Regional Deed on Vocational Training aimed at Reducing Unemployment (Labour Market, 2015-2016, Piedmont Region)
The instrument is regularly in operation since the approval of Piedmont Region's law on Vocational Training and Guidance (1995). The 2015-2016 instrument covers the years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.
The instrument supports the training of: unemployed adults and young; disadvantaged and vulnerable people; and all the citizens for continuous training in general. The training area explicitly linked to training/skill needs indications is that related to young and adult unemployed (also TCNs).
The policy goal is to give the unemployed the opportunity to find employment through the development of skills and competences that match companies', sectors' or local economic systems' needs. The instrument specifically targets young and adult unemployed (also TCNs). The rationale of the instrument is that if an unemployed person develops skills and competences that are related to skills/competences needs characterising a specific local economic system (formally and rigorously analysed), then he/she will be more likely to find employment in that system. Within this framework, the instrument gives a contribution to the policy goal of tackling and reducing unemployment by explicitly indicating for each sub-regional area, what are the sectors and the professional profiles to be given priority in terms of training.
All the types of training actions included in the instrument are explicitly designed to tackle skills mismatch, with the aim of supporting trainees' employment, but 3 types of actions are also explicitly linked to sectors' and sub-regional areas' employment needs, in terms of professional profiles to be given priority.
Aim of policy instrument
Main responsible body
The Region is the strategic programming and funding subject; the Region's Observatory on Labour Market treats, analyses and supplies the administrative data on labour demand, and produces the indications about the professional profiles that should be given priority in training proposals; the operational programming of the activities (through a dedicated call) is made by the Region, as well and by the Metropolitan City of Turin (for the city of Turin only); the Region also monitors and assesses the instrument's implementation; accredited public and private training providers participate in the calls for courses' proposals and implement the training activities; Social Partners, Provinces and the Metropolitan City of Turin discuss with the Region the instrument's structure and contents in a dedicated body called Segretariato Per la Formazione e l'Orientamento Professionale (envisaged by the regional law on vocational training).
Approximately €40m every year are dedicated to the instrument, mostly coming from ESF and national co-funding. The instrument's funding covering the 2015-2016 period was about €42m. The training actions explicitly linked to skills/professional profiles indicated in the instrument itself received a funding of about €22m.
In general, the instrument's intended beneficiaries are young and adult unemployed, disadvantaged and vulnerable people, and adults in general (but only for continuous training). Focusing on the actions explicitly linked to skills/training needs indicated in the instrument, the intended beneficiaries are: unemployed young and adults with upper secondary or tertiary level qualifications; unemployed young and adults with lower secondary qualification; and unemployed Third Countries Nationals. These beneficiaries are expected to develop through the attendance of training courses, which match sector/local skills' needs, the skills and competences that will allow them to be employed in the regional economy.
Use of labour market intelligence
Administrative data on hiring/termination by professional profiles, as uploaded in the information and management system of Public Employment Services, have been analysed by the Region's Labour Market Observatory. Hiring/terminations were based on the compulsory communications employers must give the PES when hiring or dismissing an employee. These data are continuously and regularly updated and they do not come from specific surveys. Analyses are carried out by professional profile (also with reference to the national Decree regulating the Qualifications' Repository) and by sub-regional areas (corresponding the regional provinces and the City of Turin).
The financial scheme used within the instrument is the payment (to training providers) according to a scheme of Standard-costs Unit for Trainee/Hour (standard-costs values are defined by Region's regulations).
Frequency of updates
The sectors, areas and professional profiles data the instrument uses are administrative data uploaded in the Public Employment Services archives. This means that they are potentially always updated in real-time (net of the treatment and analysis activities, which are needed for presenting data in a form coherent with the instrument's purposes).
The instrument was originally introduced in 1995 and therefore a progressive adaptation took place in the following years in line with institutional changes (e.g. the modification of the Provinces' role), funding sources redefinition (e.g. the ESF different programming cycles), and local labour markets dynamics. In particular, to contain the negative employment effects of the economic crisis, in the last years the instrument introduced a more direct and explicit reference to local skills' and professional profiles' needs to be given priority in terms of funding and courses. The current running instrument is the most updated example of this adjustment process, which also adopted the Region's Labour Market Observatory use of sophisticated and complex techniques for treating and analysing data. At the moment, the improvement of such a technical dimension, aimed at making the skills needs indications more reliable, is still under development in cooperation with an important regional research centre.
It is difficult to weigh the labour demand in a way to make similar and comparable the different amount of jobs that falls behind a single skills demand. It is very different to demand one worker for a one-day job or for an open-ended contract. The category of "equivalent workload" has been created to keep in consideration the differences between long/short employment contracts and the balance, for each professional profile, of hiring and terminations. The Labour Market Observatory of Piedmont Region developed (and it is still developing) specific methodological solutions.
The main factor that improved the success of the instrument was the definition of absolutely distinct training measures for young unemployed with upper secondary education qualifications and adult (but also young) unemployed with lower upper education qualifications. Giving these two categories separate budgets also helped the measures to serve the two different target groups as expected.
The main indicators for the instrument's progress are: the number of unemployed in training activities (initial and final); the unemployment rate of participation and success in training; the number and type of training courses activated and concluded; the number and types of professional profiles indicated in the instrument for which the training was implemented/not implemented; the instrument's progression in spending its funding; and the sub-regional territorial coverage of the implemented training courses. The progress of the instrument is regularly checked through the collection and analysis of administrative and management data.
The instrument's main innovative elements are: the training's distinction between unemployed with low and medium-high formal educational qualifications; the skills' needs and professional profiles indications coming from public employment services administrative data (a cheaper and quicker way than a dedicated survey); and the proactive role of the Region in making explicit the professional profiles (and skills) to be given priority. The instrument is quite innovative in its logic at the national level, while in Piedmont it is now quite consolidated.
Evidence of effectiveness
No evidence of 2015-2016 instrument's effectiveness and impact will be available until at least 12-18 months after the actions' conclusion. In the past, surveys involving the recipients of a similar instrument (covering the ESF programming period 2007-2013) showed that the participation to training increased trainees' employment results in general, and that trainees with the lowest formal educational qualifications were those who mostly benefitted from training, also in term of net impact. In addition, a longitudinal analysis on the same beneficiaries showed that the positive employment effect became stronger and clearer the longer the observation time (that is, it increased in the period from 12 to 24 months after training's conclusion). Beneficiaries are generally as expected both in number and in profile. The instrument's benefits at individual level (that is re-employment or the improvement of beneficiaries' employability) are those expected in both quantitative and qualitative terms. The unemployed (young or adult) who enrol in a vocational training course generally have professional pathways and careers that are significantly harder and less linear and positive than those of who (unemployed as well, with the same age and individual profile) participate in other kinds of training opportunities (outside the vocational training system). For the instrument's actions recipients, the instrument seems to be able to fill their skills' and employment's gaps.
Engagement of stakeholders
The regional law on Vocational Training and Guidance (Law 63 of 1995) is the framework that defines and regulates the engagement of the different instrument's stakeholders (Region, other local institutions, accredited public and private training providers, Social Partners, and trainees). The law establishes the tasks and responsibilities of the involved institutions (planning, programming, funding, monitoring), as well as the bodies where Region, other public institutions and Social Partners discuss and confront on strategic choices, policies and instruments to be delivered (the so-called Segretariato per la Formazione e l'Orientamento Professionale). As for the involvement of training providers, it comes from their participation to the Region's call for making proposals of training courses in accordance to the priorities and indications contained in the instrument itself and in its enabling acts.
The instrument would be most successfully transferred in contexts where sound and updated administrative data about hiring/termination and employment contracts characteristics are available; and organisations that are able to treat and analyse the data must be effectively operating (such as skilled labour market observatories). It is crucial to be able to carefully read and understanding labour market administrative data for training policies definition's purposes, because not all the labour demand contents coming out of administrative data are relevant for training policies (e.g. the case of occupational positions for which there is a demand, but which do not require training).
The instrument, which comes from quite a long past, is certainly going to continue in the coming years. The main reason is that the instrument implements the Piedmont Region's policy in the area of tackling unemployment and supporting young and adult employment through a variety of actions targeted to different profiles of unemployed, both formally and in accordance with the regional law on vocational training.