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European Social Fund: supporting social dialogue at national, regional and local levels

It is clear that in order to be able to develop their role as social partners and enhance social dialogue, some national social partner organisations need financial support.

EU and national social partners have underlined these concerns in the ESF Committee as well as in several instances such as the previous capacity-building activities of the EU social partners as part of integrated projects, notably including a seminar in Riga in March 2015. More recently this has been in the thematic group discussions as part of the follow-up to the 5 March conference on “a new start for social dialogue”. The European social partners also held a seminar on the ESF and capacity building

A better use of the European Social Fund can be essential to support the existence of well-structured bipartite social dialogue at all appropriate levels in the EU Member States, especially at local and regional levels. It can also play an important role to achieve better implementation of social dialogue outcomes.

This project will have the following main goals:

  1. To build on the implementation of the partnership principle and the role of social partners in the delivery and monitoring of ESF activities by mapping the ESF support to capacity-building of social partners. There will be a particular focus on convergence[1] and transition[2] regions to identify where the ESF plays a positive role and where there are unmet needs of social partner organisations;
  2. To explore the extent to which capacity building facilitates, or the contribution that it could make in the future to, social dialogue and the implementation of social dialogue instruments in convergence and transition regions;
  3. To gather and exchange information on practical examples of projects funded by the ESF at national, regional, and local levels.

To help partners to carry out this activities, an expert will be subcontracted and will be selected on a joint basis following a call for tender.

Activities

  1. Fact finding phase through a jointly agreed survey and phone interviews (this activity will be undertaken by the subcontracted expert).
  2. Two joint cluster seminars bringing together social partner representatives from the national and/or regional levels in the countries with convergence/transition regions. Regional and national managing authorities will also be invited.
Seminar 1 “The role of the ESF in capacity building of social partners” 14-15 September 2017, Prague, Czech Republic
Countries:
Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Spain
  • Agenda
  • List of participants
Seminar 2 “The role of the ESF in capacity building of social partners” 4-5 December 2017, Rome, Italy
Countries:
Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia
  • Agenda
  • List of participants
Conference “The role of the ESF in capacity building of social partners”
9 March 2018 – Brussels, Belgium
Countries:
all target and resource countries

 


Promoting social partnership in employee training

Given the growing importance of knowledge, skills and competencies in the economy and in society, it is important to ensure that training policies are efficient. Around 66% of enterprises already invest in some form of training for their employees and it is important to look at ways to build on the idea that training is a productive investment for enterprises and workers. At the same time, employees must be incentivised to update and upgrade their skills, including low-skilled workers.

Employers and trade unions are best placed to set up efficient strategies on skills and qualifications development through social dialogue and collective bargaining, in line with national, sectoral or company practices. This project will focus on fostering the social partnership approach for skills development at all levels, with a particular focus on the enterprise level. In doing so it will take into account the 2002 Framework of Actions on life-long learning.

We will look into different ways in which employee training is regulated/organised in different countries, including identifying barriers which may discourage companies from offering training (during or outside working hours). The aim will also be to show that training should be understood broadly (formal courses, but also on-the job training, mentoring, knowledge, skills and competence development for innovation, transversal skills, etc.). The role of social partners is essential to align training content with productivity gains and employee career development, as well as ensuring adequate access and availability of training opportunities on a cost-sharing basis. We may also try to identify principles on how to ensure the quality (in terms of learning outcomes and relevance), effectiveness and efficiency of training investment for employers and employees on the basis of good practice (and perhaps also bad practice). As part of this, employee motivation, willingness, and awareness of training provision and benefits will be looked at. We may also try to gather information and examples on the extent of the recognition of non-formal and in-formal learning.

To help partners to carry out this activities, an expert will be subcontracted and will be selected on a joint basis following a call for tender.

Activities

  1. Three national joint cluster seminars with joint national workshops to identify existing models of organising, governing and financing training schemes, as well as to promote capacity building of social partners on CVET with a focus on fostering learning between countries with well-developed schemes and those where social partnership could be improved. National cluster seminars could also include company visits.
  2. Produce a report using the three cluster seminars to identify strengths and weaknesses of the different systems. This will aim to identify a number of practices that we want to look at in more detail. (Need to be clear on expectations and objectives, also on number of practices). Current European level initiatives will also be identified.
  3. One joint conference at the end of the project to discuss main findings, disseminate report, and discuss possible following steps.
Employee training cluster seminar 1 – 5-6 July 2017, Vienna, Austria
Countries:
– Austria
– Netherlands
– Czech Republic
– Spain
  • Agenda
  • List of participants
Employee training cluster seminar 2 – 28-29 November, Warsaw, Poland
Countries:
– Denmark
– Germany
– Poland
– Portugal
  • Agenda
  • List of participants
Employee training cluster seminar 3 – 17-18 April,2018, Stockholm, Sweden
Countries:
– Sweden
– Ireland
– France
– Estonia
  • Agenda
  • List of participants
Employee training final conference – 19 June 2018 – Brussels, Belgium
Countries:
all target and resource countries