COPENHAGEN – Unemployment among graduates is close to ten per cent in Denmark, which is surprisingly high in a Nordic context. Stakeholders fear that there is a mismatch between the graduates’ skills and the perceived demand of the labour market.
The European Students’ Union (ESU) organised a national debate and a study visit to Denmark from 17 to 18 May in relation to its project on Student Advancement on Graduates Employability (SAGE) where those concerns were raised. Stakeholders from the Ministry of Education in Denmark, the Danish Industries, Copenhagen University and DJØF, the Federation of Lawyers and Law, Economic and Social Studies, attended the meetings.
Decrease in study support in Denmark
Graduates in humanities‘ studies often face a difficult time finding suitable employment possibilities, although that is not the case in Denmark. The study visit revealed that those graduates find it more easy to transfer skills and look for opportunities outside their field of specialisation.
The debate also focused on the student support system in Denmark that is currently undergoing major reforms as the government aims to speed up the time that students need to start and finish their studies. A reduced time limit will lead to a decrease in study support. In exchange, the government plans to use the estimated savings from these reforms to reduce the company tax in Denmark.
“The government is looking at whether it can speed up the studies by cutting student support, yet there are no jobs currently being created, which clearly indicates that there is a gap in a sustainable policy making,” states, Jakob Ruggaard, the Chairperson of DSF, the Danish national union of students.
Serious youth unemployment in Spain
Similar study visits and national debates have already been arranged in Hungary and Finland and the final one will take place in Spain from 19 to 21 June. The aim is to build capacity among student representatives around Europe in debating topics related to unemployment of graduates. The main goal of these study visits is to gain a comprehensive overview of the situation that those four countries currently face and how education and labour policies affect the outcome. Key stakeholders in the field are interviewed in each country in order to reach this goal.
Around 50 student representatives will gather for the national debate in Spain to discuss the country‘s unbearable situation in relation to the labour market and changing education policies. Around 57 per cent of young people are currently unemployed while education gets more and more expensive. Representatives from the Ministry of Education and Labour, Rectors‘ Conference, trade unions, private sector and different political parties will join the debate on possible solutions to the crisis of high unemployment among graduates.
“Youth unemployment should be the first thing on the agenda of our ministries. Budget cuts should stay far away from education and research because as we see it, it is the future of our society and country. Measures should have been taken before to shield those sectors because in some cases, they might come too late,” says Inés Sánchez, Secretary General of CREUP, the national union of students in Spain.
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