Website of the Austrian Social Ministry

Young people and young adults on the labour market

According to EUROSTAT, youth unemployment in Austria was 11% in May 2015. Austria thus has the second-lowest youth unemployment rate in the EU (after Germany) and still has a leading position in an international comparison. Important factors in this include the large range of programmes for young people and the well-functioning dual system of vocational education and training.

Giving young people and young adults good training continues to be an important goal of labour market policy. In this way, young employees are given targeted support in the form of vocational training and in obtaining educational or supplementary qualifications which they previously failed to do.

Labour market policy for young people

With compulsory schooling lasting only nine years, Austria is currently at the lower end of the international scale. Extending the minimum duration of young people's education by means of an education/training obligation seems to be required against the background of increasing occupational and social demands.

Learning for longer: Education/Training till 18

The current government programme (2013-2018) lays down that all young people under the age of 18 should, if possible, conclude some form of training which goes beyond completing compulsory schooling. To this end, the AusBildung bis 18 (Education/Training till 18) programme was initiated - a joint project of the social partners, the provinces, relevant institutions and companies as well as several ministries (the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry of Education and Women's Affairs, The Federal Ministry of Families and Youth, and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and the Economy).

Starting with the school year 2016-2017, it will be compulsory after year 9 for every young person to attend a higher secondary school or a training course. The main focus here should always be to provide individual support to young people, taking into consideration their wide range of interests, abilities and needs.

The following educational or training opportunities are suited to Education/Training till 18:

  • General education or vocational education secondary schools
  • In-company apprenticeships or apprenticeships at state-supported special workshops, including partial qualifications and apprenticeships over an extended period
  • High-quality recognised labour market or educational policy measures which prepare young people for re-integration into higher-level training or education programmes
  • Programmes for young people with an increased need for support.

Education/Training till 18 is intended to improve the coordination of the many offers available, to use them more efficiently and to close gaps in the range of programmes offered. Areas which will be (further) developed here include support in making choices of education/training, avoiding dropping out of schools and courses, preparation for higher-level training courses for disadvantaged young people, and apprenticeships in companies or in specially organised workshops.

A draft bill on Education/Training till 18 was sent for review at the end of January.

Key measures of Education/Training till 18

  • Youth coaching
    Since 2012, youth coaching has been accompanying young people in their transition from school to working life. Around 35,000 young people take part every year. Work on its extension is being carried out on a continuous basis. 
  • Production schools
    Some young people lack the basic qualifications and social skills they need to be able to change over from school to training or work. Production schools offer an opportunity to acquire them and to get to know a range of different types of training. Across Austria there are over 60 production schools with around 3,000 places for approx. 4,000 young people annually.  The range of offers is being gradually extended. 
  • Training guarantee - apprenticeships in special workshops
    The training guarantee ensures that every young person who wishes to embark upon training will get a place in a company or a special workshop. For the training year 2015/2016, places for around 12,000 participants were planned at a cost of €180m to the AMS and the provinces. The courses and preparatory training for apprenticeships in special workshops are currently being attended by around 9,000 persons.
  • Apprentice coaching
    The advice and coaching programme for apprentices and companies training them has existed since 2012. It is designed to reduce the number of those leaving company apprenticeships early and to help trainees pass their final examinations. From the end of 2015 it will be available throughout Austria. Until September 2015, around 793 apprentices and 138 companies training apprentices had taken advantage of coaching.

Against long-term unemployment: Campaign for the Future of Young People

In the case of young people, a period of six months without work is already considered to be long-term unemployment. Avoiding this situation is another important objective of labour market policy. 

With the Campaign for the Future of Young People, the federal government promises to provide all young unemployed persons between 19 and 24 with a job offer, a targeted training course or a subsidised job within a period of six months. 

By October 2015, this labour market policy priority had enabled around 48,800 young people previously registered as unemployed with the AMS to begin a training course. Around 78,700 young people were able to take on a job.

The budget against long-term unemployment

In 2015, the federal government had a budget of €796m available to spend on labour market policy for young people.

Of this, a sum of €575m was used in the form of subsidies and benefits distributed via the Public Employment Service (AMS).

€169m was used to promote apprenticeships in companies.

€52m was available for corresponding programmes run by the Ministry of Social Affairs.