Beyond the pandemic: the AVSI project to tackle the neet phenomenon in southern Italy

In Italy, 19% of young people are not studying, not working and not in training. AVSI, with the support of the Intesa Sanpaolo Charity Fund and Fondazione con il Sud is working to offer training opportunities to 175 “neet” in Sicily and Campania.

According to 2022 Eurostat statistics, the neet youth rate aged 16-34 in Italy amounts to 19%, which is higher than the European average (11.7%). Neets are young people Not Engaged in Education, Employment nor Training. After the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of neet is increasing, especially in southern Italy.

The neet phenomenon, besides being an uneasy condition for those experiencing it, represents a waste of potential too.

AVSI to counter the neet phenomenon in Italy

In Sicily and Campania, AVSI has launched the project "Oltre la pandemia" (Beyond the pandemic) to counter the neet phenomenon with the aim of reducing marginalisation and social exclusion by investing in the educational and personal growth of 175 young people in Naples, Catania and Palermo. An initiative aiming to enhance the contribution and skills of the new generations.

The project is designed for young people who dropped out of school early, come from marginalized backgrounds, and have endured social, cultural and economic hardship. The aim is to help them reengage in society through educational and training plans by strengthening their potential and motivation in seeking work, increasing their employment opportunities and promoting their job placement.

"Beyond the Pandemic" in vulnerable neighbourhoods in Naples, Catania and Palermo

By the end of the project - scheduled for April 2026 - 175 young people will be involved, 70 in the Quartieri Spagnoli district and Seventh Municipality of Naples, 65 in the Catania city centre and 40 in the Albergheria-Ballarò district of Palermo. Young people will participate in training and work placement courses. It is expected that at least 49 of them will find employment.

In Naples, activities will mainly consist of animation and socialisation courses. Their aim is to provide young people with the soft skills needed to engage with the world of work, job search orientation, and vocational training in the craft, creative and textile sector. There will be also the possibility of undertaking an internship in local workshops and companies.

In Sicily, between Catania and Palermo, transversal work orientation actions are planned with a focus on women. Activities include courses on job search, digital literacy and vocational training courses in the personal care sector with internships in families and educational facilities.

The project also envisages the opening of a free-access listening point in Palermo dedicated to supporting vulnerable women who found themselves alone in facing problems resulting from early parenthood, lack of education and work, which can lead to marginalisation and exploitation.

AVSI is active in these areas and contributes to improving the condition of young people through training and support in accessing the world of work.
It also offers psychosocial support to help people regain motivation in facing and overcoming difficulties and in building a future for themselves.