Young and Digital: Google Signs the European Pact4Youth

We’ve said it a lot this year: every business should be a digital business, because every customer is a digital customer, and that’s a huge economic opportunity.  And by extension, that means that everyone coming into the job market should have some digital skills too. So when we heard about the European Pact4Youth, we were keen to be a part of it.

The agreement is an exciting idea from The European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Europe) which aims to help young people across Europe find work.  Together with the European Commission, other businesses, social partners, education and training providers all over Europe, we  have committed to developing and consolidating partnerships in support of youth employability and inclusion.

We're not the only ones who are excited. "Our top priority has been to get Europe growing again and to stimulate good quality job creation," said Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. "It builds on the successful European Alliance for Apprenticeships.... the Commission, together with business, is moving now towards one quarter million new opportunities for young people across Europe."

While we're looking forward to working with our fellow signatories to create jobs for young people in the same way Erasmus has broadened their educational experience, we can't resist telling you about some of the work we're already doing in this area. We're currently in the middle of training up one million Europeans in essential digital skills -- in time for next year. We've committed over €25 million to build a Europe-wide training hub.

And in Spain -- one of the countries worst hit by youth unemployment -- we've developed a series of massive open online courses (MOOCs), Google Activate, together with the Spanish Ministry of Industry, through the business school, EOI, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The news from Spain is encouraging: more than 148,000 people have registered for Activate with 13% of participants earning a certificate.

Another example is Italy, where we have the initiative Crescere in Digitale, offering free digital skills online training to the 700,000 young Italians currently not in employment, education or training. This program is run in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and the Chamber of Commerce and will provide 3,000 internships in addition to the training.

Improving Europe's skills in everything from data analytics to web design are a key part of tackling youth unemployment -- and we are excited to support the Pact4Youth.

Posted by: Lie Junius, public policy director, Google Brussels