Author: Carla Lostrangio (AEIDL)
Tackling the issue at European level
Approximately 30% of Europe’s regions suffer from rapidly shrinking labour force, low share of higher education and youth exodus. Rural and mountainous areas, more than other regions, suffer from departure of youth, ageing and population decline as reported in the Demographic Report on the Impacts of Demographic Change published in early 2023. All these trends together hamper the urban-rural divide and territorial disparities in Europe.
To tackle this issue, the European Commission has recently launched the Talent Booster Mechanism to train, retain and attract people, especially in rural and mountain areas. This Mechanism was presented on 17 January as part of the European Commission’s Communication on Harnessing Talent in Europe’s Regions.
Through this new mechanism, the European Commission will launch pilot regions to retain and boost talents in their region over the course of 2023. In addition, other initiatives such as the “Smart adaptations of regions to demographic transition” or a “Technical Support Instrument” will be launched.
Both the Communication and Report builds on recent initiatives also launched by the European Commission, notably the recent consultation on “Brain drain- mitigating challenges associated with population decline” (2022) and the Demography Report of 2020. The current Talent Booster Mechanism also inscribes in 2023 European Year of Skills. In 2022, the MOVING project contributed the European Commission’s consultation on Brain Drain.
Starting with youth talents in mountains
As evidenced by the European Commission, youth exodus is a main issue for rural areas. Lack of opportunities, such as adequate jobs and educational offers, are among the main reasons leading youth to leave mountain reasons, found out Euromontana’s recent survey (2022).
New generations are the future of mountain areas and it is clear that, without them, mountain areas cannot be kept alive. For this reason, MOVING has organised specific workshops to hear from youth in the 23 Reference Regions covered by the project.
Youth involved in MOVING workshops confirmed that access to education and job are two of the biggest challenges in mountain areas. They said that are quite pessimistic about the future of their regions. Yet, they have also pointed out that new training and skills can help to tackle both issues. In particular, they said that more trainings on mountain value chains, paired with more skill development in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship would be suitable.
Learn more about how the European Commission committed to harness talents in rural Europe on the official EU website!
Also, MOVING will publish a report on the youth engagement workshops, which will be available on June 2024. But if you wish to know more about what skills and training opportunities mountain youth would like to have, you can check our News, Blogs and the individual webpages of the Reference Regions.