One step ahead
This was a temporary ALMP programme, designed to run for only a few years.
This is an ALMP programme aimed at upgrading the skills of lowly-educated individuals and adults with obsolete vocational degree wishing to participate in a training programme with a more modern training scope.
The policy goal was to improve the qualification level of the Hungarian adult population through training programmes designed to allow trainees to “take a step forward” relative to their previous levels of qualification and knowledge/skills.
The aim of the program was to bring into employment those people with low school qualifications, or no skills. The program is an example, where approximately 20,000 adults were assisted in completing primary schooling and acquiring a vocational qualification during the program free of charge. The labour centres used every means at their disposal to foster the successful implementation of the program. They took part in the identification of shortage vocations to specify the types of training to be delivered under the program, as well as in the compilation of the training list.
The main objective of this program was to improve the qualification level of the population. A shortage of vocations were identified by the labour centres, and those shortages specify the types of training to be delivered under the program.
Aim of policy instrument
This is a programme operated by the Hungarian PES and funded by the European Social Fund. There i
Main responsible body
Public Employment Services Hungary (AFSZ - Allami Foglalkoztatasi Szolgalat)
Public Employment Services - the gatekeepers for the unemployed to the different service providers, and also provide mentoring services
Training Providers - providing training
Regional Development and Training Committees - specifying the list of vocations in high-demand
18,500 million HUF (€58 million) was the total budget of the programme, most of which was provided by the European Social Fund.
The One step ahead programmes offered general or vocational training to participants who had primary education or less, and in exceptional cases, vocation retraining to those with a vocation considered outdated.
Use of labour market intelligence
Adults with an obsolete vocational degree (defined as those vocations no longer listed by the National Qualifications Registry - OKJ) wishing to upgrade their skills are a core target group of the programme. All participants receive training that provides skills and knowledge relevant under the actual labour market conditions, considering PES vacancy information (in some counties, the so called "bértarifa" survey, which is an annual survey on labour demand by employers).
Besides training, participants also received cash transfer (the amount of one-month minimum wage after every successful 150 hours of training) during programme participation.
Frequency of updates
The National Qualifications Registry and the Regional Development and Training Committee's list of qualifications in high demand are updated on an annual basis.
There were no adjustments in the design or implementation of the programme.
Selection by the PES counsellors and self-selection of the participants were likely to result in lower take-up of the most disadvantaged individuals (within the pool of eligible low skilled jobseekers). In addition, in high seasons of casual work, participants were less likely to take up and complete training programmes.
Narrow targeting which ensures that the programme reaches the most disadvantaged individuals (within the total pool of jobseekers).
Factors that could further improve the success of the programme include:
1) Employing strict quality assurance measures and teachers/trainers specialized in adult education.
2) The use of educational materials created specifically for adult learners is crucial.
3) Sensitive scheduling of the trainings is of utmost importance as well. In high seasons of casual work, usually in the summer, potential participants may be less likely to enter and complete training programmes.
4) Resources should be allocated across regions, based on the number of uneducated jobseekers rather than the number of jobseekers, especially if the budget of such ALMPs is reduced in the next programming period.
The evaluation report by Adamecz et al (2013) used outcome indicators such as exit to employment/unemployment, or leaving the unemployment registry. They also assessed the take-up rate of the targeted participant group.
Besides the training programs, psycho-social support was provided to participants. Mentors were also employed to provide assistance for adults, for example, by providing motivation, social care, psycho-social support, development of learning skills etc.
Evidence of effectiveness
The programme increased the probability that its uneducated participants found a job by 34– 40% points. 57-71% of the participants entered employment at least once during the programme period or within 6 months after completing the programme.
The budget of the programme in per capita terms was 796 thousand HUF per person in the programme. If we consider only those participants who found a job during the programme or within half a year afterwards, per capita costs amount to 1,263 thousand Forints per person This per capita budget would be enough to finance 14-15 months of public works per person, calculated at 2013 nominal prices. Based on the Roma population of the settlements from where there were no programme participants, about 16-17% of the Roma population (a key target group) was completely left out from the programme. As the data suggests, if a programme is bigger in size, it can reach not simply more people, but smaller settlements as well. This is important, because 16% of the Hungarian Roma population live in small villages with less than 1,000 inhabitants. This outcome also suggests that there was some creaming in the programme (i.e. PES staff was less likely to offer participation to the most disadvantaged jobseekers, within the eligible pool). There are no unexpected benefits or costs recorded in the evaluations of the programme.
Engagement of stakeholders
The continuous feedback between the PES staff, the mentors and the training providers would be of utmost importance to ensure the success of this and similar programmes. There is limited evidence on the frequency and way of knowledge sharing among the different actors in this programme.
This programme is easily transferable, however, the availability of i) external training providers, ii) high-quality trainers and training materials for adult learners and iii) skills and abilities of the PES staff to coach/mentor the unemployed are prerequisites to successful implementation.
This programme has been closed already.