parental home, are all being investigated in a mixed-method approach. First, qualitative interviews are being conducted with youths from nine selected European countries, including Ukraine, in order to reach an in-depth understanding of how disadvantaged youths perceive their social situation and try to cope with it in differing economic, institutional and cultural environments. Second, quantitative methods are being applied using EU-28 and national micro-data in order to identify the causal interrelationships and dynamic processes of youth’s social exclusion in different national contexts. Third, the diffusion and effectiveness of EU and national policies that address various issues of youth social exclusion are being assessed in the EU-28, based on expert interviews and policy evaluation analyses.
A central objective of this comparative project is to learn about examples of best practices and provide suggestions for reforms and policies that help in improving the social situation of young people who face labour market insecurities; and also, to involve young people’s own voices in this process. By involving and addressing different stakeholder groups at all stages of the project, the dissemination of results will be ensured.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first year of the Project a large part of the work has been connected to creating an overview of existing theoretical and empirical literature relevant to the problem of youth labour market vulnerability and its implications on other areas of life. Besides literature reviews extensive data analysis on the same problem has been performed using various data bases and methods. As a result of the work described above eight deliverables, having an aim of obtaining a more refined understanding of how young people’s experiences of early job insecurity and labour market exclusion translate into other multiple risks of social exclusion have been submitted. In addition, three confidential deliverables were made public and two new additional deliverables were published in an EXCEPT working paper series, in order to open up the Project’s output to a contribution of dialogue from the wider public.
Secondly, we aim to bring in the perspective of the youth themselves. EXCEPT employs various strategies in order to learn more about this research topic from the youth’s point of view and to involve them in the Project. Vulnerable groups of youth is given a voice in the qualitative survey in nine project countries to express their feelings and experiences with respect to social exclusion. Young people in difficulties on labour market are being interviewed from the beginning of October 2015. The interviewing will end in June 2016. The results of the survey will be available in the next reporting period. To address wider circle of youth EXCEPT uses the approach of Young Person Advisory Board. The approach covers a wide set of activities with the intention to engage youth in dialogue in a way which is suitable to them. During the first year of the project a Europe-wide photo competition has been launched encouraging young people to share their view on what becoming an adult means nowadays. In addition to that different events have been organized, such as Graffiti Wall, rant box and focus groups etc, all intended to further promote the dialogue. Also, representatives of youth organizations belong to the Scientific and Policy Advisory Board. The instruments used in the survey of youth and survey of policy experts have been discussed with them during project meetings and also during additional work seminars and initiatives. Students in our partner countries are engaged in discussing EXCEPT research.
The policy aims of the EXCEPT project are to investigate to what extent policies, which address the problems of youth social exclusion, are embraced by the EU28 and Ukraine, and to assess their capability of fighting youth labour market problems and related multiple risks of social exclusion: and furthermore, to present ideas for improving existing policy measures, recommending more effective and innovative policy initiatives to help overcome youth labour market problems and the related risks of social exclusion in Europe. During the first year of the project the conceptual framework for policy analysis was developed and EU initiatives for promoting youth employment were described and submitted as internal deliverables. Also, desk research to comprise a literature review was done. In the later stage of the project it is foreseen to collect 28 national reports from all EU member states. During the first year of the project a template for this report was developed and piloted in Bulgaria. Overview of meta-analysis of active labour market programs was shared with wider public in form of working paper no. 5. We have launched our first policy brief as well as scientific articles which have also clear policy relevance. For example, in their Open-Access article published in European Sociological Review Michael Gebel and Johannes Giesecke evaluated the effectiveness of employment protection reforms for youth labour markets throughout Europe. Based on two-step, three-level analyses using micro-data from the European Labour Force Survey for 19 European countries for the period from 1992 to 2012, results show that deregulating the use of temporary contracts increased temporary employment risks of youths but did not reduce (for low-educated young men, even increased) unemployment risks. In contrast, some evidence is found that decreasing the protection of permanent jobs was successful in decreasing risks of inequality/insecurity (in terms of temporary jobs) without affecting the risks of labour market exclusion. An additional finding is that structural factors, such as GDP growth and economic globalization, have a strong impact on youth labour market outcomes. This underlines that overall economic policies are very relevant for youth labour market chances.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The project’s first expected impact is to help in formulating and implementing policies relevant for meeting the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy. Regarding the risks of social exclusion, the Europe 2020 integrated guidelines for economic and employment policies propagate active inclusion policies for most vulnerable groups, such as disadvantaged young people. Besides this EU level initiative, a large array of policy measures in different education, labour market and social policy fields exists at national and regional levels, which aims to improve youth labour market integration and social inclusion. Against this background the second central research question emerges, which consists in the effects and effectiveness of these policies, which we aim to address throughout the duration of various activities to be carried out by the Project.

Other expected impacts are as follows:
- supporting of collaboration, networking and mobility among researchers.
- inclusion of the relevant communities, stakeholders, and practitioners in the research activities.
- provision of input and resources for mutual learning between Member States and Associated Countries with regard to the design of relevant policies and programmes.
- involvement of the voice of youth more strongly in policy making and implementation.

In order to make the EXCEPT project deliver its impacts properly, there are two necessary central assumptions. The first assumption is that the inter-disciplinary consortium manages to collaborate successfully. During the first year of the Project, we have contributed to the emergence of a research community among researchers from various disciplines and from different countries. Thus, a central task for the Project Coordinator has been to make sure that the inter-disciplinary context is always taken into account when discussing and defining the tasks to be fulfilled. The second assumption is that there will be a continuous exchange between the scientists involved in EXCEPT and the relevant communities, stakeholders and practitioners. The Coordinator, the Co-coordinator & the Lead of the Dissemination Working Package ensured a successful exchange by continuously supplying information about the state of project, which is disseminated through appropriate channels. The practitioners participating in the Advisory Board have been invited to the project meetings. Finally, The Young Person Advisory Board is an approach adopted by the EXCEPT project to reach various groups of youth in order to engage youth in dialogue in a way which is suitable to the youth themselves, in order to bring their voice to the policy making.
At this point, no external factors are known that may determine whether the expected impacts of the EXCEPT project will be achieved.

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