EU member states with quicker school-to-work transitions have lower youth unemployment, a new study by Eurofound shows.

The study Mapping youth transitions in Europe by the tripartite body of the EU states that countries with a higher integration of school and work, through apprenticeship programmes or through more young people effectively combining school and early labour market experiences, display a smoother and quicker transition from school to work.

According to Eurostat, the best school-to-work transitions are the 'Nordic' and the 'Apprenticeship' (found in Austria and Germany) models. At the other end of the scale, the 'Eastern European' and 'Mediterranean' models have difficult and problematic transitions. These models are associated with a later age of leaving home, and a slower and later transition to independence and autonomy.

In the summer of 2013, unemployment for those aged 15-24 rose to over 23% in the 28 EU member states. Despite a huge variation in unemployment figures, 18 countries recorded their highest levels of youth unemployment since the onset of the crisis.

With 15.9% of the overall population aged 15-29 being NEETs (not in employment, education or training), the loss to European economies is estimated at €162 billion, an increase of around €10 billion since 2011.

The study also reveals that during the crisis, the ability of young people to stay in employment has worsened, with negative consequences for their chances of gaining permanent employment.

Young people on temporary contracts, moreover, had a lower chance of remaining employed, with less than a quarter succeeding in getting a permanent contract.