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Youth mobility: maximising opportunities for individuals, labour markets and regions in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - YMOBILITY (Youth mobility: maximising opportunities for individuals, labour markets and regions in Europe)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2018-02-28

YMOBILITY was a cross-disciplinary 3-year project that aimed to study youth mobility, considering individuals and regions, causes and effects, and short- and long-term implications, and providing scenarios and policy recommendations. YMOBILITY’s specific objectives were:
• To establish the extent to which individuals consider international mobility to be a key strategy for mediating significant life course transitions. The project has identified the main determinants of who does, versus who does not, migrate as a life course-enhancing strategy
• To provide a comprehensive overview and quantification of the main types of youth mobility in the EU, focusing particularly on three main categories: students, higher-skilled and less-skilled workers
• To identify the outcomes of youth mobility for individuals in terms of: a) their lifelong portfolio of skills and competences; b) their social welfare and health; c) the formation of more European and/or cosmopolitan identities; and d) the transition from youth to full adulthood
• To analyze the short- and long-term regional implications of youth mobility for both sending and destination regions
• To understand, and provide typologies of how individuals would respond to contrasting future migration scenarios, reflecting changing structural and personal circumstances
• To provide evidence-based recommendations for migration and flanking policies that will help to maximize the opportunities, and minimize the costs, associated with youth mobility for individuals, labor markets and regions.
Although youth mobility is not a new phenomenon, the scale and the nature of the migration of young people in Europe, and globally, has changed significantly in recent years, and especially since the 2008+ economic crisis. The work carried out can be summarized as follows:
• A review and finalization of the main questions, definitions, typologies and theoretical approaches concerning international youth mobility and life transitions in Europe
• The creation of an original dataset with secondary data concerning youth migration in Europe, with special reference to the 9 YMOBILITY countries
• The design and testing of ad hoc methodologies for collecting primary data and information in the nine YMOBILITY countries;
• The implementation of an on-line panel survey which has provided 30,018 completed on-line questionnaires
• The implementation of 843 in-depth interviews
• The implementation of experimental research methods on decision-making about future migration involving 540 individuals
• A detailed analysis of the results obtained concerning the following aspects affecting individuals, spaces, and places: (i) information, sources, and channels of migration; (ii) migrant subjects and migration experiences, also in terms of social inclusion; (iii) contribution of the migration to the formation of human capital and to the transitions from youth to full adulthood; (iv) return and circular migration; (v) effects of youth mobility on population development; (vi) on labor markets; (vii) on regional development
• An analysis of the migration intentions of young persons and the definition of possible migration scenarios concerning young persons in the 9 YMOBILITY countries
• The definition of appropriate policies for youth mobility in the EU space.
The main results reached can be summarized as follow:
• A comprehensive overview and quantification of the main types of youth mobility in the EU, including the geography of flows among the 9 YMOBILITY countries, and the socio-economic-demographic characteristics of the mobile students, higher-skilled and lower-skilled workers
• Appropriate methodologies (a large-scale panel on-line survey, in-depth interviews in destinations and regions of return, and experimental complex decision-making methods) for exploring aspects of youth mobility and life transitions that cannot be studied through existing secondary data have been defined, designed, and implemented
• The main acquisitions of the young migrants linked to their international mobility, and the main territorial consequences and effects of youth mobility have been assessed
• A model for describing migration patterns and intentions of young persons in the 9 YMOBILITY countries was created and future scenarios for mobility/migration patterns were designed
• Policy analyses (of) and recommendations (for) youth mobility in the EU were provided at different territorial scales.
Moreover, the project has carried out extensive dissemination and communication activities:
• 18 Articles in daily newspapers
• 14 Interviews on radio/TV
• A series of 15 YMOBILITY movies
• 30 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals, plus 31 submitted/accepted/in preparation
• 66 conferences/congresses participation with 101 papers
• 12 meetings with secondary schools and students
• 7 regional/national meetings with stakeholders
• Establishment of an End Users Board (14 members), aiming at evaluating project progresses, giving contribution and feedback, verifying the usability of project outputs and paving the way for the long-term adoption of project results.
• YMOBILITY produced an original and innovative set of information highlighting the main characteristics of students, higher-skilled and less-skilled workers in terms of mobility patterns; the main causes (of) and reasons (for) mobility; the different attitudes, behaviors, reactions
• YMOBILITY showed the effects of emigration-immigration, return and circular migration on the labor markets, and their role in regional development processes, in origin-destination countries and regions; highlighted the needs felt, and the support required, by young people wishing to enhance their integration in new communities; and provided evidence-based recommendations, and good transferable practices, to maximize the benefits realized from youth mobility at the local and regional levels.
• YMOBILITY provided evidence concerning sources of information when making migration decisions; effects of mobility on the acquisition of skills and competences and on the careers of young EU citizens affecting their economic welfare, social well-being and physical-psychological health; effects of mobility in shaping identities, in favoring the transition from youth’ to ‘adulthood, on family formation practices
• YMOBILITY provided original simulations of future individual decision-making (mobility vs. non-mobility) and scenarios, and proposed innovative policies at different spatial scales for optimizing youth mobility, and maximizing its effects for individuals that could be implemented by different institutional levels.
YMOBILITY research proved the importance of material as much as immaterial factors in determining youth mobility in the EU territory and the growing relevance of the latter; it revealed that the majority of EU young citizens benefit from mobility but those benefits are not homogeneous and are not equally distributed: significant differences exist among persons with different educational levels, skills and competences, geographical origin and destination, field of activity. YMOBILITY showed that EU youth mobility contribute to reinforce regional disequilibria and to aggravate marginality and peripherality if circulation and return do not occur. YMOBILITY proved that tailored-made policies are needed for different national/regional contexts, different typologies of young migrants, different needs and expectations.