Continuing the implementation of the RuralYouthFuture project and reflecting on the study visit to Latvia in October this year, on 7 December 2023 the University of Latvia (UL) in cooperation with the Labour Market Policy Department of the Ministry of Welfare (MoW) of the Republic of Latvia organised a meeting with Latvian experts and held a practical workshop "Socio-economic Activity of Youth – Challenges and Opportunities". The workshop resulted in a number of findings and suggestions for promoting youth employment and education in Latvia.

The meeting started with an update on the RuralYouthFuture project and an overview of what has been done so far. On 3-4 October 2023, an ambitious study visit was organised in Latvia on youth policy, youth development and activation. Over the course of two days, the projects partners, together with experts from different organisations had an opportunity to discover more than 10 programmes and initiatives on socio-economic activation of young people by visiting four different cities – Riga, Jurmala, Liepaja and Ventspils. They also gained an overview of Latvian youth policy, including employment issues, at both national and municipal level.

Considering the high appreciation and interest expressed by projects partners and experts in the youth field, online Partner-to-partner (P2P) meetings were organised to provide them an in-depth learning opportunity about several Latvian activities and the potential for transferring them to their rural regions - a platform for remote work opportunities GO REMOTE, the entrepreneurship promotion programme for rural youth "Laukiem Būt!", the project “Know and Do” aimed at NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training), the youth association "House of Hope" in Liepaja.

To continue with a practical workshop on "Socio-economic Activity of Youth in Latvia - Challenges and Opportunities", Mr. Imants Lipskis, the Director of the Labour Market Policy Department of the MoW, provided an overview of the employment situation of young people and NEETs in Latvia, support measures and current observations. Meanwhile, the participants of the workshop, by working in the groups, discussed the problems and proposed possible solutions in relation to developing youth employment programmes, reaching NEET in the regions, encouraging companies to invest in young people without experience and skills, including those from groups at risk of social exclusion, etc.


The fruitful discussions resulted in numerous findings and recommendations for improving the employment  situation of youth in Latvia. Some of them:

  • Youth training opportunities outside the education system should be further offered, focusing on the development of digital skills, including skills for remote work; short vocational training programmes, work-based learning, etc.
  • Infrastructural issues in remote areas should be addressed to ensure access to digital work and learning opportunities (e.g., insufficient internet speed, lack of computers for youth in rural areas).
  • Mentoring opportunities could  be developed along with a bonus system.
  • Linkage between companies and youth could be facilitated through mentoring opportunities and establishing cooperation through higher education institutions.
  • Youth soft skills, in particular communication skills, which have been severely affected by the recent pandemics, should be promoted.
  • NGOs promoting NEET involvement and preventive measures should be supported, and many others.

The event was attended by youth policy makers and supporters - representatives of the Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of Education and Science, and the State Employment Agency, as well as youth interest-promoting organisations - Latvian Young Farmers’ Club, Visas Iespējas, House of Hope, Piedzīvojuma gars, the association "Latvijas Mazpulki" (Latvian 4-H), and others.

About the RuralYouthFuture:

The project "Improving the role of youth policies for rural sustainable development" (Rural Youth Future) has been implemented since spring 2023 with the aim of promoting youth employment, with a particular focus on the needs of young people living outside big cities and in rural areas - helping to improve existing policies and initiatives or develop new programmes. In the case of Latvia, it is planned to address the Guidelines for the Development of Children Youth and Family 2021-2027 and to look for opportunities to transfer partners' experiences and initiatives in similar areas. In Latvia, project is implemented by the University of Latvia, Centre for European and Transition Studies.