27/8/2015 - Latvia should step up its efforts to improve the employment prospects of young people by continuing to reform its vocational education system and pursuing the commitments made as part of the Youth Guarantee to further reduce the share of young people under 30 who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs).
Investing in Youth: Latvia says that Latvia has seen a sharp decline in the NEET rate since the crisis to 16.5%, but that there are still too few employment opportunities for young people. The youth unemployment rate of 16.4% remains nearly twice as high as in 2007.
A major challenge is that nearly one in three NEETs are unemployed but not registered with the public employment service or not looking for work without good reason. Over 70% of NEETs remain out of work or education for more than six months. Young women, the low-educated and youth with poor health tend to remain out of work or education the longest.
Recent comprehensive reforms implemented by the Latvian government are an important step towards a modern and more attractive vocational education system, says the OECD. The VET system however remains nearly entirely school-based, and the relationships between schools and employers are often weak.
The Youth Guarantee introduced in 2014 represents a strong opportunity for bringing NEETs back into education or work. While it is too early to assess its impact, participation rates among NEETs in training programmes have strongly increased, and the provision of career guidance has been expanded.
To help more young people into work, the OECD recommends that Latvia:
For more information on Investing in Youth: Latvia, go to http://www.oecd.org/countries/latvia/investing-in-youth-latvia-9789264240407-en.htm
Journalists should contact the OECD Media Division (firstname.lastname@example.org, +33 1 4524 9700).
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Latvia is currently working through an Accession Roadmap, which sets out the terms, conditions and process for its accession to the Organization. The Accession Roadmap calls for a series of in-depth reviews conducted by 21 OECD technical committees, which, in turn, will provide a formal opinion to the OECD Council on Latvia’s willingness and ability to implement OECD standards and of its policies and practices as compared to OECD best policies and practices in the relevant area.
These reviews are seen as an opportunity to support the Latvian authorities in pushing forward reforms in line with OECD standards and best practices. There is no set timeline or end date for the accession process, and progress made ultimately depends on the ability of Latvia to respond to recommendations made by OECD committees, formed by its Members, in order to successfully complete the technical reviews.
The 34 member OECD promotes policies that improve the economic and social well-being of people worldwide. The Organisation provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.
For further information on Latvia’s accession process, go to: http://www.oecd.org/countries/latvia/oecd-sets-out-roadmap-for-latvias-membership.htm.