School to Work Aims to strengthen transnational cooperation between stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region in the field of education and work in order to prevent early school leaving and develop support for vulnerable groups of students/youth. groupspaces.com/eusbsr-education/item/844928
Baltic Training Programme Supports the internationalization of vocational education and training as well as entrepreneurship and the internationalization of business www.baltictrainingprogramme.eu
Baltic University Programme Largest university network in BSR focused on sustainable regional development through cooperation in education, research and applied projects www.balticuniv.uu.se
Baltic Sea Labor Forum Aims to promote social dialogue, tripartite structures and cooperation as crucial elements of sustainable growth and social development in the BSR www.bslabour.eu
Baltic Science Network Aims to provide science and research ministries of the Baltic Sea region states with an overall coordination framework to develop and implement science policy in a macro-regional dimension and to ensure a better representation of macro-regional interests on the EU level http://www.baltic-science.org/
“If we fix good multi-level coordination of discussions and activities, we might eliminate the need of persuading each other of the value, and move to more collaborative mode of engagement.” This was the conclusion of the open space exercise starting with the question “How will you convince the holder of national EU Funds to invest in macro-regional strategies?”
National Coordinators, Policy Area Coordinators and Horizontal Action Coordinators, together with representatives of Managing Authorities in European Structural and Investment Funds, 54 participants in total, gathered for the first module of the EUSBSR Support in Riga.
This module will be followed by five more in this capacity building programme for coordinators in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The programme is based on peer learning with three prioritie: The topic for the 1st module was “Aligning Funding for Policy Impact” with discussions such as cooperation across functions: Alignment in Practice Exploring alignment of funding in smaller cross-functional teams, with real-life formats that PACs and HACs work in and Beyond 2020: feeding forward to the new funding period. Designing a collaboration interface between PACs/HACs, National Coordinators and the EU funding programmes.
Next module will be held in Tallinn on 12 and 13 December with the topic; Monitoring & Evaluation in the EUSBSR: WHAT? WHY? HOW?
Would your organisation like to start or expand collaborations that contribute to sustainable economic, environmental or social development in the Baltic Sea Region? The Swedish Institute will soon open a new call for applications.
Swedish organisations can apply for seed funding from the Swedish Institute in order to cooperate with organisations in the Baltic Sea Region countries and organisations in the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries.
The project activities that the Swedish Institute supports via ‘seed funding’ must be clearly linked to one or more of the challenges identified in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The projects should help to create conditions for long-term, sustainable relations in the region.
The next call will open soon and close on 13 February 2018. More information about seed funding can be found on the website of the Swedish Institute. You can find more information via this link.
The ESF Transnational Platform helps stakeholders using the ESF to find and collaborate with partners in other countries. The platform was established by the EU Commission in order to support transnational cooperation in the ESF.
The Platform runs nine thematic mutual learning networks and facilitates coordinated calls for proposals. It publishes articles, newsletters and technical dossiers, as well organising an annual event.
The European Commission has announced a call for proposals under the Erasmus+ programme KA3, Support for policy reform, Joint qualifications in vocational education and training (VET).
The overall objectives of the call are, on the one hand, to increase the employability of young people and to contribute to the development of a highly skilled, qualified and mobile workforce from which companies should also benefit and, on the other hand, to support joint developments in VET in Europe and strengthen overall its quality, relevance and attractiveness.
The specific objective of the call is to support the preparation or setting up of joint VET qualifications including at higher level or the improvement of such existing qualifications. The transnational qualifications should comprise strong work-based learning and a mobility component, address learning outcomes, quality assurance and proper recognition while making use of relevant European tools and instruments.
Against the background of high youth unemployment, skills mismatch and shortages as well as the need for higher level skills at sectoral level, joint VET qualifications have the potential to address these challenges and ensure that VET response better to labour market needs.
The transition from school to work is one of the most difficult periods in the life of a young person. Even from a European societal perspective, the difficulties for young people to establish themselves in the labor market is one of our major political challenges.
School to Work is a process, so called flagship, within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Policy Area Education. In this flagship, stakeholders should work together, within networks and projects, to find common solutions and good examples of policies that lead to better transition from school to work. The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) leads the Flagship School to Work.
Three platforms focus on different groups
The work at the Flagship is organized in three knowledge platforms. They have a focus on three different groups of people. One of the knowledge platforms is acitve in area of prevention of early school leaving and thus has a focus to young people who are 16 to 20 years old.
The second Flagship has a focus to those young people who are in a situation when they have no employment, education nor training.
And the third knowledge platform, which is also the latest one, assembles knowledge and expertise in work with integration of newly arrived refugees.
The knowledge platforms on prevention of early school leaving and integration of newly arrived refugees is led by the Division of Education of City Turku. The knowledge platform on integration of young people in NEET situation is managed by Norden Association in Sweden.
New membership levels
At the beginning of the summer, a large number of stakeholders, public and private organizations and civil society representatives, were invited to find common denominations for continued cooperation. At this time, three levels of membership were also presented.
- The first level, Associate Members, can include stakeholders, municipalities and schools that are interested in projects and in learning something new, says Inta Edgarsson at SALAR. The second level includes among others, those who already work with projects and who need more expert support and knowledge about new methods.
Stakeholders at this level may be interested in running projects under the ESF, who announced a call for transnational cooperation within youth employment.
The third level is strategic. This level consists of, among others, ministries, employment agencies and ESF, working together to support the development of new methods. In a first part of the work, a mapping of current activities is done to see what's actually been done.
- We are learning more about specific activities conducted by our members, how they are organizing them, what kind of personal approach they have towards the young people and how they are doing the follow ups, says Inta Edgarsson.
This autumn, many activities are being planned within the framework of the Flagship School to Work. One example is a visit to Turku, Finland, where around 20 participants from the Baltic Sea countries will study good examples of labour market integration, with focus on one stop shop for young people who need support and on how to increase the attractiveness of Vocational Education and Training.
The countries in the Baltic Sea Region will work together to improve the integration of migrants and vulnerable groups in the labor market, combat early school leaving, raise youth employment, secure knowledge supply and counteract the effects of an ageing population. Behind the decision on in-depth cooperation are all governments around the Baltic Sea, Iceland and Norway.
Labor Market Ministers, that are responsible for cooperation, have adopted a declaration that is supported by a wide range of parties: the declaration text has been worked out by the Swedish Institute through the Baltic Leadership Program, BLP, as well as the Baltic Sea Labor Forum, BSLF, which consists of both workers and employers organizations, researchers, civil society organizations and authorities at national, regional and local levels. BSLF is a flagship within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Policy Area Education, coordinated by the Norden Association and the City of Hamburg. Common objectives include reducing poverty, all forms of inequality, unemployment and tearing barriers to inclusion in the labor market.
Common problems despite differences
Although the Baltic States economies are different, many of the problems are common. This was evident during the Berlin meeting when the Baltic countries adopted the declaration of cooperation. Integration of migrants is an area that almost all countries identified as important. Several of the participants emphasized the importance of free labor mobility, as a way of managing skills.
Countries with strong economies can, by attracting highly skilled workers, solve some of the skills needs. But there is a backside to this: Emigration of highly skilled people is a big problem in, for example, Lithuania. Many well-educated young people leave the country in search of a better life in Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Germany. Lithuania hopes that, in the context of closer Baltic cooperation, the countries will find common denominators and good examples of solutions.
"It is important that those who move get safe and secure working conditions, where trade unions and employers are important players," said Ėglè Radišauskienė, Deputy Labor Market Minister in Lithuania. She also hopes for Baltic cooperation to create new jobs in Lithuania and that information may be disseminated to Lithuanians abroad about good living conditions if they return to their home country.
Russia is experiencing both sides of the coin
In Russia, both dimensions of the mobility of labor are present: The economic strength is unevenly distributed in the country. Highly educated young people leave economically weaker areas and help fill the needs of well-educated labor in economically stronger areas of the country. The economically weaker parts suffer from this migration.
"This is an important issue for us and we are very interested in the cooperation," said Denis Vasilyev, deputy director of the Federal Labor Market Service in Russia.
The labor market requires new skills
Torben Albrecht, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor in Germany, highlighted digitization and demographic changes as topics for Baltic cooperation.
"We do not think robots and computers will take all the jobs, but many jobs disappear and new ones are created, which require other skills. Here it becomes interesting to learn from each other how to handle the skills supply.
Latvia focuses on vulnerable groups
Ingus Alliks, State Secretary in Latvia, said that the country prioritizes integration of vulnerable groups and looks forward to the exchange of good, evidence-based practices. He was also concerned about the consequences of an aging population:
"Employers have a key role to play in creating an accessible labor market, where older people can also work with good conditions.
Work at full speed
This autumn, work in thematic working groups starts as a common learning process around the Baltic Sea. The groups include actors from local, regional, national, public and private actors as well as civil society. Annica Dahl, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor in Sweden, looks forward to the deepening cooperation:
"Now we have a platform for common priorities in the labor market. I think the most important thing is to learn from each other. An expert group is set up consisting of politicians and experts in these areas. We will see what results will come out of it.
A lot of hope is attached to regional cooperation and its ability to pull EU out of current difficulties, connected to Brexit and the refugee crisis.
Cooperation must get closer to the people and include organizations at all levels in society, local, regional, national, NGOs and academia. EUSBSRs first Participation Day ever, an idea that originated in the Danube Strategy, took place in Berlin in connection to this years Annual Forum. The arrangement gave new stakeholders possibility to meet experienced stakeholders and discuss new projects.
CLICK HERE to read more about Participation Day 2017 in Berlin.
"Integrate NEETs" project is part of the "School to Work" flagship (S2W), within the EU Baltic Sea Region Strategy (EUSBSR) and policy area Education (PA Education). The flagship aims to reduce the number of early school leavers as well as the number of NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) youngsters who neither work nor study in the Baltic Sea Region. The project offers a platform for common experience and knowledge sharing, method and policy development across national borders in the Nordic region and the Baltic Sea Region. A structured learning based on the principle of multilevel governance involving practitioners, officials and politicians as well as private sector. The contract relates to the services within the framework of the project.
NB! Only Swedish applicants are eligible for this task.
The registration for the Annual Forum in Berlin is now open. Please, register as soon as possible, the number of participants is limited.
The theme of this years Annual Forum is Connectivity. This choice of motto emphasizes the necessity to intesify contacts both within the Baltic Sea region and with neighboring regions.
You will find more information about the Annual Forum och the EUSBSR website. Click here to register for Annual Forum.
19th Baltic Development Summit will be arranged back to back with the Annual Forum, on the morning of 13 June. Note that the process of registration for the Annual Forum and Baltic Development Forum is two staged.
Within the framework of the EU Baltic Sea Strategy and the Annual Forum in Berlin, a ”Participation Day" will be organized for the first time. This is a seminar that aims to enable local, both public and non-profit stakeholders to get in touch with stakeholders that already work within the strategy and its transnational development processes.
During the seminar local stakholders are given the opportunity to submit proposals for new initiatives and projects. The concept of "Participation Day" was launched three years ago within the Danube strategy, and we have now also decided to test it.
Click here for the form where you can register your interest, describe your project proposal or any other initiative that you would like to develop within the framework of the Baltic Sea Strategy.
Last day for application is May 5.
Additional information is available in the attached documents.
We would be grateful if you would like to diseminate the invitation to organizations in your network that might be interested in participating in the seminar. Don´t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions:
Policy Area Coordinator/Horizontal Action Coordinator
PA Education/HA Capacity
The 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region will take place at the premises of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 13 and 14 June 2017. The general subject of the forum will be “Connectivity”. “Connectivity in a broad political sense highlights the necessity to further intensify contacts in the Baltic Sea region and to develop a better awareness of each other’s perspectives and sensitivities. It includes the totality of the Baltic Sea region. It is a prerequisite to enable confidence building with neighboring regions. It also concerns an efficient and comprehensive collaboration between all levels of government. Connectivity is essential for today’s research activities as well as for cultural exchange including tourism. Connectivity has an important infrastructural dimension - be it in the area of transport, energy or communication. It is the basis for modern business, which is network based and outward looking.” During the forum around 20 seminars will take place, with approximately 800 participants.
The 25th BSPC took place in Riga, Latvia and was opened by H.E. Mr Raimonds Vējonis, President of the Republic of Latvia. The focus of the conference, with around 200 delegates was, to pass a resolution on developing the Baltic Sea Region as a role model for future high quality education and labour. (http://www.bspc.net/25-bspc-resolution-final-eng/) The 26th BSPC will take place in Hamburg on 3-5 September 2017. The focus will be on sustainable tourism, democracy and participation and science, education and youth. Our flagship “Baltic Science Network” had been invited to the meeting of the Standing Committee in Hamburg, to present their flagship and to discuss their involvement in the next conference.
EUSDR PA9 | 4th International Stakeholder Conference - 5th October 2016 - Investing in People and Skills in the Danube Region: Towards a New Dynamic for Socio-Economic Development
The 4th International Stakeholder Conference “Investing in People and Skills in the Danube Region: Towards a New Dynamic for Socio-Economic Development” of PA9 took place on 5th October 2016 in Vienna. It was hosted by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection and was organised with technical assistance funding received from the European Union.
The 4th Stakeholder Conference aimed at discussing current European growth and development policies, how effective approaches to skills and competences impact their success and what challenges they face with regard to education and training, labour market and civil society participation. Workshops on relevant topics such as quality and efficiency of education and training, educational outcomes, labour market policies and social inclusion were held to exchange current policies and identify requirements and needs to face future challenges and developments. In this context participants were invited to find new opportunities for wider cooperation and closer collaboration. Furthermore, information on funding opportunities was provided by experts and lead partners throughout the conference.
Stakeholders from thirteen of fourteen Danube Region countries followed the invitation, 122 had registered and about 110 were actually present at the event. The following countries were represented (by number of registrations): EU Member States: Austria (54), Bulgaria (4), Croatia (4), Czech Republic (3), Germany (5), Hungary (6), Romania (8), Slovak Republic (6) and Slovenia (2), Accession Countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina (2), Montenegro (4) and Serbia (14), Neighbourhood Countries: Moldova (5) and Ukraine (0), International Organisations: European Commission and Danube Strategy Point (3), European Training Foundation (1), EUSBSR/Sweden (1). Participants’ working background is in ministries or other government bodies, educational institutions, NGOs, social partners or transnational bodies.
Highlights from the conference
Alois Stöger, Austrian Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection emphasised the importance of communication and cooperation in an area incorporating 14 countries and 120 million residents. He is grateful for 5 years of fruitful cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of Education and the Moldavian Ministries, Partners and all other stakeholders. In spite of the recent crisis in Europe, it will be necessary to regain trust in politics, to strengthen solidarity and the social dimension to prevent Europe from the influence of right wing populists. The EU should not be regarded merely as economic union, but as social union.
Klaus Körner: Policy Officer at the European Commission in the Directorate for Education and Culture In his statement, he related the question of the added value of EUSDR as a macro-regional process for European cooperation in Education and Training to the five Europe 2020 targets (increase employment rate, invest in research and development, turn to green energy, raise education, reduce drop-out rates and decrease number at risk of poverty and social exclusion). While there is no doubt about the value of the numerous projects that have been carried out incorporated in the EUSDR, the challenge on how to get from projects to sustainability and to generate new and significant results remains. He encouraged stakeholders to give feedback to the EC about their needs and to bring their ideas to the fore. He mentioned peer learning activities in different fields, launched to provide space for exchange of good practice and experience. Körner concluded, that regarding the main challenges on the skills agenda as well as the migration agenda it will perhaps be necessary to review the definition of “key competences” (from 2006) and to put more emphasis on civic competences rather than on technical skills.
Anders Bergström, Policy Area Coordinator PA Education/Horizontal Action Coordinator HA Capacity (both within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSBSR) The Baltic Sea Strategy was launched in 2009 as the first macro-regional strategy in Europe. It primarily affects eight Member States of the EU in the region (Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, counting 85 million inhabitants), but also non-EU countries are involved in Baltic Sea Region Cooperation, mostly Norway and Russia, as well as Iceland and Belarus. Apart from existing longer and being smaller, the EUSBSR shares some of the challenges and targets with the EUSDR. At present, refugees are a priority in primarily Finland, Germany and Sweden e. g., migration having been an issue for long, now the focus is on asylum seekers, their education and employability. Other priorities are the ageing population and lifelong learning, VET and work-based learning, excellence and entrepreneurship are key issues to be addressed in different education systems. Alignment of funding is a further key issue and at present networks exist for Managing Authorities in ESF, ERDF and EAFRD in the region. The tendency in the EUSBSR is less focus on projects but more on development processes gathering stakeholders in so called flagships. The flagships focus on societal challenges with thematic working groups where stakeholders in multilevel governance are working together, across borders. Projects are parts of the flagships concentrating resources for development and testing of new methods. Work on a local and regional levels are important as well as the integrated and coordinated governance of the Baltic Sea region. Success of the strategy also depends on the commitment by regional and local authorities and political actors in the respective countries.
Documents related to the conference under the title “Investing in People and Skills in the Danube Region: Towards a New Dynamic for Socio-Economic Development” are availiable on the website.