Tackling early school leaving and youth unemployment through local counselling

AuthorDirectorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission)
Photo of young people taken during counsellors’ f‌ieldwork
© JES vzw, 2013
Problem addressed
Leaving school early produces many negative consequences
for individuals including unemployment, social exclusion,
poverty and poor health. In Antwerp, the early school leaving
rate is 21.7%. The city also has one of the highest levels
of youth unemployment in the Flanders region. In 2020, the
youth unemployment rate in Flanders stood at 17.7%, while
in Antwerp the rate was 25.2%.
Innovative solution
Youth Competence Centres (YCCs) are spaces where young
people in Antwerp can receive advice and counselling on
their future personal and professional development. The
centres are open to all young people aged 16 to 25, but
particularly target those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
These young people may feel disillusioned and distrustful
of formal education institutions or ‘authority f‌igures’ due to
negative past experiences. YCCs’ innovative approach is to
build a trusting, personal relationship between counsellors
and young people to overcome this.
Youth workers and counsellors meet young people at youth
centres and in informal settings, such as parks and cultural
and sports events. This ensures that the young people are
at ease in a familiar setting when communicating with
counsellors, supporting the trust-building process. Counsellors
provide support either individually or in groups. Counselling
sessions either focus on work-related acquired competences
(WAC) or on the recognition of acquired competences (RAC).
The WAC type of counselling primarily targets unemployed
youth and early school leavers to ease their transition into
the labour market. The RAC type of counselling targets young
people aged 16–25 and focuses on f‌inding volunteering
experiences for them.
Tackling early school leaving and
youth unemployment through
local counselling
Youth Competence Centres

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