Experts from the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) gathered at the ASEM High-level Seminar on “Youth Employment Promotion” in Chongqing City, China on 20-21 November 2013 to discuss the promotion and integration of youth employment into the labour market.

The project ‘ASEM Youth Employment Promotion’ was initiated by the ASEM Labour Ministers at their meeting in Hanoi in 2012 with an objective to establish a forum which would develop practical recommendations to solve the increasing problem of youth employment, both in Asia and Europe.

Representatives from 29 ASEM countries attended the seminar which is part of a series of regular activities organized both in Europe and Asia to promote closer cooperation between the two regions.

The seminar was hosted by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, China, and co-sponsored by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Poland, and the European Commission.

Mr. Liu Qiang, Vice Mayor of Chongqing Municipal Government, and Mr. Xin Changxing, Vice Minister of Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China, welcomed participants on behalf of the Chinese host. Representatives from Poland and European Commission, as co-sponsors and co-organizers, of the event also presented their opening remarks.

Delegates discussed how to boost entrepreneurship, skills development and employability of young people, which are crucial factors in strengthening economic and social development of countries from Asia and Europe.

Examples were given on promoting Vocational Education and Training and Dual Training Programmes as part of the educational system, such as the European Commission’s “European Alliance for Apprenticeships”

Such programmes that combine work-based learning in enterprises and theoretical reflection in schools can significantly smoothen the school-to-work-transitions of young people. Youth Guarantee schemes were also discussed.

Delegates also visited the Cultural and Creative Micro Enterprise Park of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, and Chongqing Industrial Technical College–two great initiatives of Chongqing Municipal Government in giving young people in China opportunities to build up their own business and receive training in entrepreneurial and vocational skills.