Milan, Italy – Technological advancement has the potential to empower millions of people through new opportunities. Our current social security systems don’t. What can Europe’s policy-makers do to support the future employment of youth in a rapidly changing, digitised landscape? This is the central question that the Youth of the European People’s Party (YEPP) worked to answer in Milan between the 15th and the 18th of February, in two separate conferences, attended by 130 delegates, including 28 centre-right party youth wing presidents from across Europe.

The Conference on the Future of Work in the Digital Era, a policy convention hosted by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung at the headquarters of Microsoft Italia and Milan’s Acquario Civico, saw expert panellists elaborate on topics such as youth entrepreneurship, vocational training, automation and women in tech. “We have to change the culture of technology,” said Paola Cavallero, Microsoft Italia’s Marketing and Operations Director, to encourage more women to participate in tech. Speaker Professor Andrea Gallo concluded that “work-based learning is the key to finding a job.”

The Conference of Presidents, hosted by YEPP and Forza Italia Giovani, opened on Friday evening with a visit to the Mediaset headquarters, where participants explored the effects of digitalisation on the media sector. After touring the TGCOM newsroom, they were treated to a speech from Fedele Confalonieri, president of Mediaset. During his speech, Mr Confalonieri spoke about media regulation and its responsibility to the public in a rapidly changing media landscape.

On Saturday, following a Presidents’ Breakfast where policy-making and strategic goals were discussed among the presidents present, YEPP held its conference proper, in which it produced two white papers: one on the Future of Europe, the second on the Future of Work. The two papers call on policy-makers to support more dual study vocational programs, increase digital competencies and work to harness Europe’s competitive advantages in order to lead the digital age.

The conference closed with the addition of the Denmark’s Konservativ Ungdom to the YEPP family.