Youngsters under the radar made visible
Figures presented by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show that as many as 134,430 of the youngsters between 15 and 27 years of age are not going to school or otherwise take part in education, do not have a job, are not receiving welfare or benefits, and are not registered as job seekers. Half of this group were completely under the radar. Initiator of the ‘Alle Jongeren in Beeld’ (All youngsters Made Visible) project, Professor Ton Wilthagen of Tilburg University, is trying to help these youngsters with programs that increase their employability and thereby their participation in society. ‘Alle Jongeren In Beeld’ is a recently finalized program carried out within the framework of the National Science Agenda (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda).
The goal of ‘Alle Jongeren in Beeld’ is to investigate whether data science can contribute to identifying the youngsters in question, and whether the discipline can help develop preventive measures that ensure they do not ‘fall under the radar’. These youngsters’ inactivity is a problem: they are at risk in terms economic independence and physical and mental health, and may end up in a life of crime, or become radicalized.
Permission for exchange of personal data made possible
The research conducted by data scientist Naomi Smulders of the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) shows that more additional data combined with the use of data science technology can contribute to the development of preventive measures and make these youngsters visible again. However, privacy regulations in regard to the exchange of data, as laid down in the General Data Protection Regulations (AVG), make it a lot more difficult to put this into practice.
The use of the PAQ (Processing Agreement Questionnaire) tool developed by Smulders makes it possible to exchange data and provides room for further research. PAQ is a tool in the form of a questionnaire which facilitates establishing an agreement between parties that need access to a database. The questionnaire makes sure that the sharing of personal data takes place in accordance with AVG regulations. In a sense, this tool is the product resulting from Smulders’ research, and it is an innovative aspect of the project.
Smulders’ explorative, data-driven research now needs to be translated for practicable use in daily practice by the societal parties involved in finding and offering guidance to youngsters.
In a traveling exhibition linked to the ‘Alle Jongeren in Beeld’ project, Ásta Berglind Willemsdóttir Verheul presents an additional perspective on the issue of youth unemployment. The exhibition focuses on personal stories and experiences of the youngsters themselves, in the form of written and photographed portraits they themselves have supplied.