INTERCEPT aimed at outreaching 300 young people who were not in education / training / employment (NEETs) aged 25-29, across 3 countries (Malta, Lithuania and Italy) with the intention of upskilling and motivating them through a 12-week paid internship (Green Career Pathway) featuring a 25-hour course on the green economy and a job placement in a green industry company.
It was a brand new scheme, never tested before, which benefited from a € 2.18M grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants: now that the 3-year project is complete, INTERCEPT has some really important lessons to share with everyone interested supporting NEETs to access green jobs in Europe, thanks to the great work carried out by all the partners of the project.
The overall project evaluation has shown that Intercept has been an important tool for employing NEETs, creating the link between green employers and potential employees as well as proving to be relevant not only for participants and employers but also for Public Employment Services and the local context.
The main message from the evaluation is that one standard type of approach does not fit all countries, thus the implementers should be flexible and adapt to the local needs. For instance, (1) females are over-represented in Malta, as opposed to the NEETs’ gender balance in Lithuania; (2) the educational structure of NEETs differs between regions. The green economy is also different between the countries, for example, in Tuscany, the green economy was more often associated with small farms, while in Malta, waste management and the circular economy have become relatively more important.
The green element of the programme is an important factor as well. “Being green” motivates employees as well as employers. The idea of contributing to a common purpose, such as “saving the planet“ or “fighting climate change“, was registered as being a strong motivation for the participants. On the employers’ side, when asked to participate in the project, employers were often surprised that they were considered to be a part of the green economy.
The most important finding was that the project actually had an impact on participants' employment. A specific method, called counterfactual impact evaluation, was carried out, during which, we observed the employment results of two groups: the one that participated in the projects and the second one, which consisted of people who did not participate in Intercept but were also unemployed at the same time as the first group. The participants of the Intercept Project were more likely to withdraw from the unemployment register by 10%.
All these lessons were considered when creating guidelines for the successful integration of 25-29-year-old NEETs into the labour market with a focus on green jobs. The guidelines aim to provide different stakeholders with the steps that should be considered when adapting the pilot to the local context. The four main steps are:
- Step 1. An analysis of the local context, needs and challenges of the target age group NEETs, as well as the needs of green companies
- Step 2. Identifying objectives and adapting the intervention to the local context
- Step 3. Implementing the pilot
- Step 4. Evaluation of intervention