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. www.s2wflagship.eu
Baltic Training Programme Supports the internationalization of vocational education and training as well as entrepreneurship and the internationalization of business. www.baltictrainingprogramme.se
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/
In cooperation with the Horizontal Action Neighbors, PA Education organised a seminar in St Petersburg targeting stakeholders in northwest Russia. More than 40 representatives from over 10 universities participated. Mr. Jan Lundin, Secretary General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) moderated the seminar. Mr. Mikko Lohikoski, Head of International affairs at the City of Turku gave an overview of the EUSBSR. Mr. Anders Bergström, PAC PA Education introduced the priority areas activities in the three policy areas: education, youth and labour mobility followed by presentations of current and emerging flagships. Next on the agenda was a presentation of the project EuroFaculty, aiming to upgrade university educations in Business Economics and Business administration. The Eurofaculty in Pskov initiated this project what later came to involve several universities in Russia and other countries in the Baltic Sea Region. There were many questions from the audience on how to get involved in flagships or how to start projects within PA Education. Many new contacts were established. Internationalisation of educational programs and educational training abroad is recognized to be an important component of future cooperation between Russia and EUSBSR. Besides, there is a need of continuous dialogue regarding existing initiatives and funding possibilities. As a result, PA Education coordinators received one-page summaries from five universities in St Petersburg, presenting proposals on new project initiatives.
Christiane Schadow is the successor of Susanne Lonscher-Räcke as Priority Area Coordinator and colleague to Anders Bergström. Mrs Schadow is representing the Land of Hamburg. She has been working as coordinator for international projects at the Hamburg Institute for Vocational Education and Training (HIBB) for four years.
The HIBB exists since January, 1st, 2007 as an independent State Office of Schools and Vocational Training Authority (BOD). Before, it belonged to the Ministry of Education and Sport. It comprises the 44 state vocational schools in Hamburg and the central office.
This annual event is organised by the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO), this year in cooperation with Tampere University of Applied Sciences, the Tampere University of Technology and the University of Tampere. The event provides the latest information about the international education activities of the higher education institutions. The main themes of the days are neighbourhoods and partnerships, and sustainable development. The seminar on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region gathered 25 participants. The EUSBSR was presented in general and PA Education more in depth. Lapland University of Applied Sciences presented HansaECVET, one of the projects in our flagship, Baltic Training Programme. HansaECVET supports internationalisation of vocational education and training (VET).
The 3rd Annual Forum in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region was hosted by the Austrian Government together with the City of Vienna. The topics for the Forum were;
- Inclusive, sustainable growth as a focus and prerequisite for prosperity,
- Multi-stakeholder European policies for an integrated and competitive Danube Region,
- Governance as a criterion of success for the EUSDR.
The Forum gathered close to 1 000 participants and was organised in the beautiful town hall in Vienna. With Austria and the City of Vienna as Priority Area Coordinators for PA 9 People and Skills with in the Strategy a lot of attention was put to education, both vocational and higher education.
The 1st Participation Day was organized at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, 50 km from Vienna. The EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) has been elaborated to address common challenges and provide comprehensive development in the Danube Region. The EUSDR as an integrated framework attempts to develop improved solutions by a "concrete process on the ground" that is operated by clear strategic visions, concrete concepts and projects. Thus, “by 2020, all citizens of the Region should enjoy better prospects of higher education, employment and prosperity in their own home area. The Strategy should make the Danube Region a truly 21st century region, secure and confident, and one of the most attractive in Europe.”. In this context, the participants of the 1st Participation Day of the EUSDR have discussed opportunities for enhanced participation of local and regional actors as well as civil society in the implementation of EUSDR. The conference gathered 120 participants from 14 countries. An important part was the discussions in smaller groups with the following theme; local administration, civil society, culture and youth.
During the political week in Visby on the island of Gotland, PA Education together with European Social Fund in Sweden and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Stockholm held seminar on vocational education and training (VET) in Finland, Sweden and Germany. During the seminar, guests learned more about the Finnish VET and the German dual education comparring them with Swedish VET.
Vocational education and training is more responsive to labor market needs and lead faster to job compared to educations that are preparing for university studies. Interest to it is growing all around Europe. The Higher Vocational Education and Training (Yrkeshögskolan) was established in Sweden five years ago. This education proves to provide employability directly after finalized education. Finland has long experience of providing post-secondary VET and also with good results. Germany is often presented as one of the best examples of well-functioning VET.
Panelists discussed main components of such success and challenges that countries are facing. Event was attended by over 20 professionals from the educational field. Discussion was moderated by PA Education coordinator Anders Bergström. Panelists were Benjamin Krautschat from German Trade Union Youth, Stefan Skimutis from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education and Edvard Johansson from Åland University of Applied Sciences.
During the first week of June stakeholders of the EUSBSR met in the city of Turku, Finland for the week of seminars, workshops and networking activities to connect and develop collaboration in the Baltic Sea region.
Within the framework of Baltic Sea Days coordinators of the PA Education took active part in the 16th Baltic Development Forum (BDF) and 5th Annual Meeting of EUSBSR. Priority area coordinators used this opportunity to hold coordination group meeting.
During two days PA Education was present in the networking village during the BDF representing current flagship projects: Baltic University Program, South Baltic Training Program, Baltic Sea Labor Forum, Baltic Sea Youth Forum, School 2 work, Quick IGA. Anders Bergström, during the speaking sessions, presented PA Education and made a short overview of implemented and ongoing projects.
Our coordination group meeting took place on June 2nd. In one place we succeeded to gather representatives of different levels and this ensured fruitful discussion and informative presentations. Participants of the meeting were representing DG Employment and DG Regio, Ministries of education/labour(Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Poland). Flagship leaders (present, emerging and possible), representatives from ESF (European Social Fund) and land of Hamburg were present on the meeting.
We started with the news and current status from EUSBSR and PA Education. Presentation with facts and figures you can find here.
Christian Råbergh from ESF updated on funding opportunities : programmes (ESF Baltic Sea Network, ERDF and Erasmus +) and seed money facilities. Most of the programmes will open their calls in the end of this year or early 2015. Anders Bergström gave a report in brief on the two remaining seed money facilities; Swedish Institute (SI) and CBSS Project Support Facility. Most probably this year only SI will be open for new applications.
Targets and Indicators (baselines for education) were also discussed. The Priority Area Focal Points reported difficulties in collecting data for the baselines of our first two targets. Furthermore it was discussed whether the data will be relevant in regards to measuring progress and outcomes when implementing the Strategy. It was decided that Anders Bergström will discuss with DG Regio whether we need to have broad targets and indicators like today or if we could instead have targets and indicators related to our flagships and their projects.
Flagship leaders presented milestone results of their projects. Afterwards, we shared ideas, comments and next steps in the upcoming period. You can read more about our flagships and status report here.
The next coordinating group meeting is planned in June 2015, during the Annual Forum of EUSBSR in Riga.
During the visit, on the 20th of May, Swedish and German experts in educational questions gathered in the Secretariat of Council of the Baltic Sea States to discuss concrete proposals of cooperation in the educational sphere in the Baltic Region. For example, development of network of educational institutions in the region for exchange of competences and experiences. Priority area coordinator Anders Bergström took active part in the discussion and presented one of the current flagships HansaECVET, with leading partners from Sweden, Finland and Germany (Land of Hamburg), which supports internationalization of vocational education and training in all 8 Baltic Sea States. www.hansaecvet.eu/
On the 19th of May Priority Area Coordinators met for the core group meeting in Nordens Biskops Arnö, 60 km north-west from Stockholm. Representatives from Land of Hamburg and Norden Association revised action plan and discussed results of the PA Education activities during autumn 2013/Spring 2014. Coordinators admitted importance of all three policy areas that PA Education covers and focus will be made on the initiating new flagship projects that touch upon education, youth and labor mobility in the Baltic Sea Region. Fact and figures of current status you can find here PA Education_Status 2014.ppt
This year, annual meeting of the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Development brought together some 250 representatives from local partnerships, government officials, public employment services, local leaders, youth organisations, social entrepreneurs, business representatives, and academics.
Organisers of the meeting claim, that in the recovery, local communities can boost economic growth and sustainability by investing in a skilled workforce who is less expendable, more adaptable to change and better able to contribute to productivity growth and the creation of new jobs. In order to contribute to this agenda, employment and training organisations need to align their services effectively with local conditions and with broader local economic development strategies.
Three days meeting consisted of plenary sessions, interactive workshops and the Local Initiatives. Forum provided opportunities to learn from international experience, present projects and network with peers from other counties. Important part of the meeting were project visits, when participants had the opportunity to learn directly from a range of projects based in Stockholm and discussed their work with staff and service users.
Special focus was displayed during a series of pre and post-events and reviewed the latest development in understanding: ways to reduce school dropout rates; links between skills, economic diversity and local development; new approaches to area-based partnerships and local governance; ecosystems for social innovation; brokerage as the key to unlocking the new economy
On 9-10 of April coordinators of national contact points, priority area coordinators and horizontal action leaders of the EUSBSR discussed opportunities and difficulties that are emerging during the implementation stage of the Baltic Sea Strategy.
During first day, discussion touched upon enhancement and coordination within the EUSBSR, primarily in Priority areas and horizontal actions.
It is clear, that the role of steering committees and coordination groups plays vital role in the progress of the priority areas, especially when it comes to initiation and launching of new flagship projects. Participants got a chance to learn about main principles when setting up a steering committee and lessons learnt from the coordinator of Priority Area Ship.
Now there is more clarity in the question of what horizontal action leaders can offer to different stakeholders in the Baltic Sea strategy. Horizontal action leaders presented rapports about their activities and links to priority areas needs. It gave insight into support they can offer to the project managers and priority area coordinators when working with developing and implementation of the projects. Presentation from the Horizontal Action Leaders you can find via http://www.balticsea-region.eu/communication/events/600073-5th-working-meeting-of-the-eusbsr/event_details
Networking meeting of Swedish national and regional authorities, conducted by Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, was dedicated to the relevant questions for those working with Baltic Sea Strategy.
Communicators from Swedish Institute and Foreign Ministry presented strategy of their work with social media. According to them, it is important to use social media because it is a new way to track the worlds news; to network in the modern society, because every person is an opionor builder. Followers on social media are now even substituting business cards exchange. Among those most relevant tools are still website, twitter and networks for professional exchange. People tend to spend less time reading long articles and reports. So it is important to keep information short and consistent. Other challenge is to involve young generation into political process. Modern social media tools: like blogs, instagram, linked in and facebook is a relevant challenge to reach out youth.
From the previous experiences of leading international projects, managers point out on the importance to manage cultural differences and be flexible when it comes to adding or changing partners in the project. Combination of resources is vital, when particular stakeholders accomplish tasks they are specialized in.
On the 25th March Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth conducted a seminar on transnational cooperation. Participants from different organisations that work on national, regional and local level shared experiences of possibilities and outcomes of cooperation with Baltic Sea States.
One of three main transnational programs 2014-2020 in Sweden is Baltic Sea Program. Besides it, there is North Sea Region Program and Northern Periphery and Arctic program.
Participants of the meeting underlined, that the result of projects and cooperation should be – products or services tested during the flagships and provide community with the solution to common problems in the region.
For better cooperation on all levels, Swedish institutions in upcoming period will focus on skills and competences of professionals, working with the strategy; and political leadership of the country are to point the direction to regional and national actors and lead the implementation. When starting cooperation, it is important to be enthusiastic and see possibilities, not obstacles.
Advices for those actors, who want to initiate project were: to engage into project development those stakeholders, who will benefit from its outcomes. Most probably, they can come up with reasonable suggestions. Getting to know project partners before the project start will ease communication and help to prepare common vision of the project implementation and results.
ESF Baltic Sea Network (ESF-BSN) organized a meeting which was held on 6-7 of March, 2014 inTartu, Estonia. Participants of the network meeting were from Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden and Germany. International cooperation specialist Asta Jurgute represented ESFA and participated in the discussions of the Network.
The members of the Network during the fruitful 2 days meeting discussed about Common Themes, Common/minimum criteria for calls and project assessment, Partner search activities, set the preliminary dates for the Launch of first synchronized call, agreed on future plans of the network. The topics for discussions were related to the EU Baltic Sea Region strategy, the links of the strategy with the ESF.
The aim of the Network is to strengthen the transnational cooperation between projects funded by the ESF in the Member States. A particular focus of the network is on the cooperation between projects and stakeholders in the Member States in the Baltic Sea Region.
The Baltic Sea Strategy aims at reaching more stakeholders.
Regional meetings will attract stakeholders from several sectors and levels of governance to learn more about what the Baltic Sea Strategy can offer in the form of a framework for effective cooperation. Two regional meetings have already taken place, in Umeå and in Hässleholm.
More information about the event in Hässleholm can be found here.