Company in Minorca involved in scheme of vocational training for unemployed young people.


The latest analysis by the Balearic government's employment observatory indicates that 15.6% of the region's young population neither works nor studies. Referred to as 'ninis', the 15.6% in the Balearics is the highest percentage in Spain. The age group is 15 to 29, and while the percentage has decreased by almost seven per cent since 2010, it remains the highest in the country.

The national average is 12.7% and the European average is 11.7%. Comparing the Balearic percentage with European countries, it is exceeded only by Italy (19%) and Romania (19.8%). Compared with other Spanish regions, Andalusia is the closest with 14.7%. The lowest rate in Spain is 8.8% in the Basque Country.

The early-leaving school dropout rate in the Balearics is 18.2%, surpassed only by that of Murcia and well off the nine per cent target for the 2030 European Strategy. The lowest dropout rate in Europe is 2.3% in Croatia and the highest is 16.5% in Iceland.

When it comes to looking for work, unemployed young people most ask for jobs as salespeople in shops or as waiters/waitresses; together, these constitute 30% of all job requests.

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Despite the fact of very high employment, the retail and hospitality sectors continue to highlight problems with recruitment. Carolina Domingo, vice-president of the Pimeco retail employers association, says that there is a "generational" issue. Young people may want jobs in retailing, but they don't necessarily have sufficient qualification and nor do they have the enthusiasm for working in shops. "Years ago it was a source of pride for young people."

Salaries, which aren't great, and an ever-increasing cost of living are said to play a key role in young people's lack of interest in integrating into a labour market that offers work but not financial stability or the chance for emancipation. In 2008, the Balearics had the highest emancipation rate in the country. This has since slipped from 35.6% to 18.6%, the largest fall in Spain. Prices for finding anywhere to live are a major factor in this.

Pau A. Monserrat, professor of financial economics at the University of the Balearic Islands and an advisor to the Balearic Economic and Social Council, feels that the education system isn't preparing young people for higher education. Students are arriving without a culture of "sacrifice and effort" needed for university and then for a job market which is "increasingly more demanding and predatory".

"The education system has been changing and that change has not benefited our young people." The changes have been aimed at reducing academic failure and to simply facilitate passing exams. "The key is not to make it easier but to make it more interesting and more useful for their future in the job market. You encounter students who come from secondary school and don't know how to study; they don't even take notes. You have to explain the basics to them. It is a failure of the entire education system."