Description

Timespan

2009 -2014, 2013 - present. There is some overlap between the instrument previously called the ETF and its transformation into the current CISP.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The measure consists of training measures, aimed specifically at unemployed people to get them back in the labour market. The instrument, therefore, has strong ALMP and education elements. The main goal is to achieve job orientation, skills development (basic and specific) and finally employment for job seekers.

Policy goal

The instrument, the Centres d'Insertion Socioprofessionnelle (CISP) is a centre that provides trainings for people not in employment. The CISP groups the competences previously implemented by the "Enterprises de Formation par le Travail" (EFT) and the "Organismes d'Insertion Socioprofessionnelle" (OISP). The centres, which are local non-profit associations, encourage the professional development of lower educated adults detached from the labour market (who completed mandatory education) by updating their general and technical skills. Every CISP covers at least one of the three domains mentioned through the operation of workshops. The CISPs give a personalised guidance to the intern all the way until reaching professional specialisation. The specialisation is chosen among a wide range of possibilities that match the skills needed in the labour market. The rationale is to prepare adult job-seekers with links to the labour market, and provide general and technical training for a given profession. Job-seekers are trained in the necessary and relevant skills needed in their desired profession, in a real working environment. The link between training and work is made stronger for all job-seekers, with a special focus on providing vocational guidance, basic training in transversal skills, and vocational training to provide job seekers with skills required for specific professions.

Mismatch
Explicitly designed to address skill mismatch

The decree-law of 10th July 2013 establishes the specific characteristics of the measure.

Administrative level
Regional
Main responsible body

The initiative is under the mandate of the Walloon government, Department of Employment and Vocational Training.

Stakeholders

The Forem (Walloon office for employment and professional formation) is responsible for the funding and the decision making process.
The "Conseil economique et social de la Wallonie"(Wallonian economic and social council) is in charge of monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of the measure.
The designed centres, which are non-profit organisations, (the CISPs) are in charge of the design of the specific plans of training. Every CISP is either specialized in the training for different jobs, provides basic training(s) or performs orientation course(s).
The Service Public de Wallonie (SPW) controls the number of hours delivered by the CISP and the quality of the courses and trainings, while the Forem gives the subsidies to the CISP and controls its administration.

Funding

€83 million were transferred from the Forem (Walloon office for employment and professional formation) to the CISPs in 2016 according to the hours of training/courses agreed.

Intended beneficiaries

Adults that have completed mandatory education, but have not completed secondary education; are registered at the Forem office; and have been unemployed at least 18 months in the last 24 months.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The courses supplied by the CISPs are selected/adapted to provide training in order to enhance the adaptability of low skilled job seekers to the needs of labour market.

Financial schemes

Subsidies are provided to the CISPs by the Forem (Walloon office for employment and professional formation). The amount of funding depends on the total number of hours of training previously agreed with the centre, which is multiplied by the price per hour (nowadays €15 per hour).

Development

An adjustment took place on May 26th 2016. The conditions of eligibility changed in order to reach the most vulnerable subjects. The maximum hours offered by a centre, the harmonisation of payment per hour and the pedagogical framework were also changed to give more flexibility to the centres regarding their teaching strategies. The main concern is the control and balance of the costs of the centres (since previously there were three sources of finance that have now been replaced by only one).

Barriers

The main barrier is the effective articulation of the measure between the Forem and the CISPs in the financial aspect. It has been overcome through an increase in the financial transfers to the centres.

Success factors

The changes to the measure are still too recent to know if any improvement was made.

Monitoring

Monitoring indicators include: the share of trainees entering the labour market; the number of hours of training taught; the number of users; the variety of job specialisation offered by the centres; and the number of courses available.

Innovativeness
Slightly innovative

The measure makes a difference in the three steps that a low skilled person may need to re-enter the labour market: orientation, basic training and specialised training. In addition, every job applicant gets an individualised plan according to their preferences, thus increasing the possibilities of success on the labour market.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

In 2017, the labour integration rate was 50% on average, e.g. 2,000 jobs, 20,000 recipients, more than 5 million hours supplied. The first reports are expected for 2018, so the results are still not known. Unexpected costs include: the CISPs focus too much on supplying skills for jobs that are easy to get, which are not always the desirable ones from a social perspective; there is an administrative burden of running the programmes; and trainees can end up too far from their initial job. It is not clear whether or how this barrier has been overcome.

Engagement of stakeholders

To become a CISP, organisations must apply to the Forem and fulfil a number of criteria. The application is reviewed by the Public Service of Wallonia's Employment and Vocational Training department. If an organisation is accepted as a CISP, the Public Service of Wallonia (SPW) and the Regional Minister for Employment then grant the approval to the organisation. Participants in the CISPs must be registered with the Forem as a job seeker to be eligible for participation.

Transferability
Not easily transferable

The CISP consists of a network of centres that specialise in different courses offered to low skilled individuals employed or looking for work. The trainings must be accredited and recognised at national level. Implementing this measure requires having a network of such centres and mechanisms for developing and accrediting nationally recognised trainings. Setting up such a framework requires organisational and financial resources, and relations with social partners to develop and deliver the training and qualification courses. Therefore, the ease of transferability is difficult to estimate.

Sustainability

The instrument has been operative for 40 years (with different names and not always the same mission), and it has great value for the Wallonian society in terms of professional education and for a better adaptability in the labour market. So it is expected that at least the rationale of the instrument will still be operative over the next few years.

Description

Timespan

The competent matching system uses a database system called "Competent". This system was developed by Flemish Social-Economic Council, SERV. In 2016, the Flemish Minister for work decided the database system would be transferred to the VDAB, the Flemish PES. This system is the foundation for the competency-based matching approach adopted by the VDAB.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The instrument primarily expands the existing supply of education, as described in the ‘werk en investeringsplan’ (Labour and investment plan).

Policy goal

Increases the most needed skills in the labour market. The programmes are directly targeted towards the ‘knelpuntenberoepen’ (professions with shortages) – as identified by the VDAB (public employment service). The rationale here is that by allowing job seekers and enterprises to contribute to the database (by filling in career fiches), the database and career fiches are quickly updated according to current and actual supply and demand of skills, allowing for more effective and efficient matching.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

This instrument deals explicitly with skills mismatch, as these are generally linked to the competency database Competent, which, as part of the programme, will also include skill forecasts.

Administrative level
Regional
Main responsible body

This instrument is primarily initiated by the VDAB in collaboration with the Flemish Social-Economic Council, SERV.

Stakeholders

The Flemish government introduced this measure. The Flemish Public employment service (via VDAB) and companies offer training. The VDAB is an autonomous public institution.

Funding

The VDAB is funded by the Flemish government. The VDAB states that overall, in 2014, it spent €651 million of which €444 million was allocated to direct services. A further €107.7 million was allocated to external partners.

Intended beneficiaries

Intended beneficiaries are both job seekers and enterprises. The instrument helps job seekers to communicate which types of skills and competences they have, and allows enterprises to communicate which types of skills and competences they need.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The instrument allows job seekers and enterprises to communicate which skills and competences they have and which ones are needed, and feed this information into the Competent database using career fiches. This database of career fiches is used in the employment services to match job seekers to enterprises. Based on the information from the database, competency-based matching takes place, and the PES decides which specific services are required to help a job seeker (which training or courses may be required, which career or specific enterprises may be suitable, etc).

Financial schemes

The instrument does not make use of financial schemes or incentives as it is an information database. The VDAB uses the database and the developed set of competence fiches they're in to counsel unemployed in finding employment by matching skills. These vocational skill profiles can serve as the basis for the services of the Flemish PES.

Frequency of updates

The career fiches are updated in an ad hoc manner, in line with developments on the labour market and in a given profession: if the skill requirements for a profession changes, then these developments are in principle, also incorporated into the career fiches. The frequency of updates is therefore not regular.

Development

The initiative of adopting a more focused competent based matching was already present at the VDAB in 2015, and in 2016 the VDAB formally received the responsibility for the Competent database and the career fiches contained therein. Since then there do not seem to have been any changes or adjustments made to the Competent database or the competent based matching approach to offering employment services. The database is currently hosted externally from the VDAB website, and is a collaborative project now with Répertoire Opérationnel des Métiers et des Emplois van Pôle employ.

Barriers

The stakeholder and especially social partner collaboration has been problematic. While the VDAB has a stronger network of social partners than the SERV, it is still unclear to what degree the unwillingness of social partners to cooperate has been resolved. It appears that sectors develop their own versions of career fiches and these are not necessarily used by the VDAB as they do not lend themselves to proper qualifications harmonization. Instead, enterprises come together to help contribute to the development and updating of the career fiches. This particular unwillingness amongst social partners such as SERV, and certain associations of enterprises, to contribute to developing the career fiches has not been overcome. Instead, different enterprises and associations of enterprises became involved with the measure and in developing the career fiches.

Success factors

The integration of the career fiches database directly into the VDAB website has been an improvement in the policy instrument, as it is now easily and directly accessible by individuals. As a result, the database can easily be found, which increases its utility for job seekers and employers.

Monitoring

The VDAB does not appear to monitor the number of hits or uses of the database, though it does monitor the number of visits and views its website and webpages receive. Therefore, it can deduce how many individuals click on the link for the career fiche database. Besides this, the database is used as one of several tools to help job seekers find work. The VDAB monitors how many individuals find work after the competence and skill enhancing activities.

Innovativeness
Very innovative

The innovativeness of this instrument lies in the fact that it directly targets both working individuals and the unemployed with programmes improving the specific skills in demand by the Flemish labour market (identified as ‘knelpuntenberoepen’).

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

In 2015, the Flemish Minister for Work refers to the innovative and efficient nature of the Competent database and its application in the VDAB’s activities. While the measure has not been evaluated yet, other countries are following the example and adopting similar databases to streamline their employment services. In 2015, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands had all indicated their interest in adopting something similar in their own countries. In the absence of an evaluation, this international interest suggests the approach is quite effective. The results, as reported by the government, seem positive. A significant number of additional courses were organised, supposedly targeted at professions with shortages. As the measure has been introduced into the VDAB organisation relatively recently, it is difficult to make assessments as to how beneficiaries experience the measure. The competent based matching is also more of a broader approach to matching job seekers and employers, and a less concrete instrument. Therefore, it becomes more difficult to attribute any increases in job placements to this broader approach, and as a result measuring the specific impact becomes more difficult. The main unexpected cost with the instrument is that sectoral organisations are reluctant to cooperate and have the competence and skill requirements be harmonized for Belgium and in as much as possible, the rest of Europe, in line with common qualification frameworks. Besides this, no particular unexpected benefits or costs have come forward as the instrument is a supportive tool for job seekers and employers more than anything else.

Engagement of stakeholders

In developing the Competent database, which forms the basis for the competent based matching approach, the SERV utilised the French databased RÔME as its starting point. The French PES shared the database with the SERV to use and potentially harmonise qualification and career fiches in the future to promote cross-border labour mobility. However, getting the Flemish social partners to agree on the contents of the French-based career fiches proved very problematic and this issue was never quite overcome. In this way, the social partners and stakeholders were involved in the beginning of the Competent database, but less so in recent years. Since then, having been moved to the responsibility of the VDAB, the social partners have been brought together more, and job seekers and enterprises also contribute to developing career fiches.

Transferability
Not easily transferable

If labour market demand analysis that focus on certain skills are present, this instrument is relatively easily transferable. The measure is largely based on the existence of a database of career fiches, which requires collaboration and agreement by stakeholders on what requirements belong with which career.

Sustainability

Given that the database for the career fiches was set up recently and became the responsibility of the VDAB in 2016, this measure has been introduced relatively recently. It is also quite an innovative measure and given that no real challenges have appeared, it is reasonable to assume this measure will remain in place for years to come.

Description

Timespan

The law establishing the IBO in its current form was introduced in 2009. The measure itself was implemented and introduced at the end of 2011.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The measure involves the PES for Flanders (the VDAB), who connect job-seekers and enterprises. These three parties collaborate to develop specialized training and education plans for job-seekers so that they can work in a specific enterprise. The job-seeker then follows training and education at the enterprise in question. The measure also entails that the job-seeker must find employment at the enterprise at the end of the training plan. In this way job-seekers receive VET to be suited to the specific business needs of the enterprise in question.

Policy goal

Provide unemployed individuals (sometimes specific target groups) with the necessary skills and competences to carry out work within a specific enterprise. The rationale behind the IBO measure is that by bringing a job seeker and enterprise together, the VDAB can help develop a training and education plan that allows the job seeker to attain the skills required by the enterprise in question. The job seeker can learn while working at the enterprise and become acquainted with the organisation, prove themselves, and learn the necessary skills. A feature of the measure is that the job seeker receives employment at the enterprise once the training is complete. The rationale is that such specific matching between individual enterprises and job seekers, together with the feature that the job seeker becomes employed, promotes employment through a tailored matching in skills and competences to an enterprise’s needs.
The goal is to offer 13,500 training programmes in 2012 (11,979 reached), 15,500 in 2013 and 17,000 in 2014.

Mismatch
Explicitly designed to address skill mismatch

The measure targets unemployed individuals and has the specific goal of setting up a training and education plan so that the unemployed individual learns and acquires the necessary skills to fulfil a specific job within an enterprise. The training and education plan is set up in discussion with the VDAB (the Flemish public employment service), the enterprise in question, and the job seeker. Trainings can last between 4 and 24 weeks and lead to a job at the specified enterprise. As such, individuals are trained to attain the necessary skills and competences for a specific job at a specified enterprise.

Aim of policy instrument

The instrument is also designed in such a way as to make it financially more attractive for enterprises to find and acquire the skills they need, and more financially feasible for job seekers to seek education and training. Furthermore, the direct targeting of a skill needed by an enterprise, and the requirement that a job seeker be hired, mean the chance of employment is very high if not assured.

Administrative level
Regional
Main responsible body

The VDAB, the Flemish public employment service is responsible. It is an autonomous public institution that is not accountable to a specific minister. The organisation is run by a board of directors and it reports regularly to the Flemish Parliament on its activities.

Stakeholders

The Flemish government introduced this measure. The Flemish Public employment service (via VDAB) and companies offer training. The VDAB is an autonomous public institution. The VDAB is a key player, as are enterprises who act as the employers as well as the learning environment. There is an internal consulting department that evaluates the education and training a job seeker receives via the IBO. There is also a further consultant within the IBO that screens a job seeker upon applying for the measure and makes sure they are suitable candidates. This consultant also makes sure that other factors and conditions can be met by the applicant (such as transport to their place of training, and childcare services).

Funding

The VDAB is funded by the Flemish government. In 2014, VDAB spent €651 million, of which €444 million was allocated to direct services. A further €107.7 million was allocated to external partners.
The total cost of the IBO specifically is not publicly available, but in 2014, 14,360 job seekers were enrolled in the IBO, and besides their unemployment benefits, this led to a total cost of €54.390 million for the service.
The ESF also provides funds to the VDAB and the IBO. For the period 2016 – 2017, the ESF paid the VDAB €39 million to support it in its activities, specifically for work based apprenticeships and the IBO.

Intended beneficiaries

The unemployed, with a focus on individuals with combined problems. The targeted groups range from youth, disadvantaged groups, individuals over 50 and the long-term unemployed. The people enrolled in the programme will have employment after the programme expires, at least for as long as the education lasts.
Enterprises benefit from being able to employ individuals cheaply and train them in the needs and competences required for their specific business activities. As a part of the instrument is hiring the individual after the IBO duration, the enterprise, in effect, has the chance to train and prepare an individual for work in that company at a lower cost.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The IBO measure centres on making it financially attractive for enterprises to hire a job seeker for up to 6 months and to train them within their enterprise. This provides the job seeker with valuable work experiences (making them more attractive on the labour market), as well as competences and skills relevant to the enterprise. In this way, job seekers gain experience and are helped further in their job search, and enterprises are helped in their business activities; these two aspects form the main LMSI tools.

Financial schemes

A financial incentive is used to make it attractive for enterprises and for job seekers to be involved in the IBO measure. The PES, in this case the VDAB, provides the job seeker with a comparable salary to that which they would start earning when they start working at the selected enterprise. The enterprise (the future employer) in this case pays the difference between the unemployment benefit and the level of the future salary as a “prestatie premie” or performance subsidy.

Frequency of updates

The IBO instrument has existed in its current form for quite some time and is not actively or regularly adjusted unless there is a concrete reason for changing the approach.

Development

The instrument is quite old and has been in place for some time. It initially started as a response to labour market needs for certain professions, for which there were no education courses available. The IBO worked to establish which skills and expertise were needed and to provide education and skills through placements at companies. The programme has been in place since 1988 and was adjusted and re-introduced in its current form in 2009. Additionally, in 2013, an adjustment was made by the Flemish government concerning the employment contracts a job seeker receives at an enterprise upon completing their training. Before the 2013 adjustment, a job seeker would receive a fixed contract at the enterprise, but with the alteration, enterprises can also offer job seekers a temporary contract. This change was made as a “crisis measure” to better cope with the aftermath of the Euro crisis. This measure does not, however, seem to have been turned back. One adaptation that was made to the IBO in its current (after 2009) form, is that previously, students following part-time VET or education courses could still make use of the IBO. This was changed in 2015. Besides that, no major changes have happened to the instrument. At most, adaptations are made to the focus of the IBO; the VDAB may decide that certain sectors need more attention and focus, or certain groups and types of job seekers. The VDAB for instance releases regular overviews of “knelpuntberoepen” or bottle neck jobs, which receive extra attention.

Barriers

As the instrument has been running for so long (in its current form since 1998, but it was in place before then), major obstacles or barriers have been resolved. The only issues which the VDAB encounters with its IBO relates to the participants at the individual level. Issues centre around a candidate’s ability and willingness to do the IBO, or on their circumstances and being able to participate. Transportation to the employer and childcare services are more common barriers to participating in the IBO for individuals, and this is often an area that a consultant from the VDAB needs to help a job seeker in resolving first. The promotion of the measure still requires further efforts. Since its introduction in 2009 and full implementation by 2011, the measure is still not so well known according to stakeholders. This is a barrier to more utilization of the measure, and one which the VDAB tries to overcome with promotion activities, and information sessions. As such, the VDAB and the Voka, the Flemish enterprise network, regularly hold information evenings to promote the existence of the IBO. However, the outcomes and impact of these information activities are not monitored, and the effectiveness of these sessions are therefore difficult to estimate.
Job.be reported that although the measure is mainly aimed at the Flanders region, many French speaking job seekers and enterprises wish to make use of the measure as well. This does involve a language barrier of course between French enterprises and job seekers, and Flemish speaking enterprises and job seekers. However the VDAB wishes to support French speaking potential beneficiaries by incorporating language components in their training plans where possible.

Success factors

Three key things are important to the success of an IBO trajectory: 1) the employer needs to have a job opening and really have the intention and need to train and hire a new employee; 2) the jobseeker and candidate for the IBO must be both able and willing to following the IBO trajectory for a given job opening; and 3) there must be sufficient and correct support and guidance on the work floor.
One of the factors to improve the success of the policy instrument are the continued efforts to improve the promotion and awareness of the measure. Although the VDAB promotes the measure, in 2015 the larger recruitment organisations, Job.be, reported that the IBO was still relatively unknown, despite its benefits. However by 2016, the VDAB reported that the instrument has become more visible.

Monitoring

The VDAB monitors the number of apprenticeships or training programmes that are started, and the number of apprenticeships that lead to actual jobs. Additionally, the number of applicants and running apprenticeships are also monitored. It should be noted, however, that not all of these statistics are public. The 2016 VDAB annual report indicates that in 2016, 20,592 IBO apprenticeships were set up. The regularity with which these aspects are measured varies, but the number of apprenticeships and jobs generated are reported annually to the Flemish government. Besides monitoring the number of individuals following an IBO course, the VDAB monitors the quality of the IBO courses they provide. The VDAB talks with all of the parties involved at regular intervals: the employing enterprise, and the job seeker (who becomes the participant). The VDAB monitors the number of talks held with different parties, and through a random sample, checks a selection of the minutes made for each of those talks for the quality of the talks. In this way, they have a quantitative and qualitative approach to ensuring the quality of the IBO trajectory offered.

Innovativeness
Very innovative

The instrument combines employer engagement with updating/improving skills in direct relation to particular (anticipated) skill mismatches. As such, it can be considered an innovative instrument. A similar measure already existed for 10 years, but was part of vocational education. The fact that it is now applied for the unemployed is the innovative aspect. The policy in its current form can be considered quite innovative. The idea of directly bringing together a job-seeker and an enterprise to train and educate the job seeker to fulfil the needs of the enterprise is mutually beneficial, and hones in on the core issue of instilling the necessary skills in a job seeker. The job seeker already receives unemployment benefits and can keep on doing so while they learn and are essentially trained for a job at a specific enterprise. This direct matching and training of job seekers and enterprises is a relatively innovative approach.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

In 2013, 80% of IBO participants were guided to employment. In an evaluation cited by the Flemish government, 90% of individuals in the IBO became employed. As such, the measure can be considered effective. In 2015, 15,379 individuals took part in the IBO. In 2013, more than 70% of the users of the IBO were satisfied, and about 80% of job seekers have gained employment as a result of the measure. Overall, the benefits have been as expected, namely that unemployed individuals move into work more quickly. There have been very few unexpected outcomes of the instrument. In terms of an unexpected benefit, the IBO has become increasingly popular since 2013. Another unexpected development was the popularity of measure amongst Francophone Belgians. To overcome the language barrier for French speaking Belgians to participate, the VDAB also made language training more accessible in combination with the IBO.

Engagement of stakeholders

The engagement of stakeholders happens at the initiative of enterprises; they approach the VDAB with job openings for which they would like to make use of the IBO. This is a starting criteria for enterprises to participate in the programme. Educational institutions are not so closely involved. Enterprises are generally quite aware of the IBO and employees of the VDAB know to advise enterprises or job seekers to look into the IBO if it seems relevant to their situation. In this way participants and beneficiaries are involved.

Transferability
Easily transferable

The measures appears quite transferable. It requires a public employment service (the VDAB in this case), to connect and facilitate a job seeker and an enterprise, and to collectively develop an education and training plan.
A more developed PES with a good database of interested enterprises appears to be an important contextual aspect. Another important aspect is the awareness of enterprises and job seekers that the measure exists; this would require a considered and focused campaign by the PES to convince beneficiaries of the advantages of the measure.
The personalized coaching by the PES in question, and involving the enterprises are components that would need to be set up in a new country. Similarly, the measure involves a job guarantee for the job seeker and this is established in the law establishing the IBO. Therefore, to transfer this measure to another county a similar job guarantee may need to be set up which, depending on the legal and institutional system in another country, require a legal or regulatory change.

Sustainability

The measure has been in place for some time. The system appears relatively sustainable given that there doesn't seem to be any large additional costs (besides paying job seekers their unemployment benefits, which they would receive with or without the use of the IBO). The VDAB does indeed expect the instrument to continue, as it has been quite effective so far. The main issues and challenges that arose upon implementing the measure have been resolved. As such there does not appear to be any reason why the measure should not continue for the next few years.

Description

Timespan

2010 - 2014

Stage
No longer operational

Decomposition under Marshall plan 4.0 into: "fonctions critiques et métiers en pénurie", "les métiers d'avenir", "découvertes métier", and generic trainings.

Foundations

Policy area

The instrument aims to provide unemployed people with up-to-date information and training on professions and skills in demand. It is therefore considered a labour market policy.

Policy goal

The instrument aims to analyse the supply and demand of skills in the labour market, to adapt training to the needs of the market and in doing so, to match the skills available in the labour market. It identifies and creates a list of jobs that are in high demand (around 40), analyses individually the skills of the job seeker, and offers him the possibility of being qualified and specialised in those jobs (among a wide variety of jobs). The job seeker passes through 3 different processes: information ("CEFo"), orientation ("Essais-metier") and specialisation ("formations qualifiantes"). The "Jobs in Demand" tackled are: those with quantitative shortages, those that require the acquisition of new skills, demanded jobs involving sustainable growth and jobs highly demanded during economic booms. The policy goal is to address the existing skill mismatches in the Wallonian labour market by upskilling job seekers. The aim of the instrument is to have a labour supply of skills more in balanced with respect to the needs of the employers, benefiting, in turn, the unemployed. The PES analyses which professions are in need of employees. In doing so, it identifies the skills needed to be able to work in those sectors or professions. This list is presented on the FOREM website and is regularly updated. Thus, the unemployed can identify what sort of jobs are available to them or what sort of skills they need to learn to find employment. FOREM also provides information on which sectors and businesses are expected to need skills and workers in the long term. This particular Skills Demand platform is aimed more at those who are currently unemployed. FOREM offers various instruments and mechanisms to gain training through one’s employer or as a job seeker (the individualized support initiative for instance). So once the unemployed know which skills they require, trainings is made more accessible as well.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

The instrument has been implemented as part of a broader programme, the Plan Marshall 2.0 Vert. This is an economic redeployment plan implemented by the Walloon Government in 2010. The plan focuses on economic development, and is a follow up to the previous Plan Marshall which ran until 2009. The Plan Marshall 2.0 Vert had a series of different priorities and axes to focus on compared to its predecessor to address the challenges facing the Walloon area in 2010 and beyond.

Administrative level
Regional
Main responsible body

This plan is initiated by the Walloon PES, FOREM.

Stakeholders

The Forem is in charge of the implementation of the policy. The Forem, through the device "Job Focus", produces a list with the most demanded jobs by the employers in the Wallonie.
The evaluation tasks are carried out by the IWEPS (Institut wallon de l'évaluation, de la prospective et de la statistique).
The "CEFo" (implemented by the Forem) and "Essais-Métiers" (implemented by the Forem, EFT/OISP and IFAPME) are funded by the Marshall Plan 2.0 Vert. "Formation qualifiante" is funded by classic credits from Forem and additional credits from MP2.V.

Funding

€86 million for the period 2010-2014 (Plan Marshall 2.vert): €6 million to "cefo", €20 million to "Essais-métier" and €60 milion to "formation qualifiante". The initial budget of the instrument was €52.6 million, transferred by the walloon government: €17.4 million to analyse the skills acquired and those required, €26.8 million for adapting the basic and vocational training offer, and €8.3 million for matching the skills on offer with those required.

Intended beneficiaries

The beneficiaries are the job seekers registered in the Forem who are informed, oriented and receive specialised employment services and training to enhance their adaptability in the labour market. Moreover, they are paid in the specialisation qualification training stage of the instrument. Employers benefit indirectly, as they experience less difficulties during the recruitment process, and ensure that job seekers are encouraged to train and apply for the offered jobs, including those which have a negative reputation.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The initiative Job Focus analyses and publishes an annual list with the most demanded jobs in the region by employers, which analyses the skills needed for the occupations and the causes of the shortage. Then new training courses are created and adapted to give job seekers the opportunity to specialise in those jobs. Job seekers are also evaluated during the process through diagnostics of their skills in order to personalize their courses and trainings (screening devices).

Financial schemes

The financial incentives available for the target group of the instrument, job seekers, are the "frais stagiaires" (costs for internships), which is the amount of money received when doing the "formation qualifiante" (the specialised qualification training). Moreover, transport costs and childcare services are also covered.

Frequency of updates

The list of "Jobs in Demand" was updated annually.

Development

There has been some adjustments during the process: administrative simplifications in regard to payment delays; more specific monitoring in order to improve the orientation of the job seeker; and more accurate reports of jobs in demand by the Job Focus, aiming to specify the causes of skill mismatch for every job included.

Barriers

Firstly, at the beginning there wasn't a clear identification of the link between the demand of skills in the labour market and the trainings for specialisation ("formations qualifiantes"). Later on this link was outlined. Secondly, some specialisation trainings were overbooked, while others had a low demand from the job seekers (notably the case for trainings in the industrial sector). Thirdly, not all the skills acquired by the job seekers were subsequently provided with a certification.

Success factors

Two factors are mentioned to be especially important for the success of the measure. First, the individualised treatment received by the job seeker all along the process. Second, the wide variety of specialised training available for dealing with the real needs of the labour market in terms of skills requirements. In addition, the existence of short modules allowed job seekers to be quickly hired to acquire certain skills. A good network amongst the training centres also allowed employers to easily pick the employees they were interested in. The effective recruitment process was one of the most important factor of success of the instrument, being specially effective for lower educated job seekers with little experience in the labour market.

Monitoring

The indicators commonly described are the number of beneficiaires and the number of hours of training supplied in each part of the process (CEFo,EM,FQ).

Innovativeness
Slightly innovative

The orientation activities carried out in the "Essais-Metiers" are innovative in the sense that there's no longer a gap between the information and specialisation process. The articulation between the beginning and the end of the process therefore improves the results. The individualised treatment of the job seekers also brings innovation by looking at the idiosyncratic qualities of the potential worker and build from there all the process of specialisation.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

18 months after the beginning of the training process unemployment among the "takers" is reduced by one third. There is also a reduction of the residual median of unemployment to less than 19 weeks. Beneficiaries were expected to be 52,500 for the period 2010-2014. In 2012, the number of beneficiaries was 55,772. The effects of training in older unemployed were unexpectedly very positive, especially for all men and low educated women.

Engagement of stakeholders

Employers and employer associations are engaged to help identify the skills needed for the jobs most in demand.

Transferability
Easily transferable

The instrument could be easily transferable, as it does not rely heavily on the specifics in Wallonia. However, the implementation would have to be according to the specifications of each country (labour market situation, relationship between administration institutes, enterprises, etc).

Sustainability

This measure has already come to an end.

Description

Timespan

This initiative was planned in 1999. The current form of the measure has been fully operational since 2007.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The instrument is centred on providing online courses to adults who wish to improve existing skills or learn new skills. In October 2017, there were around 635 online courses provided by the VDAB.

Policy goal

The instrument aims to help working adults to remain employable and active in the labour market by giving them easily accessible options to learn skills across a broad variety of subject areas. The main rationale for this instrument is to improve the competences and employability of workers and job seekers in Flanders. The instrument does so by offering (in October 2017) 635 online courses for free to both target groups.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

The instrument does not identify skills mismatches itself, but rather provides adults with the tools to improve their own skills and competences. The VDAB provides the courses easily and it is made accessible to working adults as well, as they are available online.

Aim of policy instrument
Administrative level
Regional
Main responsible body

The VDAB, the Flemish public employment service is responsible. It is an autonomous public institution that is not accountable to a specific minister. The organisation is run by a board of directors and it reports regularly to the Flemish Parliament on its activities.

Stakeholders

The VDAB is the initiating organisation and is responsible for the funding, design and delivery of the online courses. Some of the funding comes from European Social Fund (ESF). The VDAB collaborates with different organisations, partner schools and educational institutions in designing the courses and materials, but takes full responsibility for the courses and provides participants with recognized certificates of completion. The VDAB is run by a board of directors and it reports regularly to the Flemish Parliament on its activities.

Funding

The VDAB is funded by the Flemish government. For the online courses specifically, the VDAB has an online platform for the online courses and e-learning. This platform has a license which costs €25,000 per year. The platform supports some 50,000 participants in online courses a year. The VDAB stated that overall, in 2014, it spent €651 million of which €444 million was allocated to direct services. A further €107.7 million was allocated to external partners.

Intended beneficiaries

The intended beneficiaries are employed people and job seekers who want to improve their skills or learn new skills. Both groups can make use of the measure for free.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The VDAB offers online courses for free via its online platform. The courses have expanded and changed over the years in response to labour market needs. Specifically, the VDAB analyses which sectors and professions need which types of skills and competences, and then try to design and offer an online course for free. The courses are aimed at unemployed people, but also at workers and employees seeking to up skill themselves, as well as employers.

Financial schemes

The online courses are offered for free to both employed people and job seekers. The number and variety of free course offered represents an attractive incentive for people to participate.

Frequency of updates

Updates are carried out in an ad hoc manner depending on the supply and demand of skills for specific professions. The analysts within the VDAB track the evolution in this supply and demand and provide more or less courses according to the demand on the labour market.

Development

The courses have always been free and accessible for all employers and employees registered with the VDAB. There is now more emphasis on reactive coaching within the online courses, and more emphasis on activation related courses to help unemployed people get back to work, and to upskill employees. The approach that the VDAB takes to providing online courses has changed slightly in recent years. The courses offered used to be based on a coach and their initiative to provide it via the VDAB. Now however, there is a more careful examination of which skills and knowledge are needed in the labour market. The VDAB analyses what competences are needed and which professions are under supplied. The VDAB has a number of sectoral experts who, together with teams, track the main developments in sectors. These experts and their teams follow the evolution of supply and demand for different skills in the labour market and whether new courses or modules need to be added, or if a course is no longer necessary.

Barriers

One of the barriers is that online learning is a concept that evolves very rapidly. As such, it is difficult to keep track of the latest developments at times. In addition, the requirements of participants are also changing; the demand for easier access and better visualization for instance. Therefore, the VDAB is investigating what can be done in terms of offering some of the courses (where this is suitable to the course and its content) via mobile phones. Courses are also being examined to see how the visualization and interactivity can be improved.
During the last year the VDAB has also been experimenting with teams to design online courses. Furthermore, the VDAB is searching for a balance for lessons to provide on and offline.
Where courses already exist for certain subject areas, the VDAB buys licenses.

Success factors

The continuous improvement in the catalogue of courses available, their integration in employment services offered, and the fact that the courses are free are the key success factors. Additionally, for most courses no additional papers or downloadable items (e.g. software) are required so individuals can easily access them online and pick up the course at their own pace and at their own convenience. The VDAB and its sectoral experts and their teams are success factors as it is they who, sometimes in collaboration with sectoral organisations, track labour market evolutions and respond to skills needs by designing courses that they expect to be in demand. Furthermore, the VDAB has a good IT infrastructure and the funds to be able to provide these online courses for free.

Monitoring

The VDAB monitors on a continuous basis the number of people who take part in different online courses and checks the number of participants 4 times a year. For the 2011 to 2015 programming period, a target was also set for the number of participants, namely 15,000 people. The VDAB publishes its results annually in its annual report.

Innovativeness
Very innovative

The measure is quite innovative, because free online courses are set up, in collaboration with third parties, to help individuals upskill and upgrade their competences across a broad range of areas. This means the instrument is efficient and accessible, and directly and quickly targets those who want to improve their skill competences.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

In 2007, about 24,000 individuals signed up for over 100 online courses. The target for the previous policy period of 2011 to 2015 (for which the VDAB set a governance agreement with the Flemish government) was to achieve 15,000 participants in its online courses. In 2014, 31,746 people were following online courses, suggesting that this instrument was effective; in 2016 the number was around 13,000. The satisfaction levels are not measured for this instrument specifically, but for the VDAB as a whole. In 2016, 80.7% of people were satisfied with the VDAB’s services, surpassing the 75% target. It appears that the number of beneficiaries are higher than expected; in 2016 there were 31,000 participants in online courses, on average each individual followed 2 courses. The VDAB itself estimates that on average per year, it provides 50,000 courses to people. An unexpected benefit has been the amount of interest and use of the instrument which, in 2014 alone, was much higher than the target of 15,000 participants per year for the 2011 – 2015 period.

Engagement of stakeholders

The VDAB is an autonomous public institution that has good working relationships with sectoral organisations and enterprises and education institutions. The social partners are quite involved in various VDAB initiatives, including the online course development.

Transferability
Easily transferable

The measure seems relatively transferable. Two key criteria are required for the instrument to be transferred: 1) the collaboration with third parties to develop the various courses with an appropriately pragmatic and theoretical balance, and 2) being able to provide these courses for free online. Both elements require willing social partners, especially from educational and sectoral organisations.

Sustainability

This measure seems sustainable. Having reached the initial agreement with social partners to contribute and collaborate in developing online courses, which will be offered for free by the VDAB, the working system is already in place. The initial costs of setting up the platform have also been made. As such, the collaboration can, barring any major incidents, continue and the financial resources are directed towards maintaining the digital platform and the content of the online courses. Given the utility of the measure, there does not seem to be any reason to expect the instrument to stop in the near future.

Description

Timespan

1998 - present

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The instrument aims to help the job seeker develop the specific competences required by a given employer, in order for the employer to be able to hire the job seeker in question.

Policy goal

The instrument is set to address needs of the employer through an internship, where the job seeker gets the skills required by the employer. The internship duration is between 4 and 26 weeks for people under 25 (over 25s and lower educated adults can intern for up to 52 weeks). There is a trial period of 2 to 8 weeks. After the formation-insertion contract, the employer has to offer a working contract to the intern with a length equal to the previous one. The rationale is to give job seekers professional experience and the opportunity to get hired in a company, while the Walloon employers get the best matching intern in terms of competence required by the vacancy. The programme targets, although not exclusively, young job seekers and long term unemployed.

Mismatch
Explicitly designed to address skill mismatch

The instrument allows employers to adapt the interns' skills to the ones they need for the enterprises at which they work. It also provides working experience and skills for a given job area which make an individual more employable on the labour market.

Administrative level
Regional
Main responsible body

Le Forem (Service Public Wallon de l’Emploi et de la Formation)

Stakeholders

The Forem implements the programme, helps in the recruitment process (to match job seekers and employers), pays part of the travel expenses, creates an individual training plan and is in charge on monitoring. The evaluation of the instrument is carried out by a commission that annually offers a report to the ministers.

Funding

In 2002, the costs of the instrument were €8.86 million. 99% of the costs are covered by the Region of Wallonia.

Intended beneficiaries

Job seekers (interns) are offered the possibility to get trained according to a specific training in a real working environment. Employers receive and train interns according to their own needs.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The Forem receives the job vacancies through the employers of the region interested in participating in the programme. According to the description of the vacancy, the Forem then matches the competences required for the job with the unemployed and registered job seekers at the Forem.

Financial schemes

The employer receives economic incentives that allow him to train the intern at lower cost and prepare him to a future formal working contract in the company that will be mutually beneficial. During the training process, the employer pays a monetary incentive to the intern based on the reference wage of the job minus the social benefit received by the intern. Therefore, the intern receives his social benefit plus the monetary incentive. The intern gets a payment from the employer (exempt of social charges), receives a payment equivalent to the transport costs and keeps receiving social benefits.

Frequency of updates

There is a continuous analysis referring to the request of the employers in terms of competences in the pool of job seekers.

Development

In 2007, the accessibility of young and lower educated people to the programme was promoted. The adjustment was mainly due to high unemployment rate among the young people in the Wallonia.

Barriers

The main barriers are the competition among the different instruments offered by FOREM, and the digitalisation process. It is unclear at this stage whether and how these barriers have been overcome.

Success factors

Firstly, the formation is made by the employer, who also gives the agreement for hiring the employee. Secondly, there is great diffusion of the information between employers and job seekers.

Monitoring

The number of beneficiaries and insertion rate (employment rate among the participants) are monitored.

Innovativeness
Slightly innovative

It is innovative in the sense that employers are strongly incentivised to offer internships to job seekers and to give them on-the-job training from which they will also benefit later when they hire them.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

In 2010, 75% of participants followed the complete process. The insertion rate after 6 months was 94% (Forem report 2011). Even if the instrument a priori gives special attention to young job seekers and long-term unemployed, when the match between employers and interns is made, those conditions are not relevant for the decision. So, all job seekers benefit.

Engagement of stakeholders

Employers willing to participate in the programme send the job vacancies to the Forem which evaluates the requirements and offers the opportunity to the registered job seekers. Interns, employers and the Forem sign the contract together.

Transferability
Easily transferable

Since all the parts seem to benefit from the instrument, it seems quite adaptable to other countries. The incentives of the employer and job seeker are clear, but there has to also be political willingness and administrative capacity through the public employment office (i.e. the Forem for Wallonia). Funding is not high (mainly administrative costs and transport costs) so the instrument is achievable in this sense.

Sustainability

It seems an effective measure to match and develop skills in the labour market, which gives incentives to both employers and job seekers to participate, and it does not have a high cost from a financial point of view.