* BMW to launch programme to recruit 25 young Spaniards
* BASF hires 20 trainees in Spain, SAP taps university grads
* Youth unemployment stirs social unrest fears in southern
By Maria Sheahan
FRANKFURT, May 29 German companies including BMW
and BASF are recruiting small numbers of
unemployed young Spaniards against a backdrop of chronic youth
unemployment in southern Europe and a growing shortage of
skilled labour in Germany.
Twenty-five workers aged 18 to 25 will be trained for a year
at the Munich headquarters of premium carmaker BMW in a pilot
programme, the company's personnel chief Milagros Caina-Andree
told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday.
The workers represent a tiny fraction of Spain's 3.5 million
unemployed under-25-year-olds, but BMW's Caina-Andree said the
programme, which could be expanded to Italy or Greece, was an
effort to "give something back" to its customer countries.
BMW's announcement came a day after German Finance Minister
Wolfgang Schaeuble warned at a Paris conference that failure to
beat youth unemployment could tear Europe apart.
Schaeuble has recently agreed bilateral plans with both Spain
and Portugal to help get more of their young people into work.
More than half of Spaniards and Greeks under the age of 25
are unemployed, compared with fewer than 8 percent of Germans
and Austrians from the same age group.
German officials fear Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces an
election in September, could be blamed if a hot summer in
recession-mired southern Europe leads to an explosion of social
Germany is also keen to tap unemployed youth abroad because
it needs to attract foreign workers to make up for shortages in
some professions and sectors at home.
Chemicals giant BASF has launched a project to train about
20 young people in Spain, with the aim of employing them at its
headquarters in Ludwigshafen to secure a supply of skilled
technical staff, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
Similarly, the world's biggest business software maker SAP
aims to recruit university graduates from southern
Europe via a programme it launched jointly with other German
technology companies in March.
Last year, 33,000 posts for job training remained unfilled
in Germany, and young workers from recession-hit parts of the
euro zone could help fill that gap.
Consumer goods group Henkel said it was also
considering a move similar to BMW's but had no concrete plans.
Spain is making its own efforts to employ its youth. It
launched a four-year plan offering incentives to companies that
hire people under 30, and the Labour Ministry says it has led to
30,000 new training contracts for youths so far this year, up 73
percent from a year ago.
Among the companies that have joined the plan are bank BBVA
and power utility Iberdrola.
Oil major Repsol, with a new PR campaign trumpeting
its recruitment and training programmes, said it has created
3,500 jobs for youths in Spain in the past five years, while
telephone giant Telefonica has several scholarship
programmes to cultivate young talent and provide jobs in the
company's Spanish business, despite a 2011 plan to lay off 6,500
workers in its home market over three years.