UUPS is for the NEETS. Creative thinker Mihela Hladin has designed a method to fight unemployment of NEETS: young Europeans who are Not in Employment, Education or Training.

When Slovenian born Hladin moved back to Europe after working in China for seven years, she observed a young generation adrift. Fourteen million people in Europe under the age of 30 are defined by what they are not: Not in Employment, Education or Training. Twenty years ago the advice to this group would have been simple: to get a good education and a job at a big company.

But in today’s shrinking job market, changing global economy, disruptive business models and shifting skill demands, this old advice offers no guarantees for the new world young people find themselves in today.

“Even though answers for the future are never guaranteed, we know that different skill sets will be needed, including creative confidence, entrepreneurship, independence and a willingness to experiment,” Hladin, who is currently in Amsterdam for the kick-off of her initiative, told WDCD.

Her initiative called UUPS (up cycle, up skill) is designed to arm the NEETs with the skills and confidence they need to design their own jobs and generate new means for self-employment. Because there are few vacancies, the jobs have to be created, not filled.

Hladin: “We wanted to look beyond creating just any job, and have people design their jobs for themselves. It’s about self-efficacy.”

UUPS offers coaches, training, resources and a platform to think creatively, learn new skills and design products. Participants can learn to ride the wave of the third industrial revolution on their own terms and use the open production facilities that are popping up in cities all over Europe as training grounds.

To connect the NEETS with a consumer base, UUPS also functions as a label under which participants can sell their wares on the global marketplace.

If you would like to help UUPS participants to build confidence and design skills, you can join UUPS with design direction, mentoring and hands-on experience for their pilot in Amsterdam starting on February 20th.

For inquiries mail info@uups.org