The aim of this paper is to analyse critically the youth labour market (YLM) and the YLM policies in Portugal. The analysis covers essentially the period after 1986, when Portugal entered the European Union.
The paper consists of three main sections. In the first the main players dealt with (government, private sector, third sector) are defined, and the main theories on the YLM exposed. In the second section the evolution of the YLM and of the YLM policies in Portugal, are analysed in three main phases. In the third section the paper's conclusions are presented, and some further research is suggested.
Until 1986 YLM policy in Portugal was almost non‐existent. Then, as a consequence of the adhesion to the European Communities, massive investments began to be made. As a consequence, in the last 20 years, young persons (less than 25 years of age) have been given much more support in the labour market than older persons (more than 25 years‐of‐age). That advantage means that since 1986 quality, and not quantity, is the problem of YLM policies in Portugal.
The study should be complemented with a large microeconomic analysis of the “young” and “old” cohort. The findings suggest that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, “young” persons have been given too much support in the last years, and more support should be given to “older” members of the workforce, especially the least qualified. The problem with the support to “young” people is quality, not quantitiy.
The paper provides an analysis of the development of a Portuguese Education and Training (E&T) strategy. Few studies in the field of E&T and Human Resources Development (HRD) have emanated from Portugal and this paper presents an opportunity to gain an insight into Portuguese developments in the field.
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