Youth unemployment is one of the major problems the EU is facing. According to the EU labour force survey, in 2018, there were on average 3.4 million unemployed persons aged 15-24 and 22.4 million persons of that age group in the labour market. In most EU countries, youth unemployment rates double overall unemployment rates. As today’s demands are increasing rapidly, so are young people’s set of skills need upgrading. There is an increased need for skills, competences and knowledge related to digitally enhanced design and manufacturing, such as 3D printing, laser cutting, design thinking and prototyping. The ‘Young Social Makers’ Erasmus+ VET project that has just started, aims to strengthen the profile of educators by acquiring these desirable skills, in order to teach VET students and thus be better prepared to meet the needs of the labour market.
All these skills are related to what is known as the maker culture, an environment in which different skills and competences come together, taking maximum advantage of digital tools, software and machinery to co-create, co-design and develop innovative products or services. Fablabs or livinglabs have been growing fast in the last years.
Despite the fact that these entities can provide the connection with the demands of the labour market and with methods which are very well suited for young people, their users tend to be adults and collaboration with young people and the VET system is not developing at the same pace.