By Constantinos Psillides
AS PART of its attempt to tackle the alarming rise in youth unemployment in Cyprus, the EU Commission is organising a two-day job fair in Nicosia to inform young job seekers about opportunities in EU countries.
According to the EU commission, 5.6 million Europeans under 25 are unemployed, a national average of 23.5 per cent.
The problem in Cyprus is far larger, with the national average rising up to 44 per cent.
Asked whether this is an attempt to drive young people away from Cyprus, Minister of Education Kyriakos Kenevezos whose ministry is collaborating with the job fair answered that the government’s role is to provide solutions.
“Young people are plagued by unemployment, and we are trying to introduce them to a wider European frame. We want them to see the opportunities in working in another European country but to also be aware of any problems,” the minister said, adding that the government wants its young to stay but not at the expense of them missing out on opportunities.
“You help people by presenting them with options, not by shutting doors,” he said.
Giorgos Markopouliotis, head of the EU Commission Representation in Cyprus, acknowledged that it’s very hard for young people to find their way in the current job market.
“We aim at providing them with answers to real problems and show that they can expand their job search to the whole of Europe,” he said.
The job fair is part of a larger plan to fight youth unemployment in the EU. Earlier this month the EU announced that it would allocate around €10 million to Cyprus in an effort to combat youth unemployment, as part of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).
YEI support will concentrate on regions experiencing youth unemployment rates above 25 per cent and on young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs).
The YEI goal is that no European under the age of 25 goes four months without a job or an internship position.
The job fair will take place at the Filoxenia conference centre on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23.
Visitors will be informed about job opportunities, living conditions in other European countries, receive career counselling and talk with representatives from 12 different EU countries.