Description

Timespan

2013-2016

Stage
No longer operational

The project ended in 2016, but all the main goals were reached with a high level of sustainability.

Foundations

Policy area

The action aims at creating preconditions for overcoming barriers and identifying skills gaps in various professions, in order to meet the 2020 targets in the building sector related to increased energy efficiency of buildings.

Policy goal

The long-term objective of the action is promoting the increase of the capacity of the building industry workforce for the delivery of high-energy efficiency renovations. In the short-term, the action will promote the increase of the number of qualified workers in the building industry in Latvia. Within the framework of the action, two continuing education programmes and training materials were elaborated for the building industry workforce: one for energy efficient engineering systems and one for energy efficient envelopes. The programmes were licenced in six training institutions. A training of trainers was carried out, thus creating preconditions for the availability of skilled building workers for building energy efficient buildings in Latvia. The project is a strategic initiative that is part of the European Union’s “Intelligent Energy - Europe” programme and is aimed at improving the knowledge and fill the skills gap of those who work in the construction industry. The goal was achieved by:
- preparing and licencing two professional improvement training programmes.
- preparing high-quality/modem training materials.
- training professional instructors in the area of professional training (train the trainers) and organising pilot training for on-site construction workers, as part of the new programme.
- using experience from the project to draft proposals on the sustainability of professional training programmes in Latvia.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

The project objective was not only to create preconditions for overcoming barriers and identifying skills gaps, but also helped to deal with elaboration of educational programmes and preparation of trainers (train the trainers).

Aim of policy instrument
Administrative level
National
Main responsible body

Riga Planning Region

Stakeholders

Main project partners are: Riga Planning Region, Kurzeme Planning Region, Vidzeme Planning Region, Zemgale Planning Region, Latvia Association of Civil Engineers, State Service of Education Quality and Latvia Environmental Investment Fund. Other stakeholders and involved organisations are the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the Ministry of Welfare, State Employment Agency, the Latvian Builders Association, Association of Building Materials Producers, Association of Heat, Gas and Water Technology Engineers of Latvia, the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, six vocational education competence centres representing all regions of Latvia, and others. Riga Planning Region is responsible for overall project implementation. Other stakeholders are acting as an observers, labour market information and prognosis providers (MofW, MofE, SEA).

Funding

Project was co-financed by EU Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (€480,000).

Intended beneficiaries

The Construction industry in a broader sense, as well as all the EU and state financed projects with energy efficiency initiatives. It can be expected that given the financing granted and the European Union and government demands levelled in relation to improving energy efficiency, the construction sector will have an increased demand for knowledgeable and qualified workers.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

There were signals from the building sector about the lack of qualified construction workforce in the field of energy efficient building. Also the prognosis of the labour market (MofE, MofW, SEA) indicated that the building/construction sector will be on the rise during next periods.

Financial schemes

The project was co-financed by EU Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (€480,000). There were no additional financial schemes involved.

Frequency of updates

The sectoral players (state and private partners) are constantly keeping an eye on the development in the building industry and can react accordingly if necessity arises.

Development

No, the project did not encounter any problems.

Barriers

No.

Success factors

The thorough cooperation of all involved parties played a crucial role in success of this project - NGO, building sector, governmental organisations (ministries, VET certification bodies etc).

Monitoring

Enrolment in the educational courses are observed on a regular basis. Possible employment level declines and problems are monitored by State Employment Agency.

Innovativeness
Slightly innovative

Even if the project was not absolutely innovative (many EU countries are participating in Build Up SKILLS initiative), the innovative moment was the involvement of so many sectoral professionals, social and commercial partners, governmental institutions. This involvement allowed to rapidly implement necessary changes in building sector.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

Delivered results are:
- The establishment of 15 expert groups for elaboration of the training programmes.
- 2 continuing education programmes and training materials elaborated for provision of training for building industry workforce: 1 for energy efficient engineering systems (2 modules; 160 hours total) and 1 for energy efficient building envelope (3 modules; 240 hours total).
- Licences issued for two continuing education programmes to at least 6 training institutions.
- 35 trainers selected and trained to become providers of elaborated training programmes.
- The continuing education programmes tested and 50 workers trained.

Engagement of stakeholders

The Ministries of Economy and Welfare (via State Employment Agency) carry out the assessment of high growth sectors, and the other involved parties (sectoral) are consulted as part of the process. Employers are engaged in an ongoing process. They report to their respective professional associations about skills mismatch or employment levels disbalance. Associations then put the problem into the agenda of meeting with governmental institutions.

Transferability
Not easily transferable

The success of the project was nationwide sectoral elaboration of professional development educational programmes to enhance energy-effective building skills. In order to implement such programmes and introduce them into educational system, it should be ensured that necessary regulatory basis and financing measures are in place. There also has to be profound involvement of VET certification institutions and partners from industry.

Sustainability

As the project was funded by EU project, it ended in 2016, but the system still works fine. All the implementation infrastructure is in place and VET can be easily adjusted to labour market demands.

Description

Timespan

Since 2013.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

The amendments for Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 75 of 25 January 2011, “Regulations Regarding the Procedures for Organising and Financing of Active Employment Measures and Preventative Measures for Unemployment Reduction and Principles for Selection of Implementing Bodies of Measures” came into effect on March 8, 2013, determining the procedure of implementation of the preventive unemployment reduction measure “Promotion of regional mobility of persons employed by merchants”.

Policy goal

Participation in the measure allows the employer/entrepreneurs to fill the vacancies by hiring the necessary specialists from other administrative territories, thus reducing the regional skills mis-match. The goal of the measure is to facilitate regional mobility of people employed by entrepreneurs by providing financial support for covering the cost of transport and rent of living space in the first four months after commencing the employment legal relationships. The instrument tackles the problem of regional skills mismatch, by allowing the employer to hire an employee from other regions, thus also levelling out the demand/supply problem in labour market.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

The employed person's regional mobility measure is a cross-programme assistance instrument, which helps to reduce geographical skills mis-match in a variety of target groups@ people with disabilities, young people, long term unemployed etc.

Aim of policy instrument
Administrative level
National
Main responsible body

State Employment Agency (SEA)

Stakeholders

State Employment Agency manages the application of the instrument through the network of its territorial offices.
Ministry of Welfare is responsible for the supervision and evaluation of the implementation of the instrument.
Enterprises are involved as stakeholders responsible for the provision of workplaces.

Funding

The measure is financed by three ESF projects and the special budget for employment (part of public budget). The total combined 2017 budget for the mobility tool (funded by two ESF projects: Active employment measures and Mobility for employed persons) was €563,000. The planned budget for 2018 is €568,000.

Intended beneficiaries

Employed person: The State Employment agency provides financial compensation not exceeding €400:
- transport costs for regular travels from the declared residence to workplace and back;
- compensation of living space rent and one travel per month from the declared residence to work place and back.
Employer participation in the measure allows them to fill the vacancies by hiring the necessary specialists from other administrative territories.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The employment surveys showed that there were strong differences in the level of unemployment in the regions of Latvia (capital city Riga region 6.2%, Latgale region - 19.8%, other regions 10-11% (SEA, 2013)). So the mobility instrument was launched in 2013 as a pilot project in Latgale region and proved to be successful and was implemented nationwide. Besides unemployment surveys, other statistical data were not used. For the cross project/target group tool, it is hard to evaluate statistical progress indicators, so the mobility tool is evaluated based on the regular reports from SEC’s regional branch offices about overall demand of employment tolls that require mobility assistance.

Financial schemes

The employee receive the following financial compensation:
- Advance payment of €145 for the first month of the employment
- The monthly financial compensation for the next three months of employment cannot exceed €85 per month. The compensation is calculated on the basis of the actual costs of rent of living space and transport in the first month.
- If the costs of living space rent and transport in the first month of the employment are €145 or more, the monthly financial compensation during the next three months is €85.00.
- If in the first month of employment the costs of rent of living space and transport have been less than €145, the residue of the financial compensation received in the first month is deducted from each month in proportion to the actual costs of the first month.

Frequency of updates

The data from regional branches of SEA about requests for mobility assistance are collected on a regular basis and gives an overall view on demand and expenditures on an mobility instrument.

Development

No, the instrument works well.

Barriers

This is not a barrier per se, but there are some regulations the employed persons must comply with:
- must be registered as unemployed for at least two months before the day of establishing employment legal relationships with the particular employer;
- employment legal relationships have to be established with an employer who has registered a vacancy in a profession or occupation in which the employed person works, at least one week before establishing employment legal relationships with the employed person;
- the work place is located at least 20 km from the declared residence and the entrepreneur within the employment legal relationships does not compensate transport or living space rent costs to the employed person;
- has been declared in the indicated location for at least 6 months;
- there is no fixed term for the employment legal relationships, the employed person has the normal work hours and the wage is equal to the minimum wage established in Latvia or higher, but not exceeding two minimum wages established in Latvia;
- the employment legal relationships have not been established earlier than 10 days before the day when the financial compensation is requested.
The instrument does not apply to state capital Riga.

Success factors

The cross project and cross target-group aspect was crucial in the success of the mobility instrument. The mobility tool is a component part of many employment initiatives (e.g. on-spot education of unemployed people, different regional trainings etc), which requires frequent traveling of unemployed people across the country. The mobility tool can also be used for different target groups – young unemployed people, elderly or disabled.

Monitoring

The mobility programme is envisaged to be a support instrument for other employment and training programmes, thus giving them broader regional reach and solving geographical workforce demand mismatch. The success of the progress is evaluated on a regular basis, at least once a year, and the instrument is prolonged to the following year if necessary. The mobility tool is evaluated based on the regular reports from SEC’s regional branch offices about overall demand of employment tolls, which require mobility assistance.

Innovativeness
Not innovative

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

From one point, the success of mobility instrument is shown by the decreasing numbers of people, who request mobility assistance in SEA, but from the other, it should be kept in mind, that mobility instrument does not solve a geographical skills mismatch problem per se, and should be regarded as a complimentary assistance tool for other training, workplace learning etc programmes. By September 2017, 204 employees received regional mobility support from the SEA. Since the beginning of the implementation of the tool (2013), 915 employees have received support for regional labour mobility. Overall satisfaction is high.

Engagement of stakeholders

Regulation specifies the role of SEA and the budgetary allocations for mobility instrument also are from SEA budget. The budget of SEA is reviewed once a year, together with the Ministry of Welfare, and based on requests for an instrument during the previous period.

Transferability
Easily transferable

Mobility instrument as a cross-programme and cross-target group assistance tool is easily transferable. It is easily implemented and does not require special infrastructure or complex management solutions.

Sustainability

It is likely that the instrument will be discontinued during the next few years, because of continuously reducing numbers of employed people who are requesting mobility assistance. The problems which were urgent in 2013 (geographical skills mismatch and unemployed people's lack of mobility resources) seems to be disappearing.

Description

Timespan

The instrument is operational since 2008.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

It deals with integration of unemployed in the labour market by method of training.

Policy goal

The goal of the instrument is to increase the unemployed person’s competitiveness and integration into the labour market by adjusting their skills and competences to employer demand. This is done by practical training of the employee in areas needed by the employer by organising training in the employer’s facilities. By training the unemployed person in the premises of employer, the level of compliance between skills and requirements is the highest. The trainee can start his employment as soon as the training ends, and both parties can be sure about the result of the process.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

It is an instrument targeting unemployed people, whose skills and qualifications do not meet the demand of the labour market.

Administrative level
National
Main responsible body

State Employment Agency (SEA)

Stakeholders

The State Employment Agency (SEA) manages the application of the instrument through the network of its territorial offices. SEA also has the functions of coordination/lead; guidance services; linking jobs with job seekers; cooperation with employers in providing services for job-seekers; skills anticipation and active labour market policy measures.
Ministry of Welfare is responsible for the governance and supervision of the implementation of the instrument.
Enterprises are involved as stakeholders responsible for the provision of workplaces.

Funding

The instrument is funded by the European Social Fund and national budget. The major part is funded from the ESF. The ESF programme will end in 2021 and the continuation of instrument will depend on political will, resources available in the budget and EU programmes of the next planning period. Precise amount of ESF funding is not available, because within the framework of the ESF project "Support for the Education of the Unemployed", the SEA also implements other measures.

Intended beneficiaries

1. Unemployed people whose skills and qualifications do not meet demand of the employer. Unemployed people who have expressed a wish to participate in the Practical training must be registered in the State Employment Agency (SEA), and comply with the criteria for participation:
- are not involved in other measures organized by the Agency.
- have not been employed by the respective employer at least 12 months before engaging in the practical training.
- have completed the previous practical training (including Practical training in the priority sectors) at least two years ago. This restriction does not apply to cases when participation in the Practical training was interrupted due to reasons beyond the unemployed person’s control and was shorter that a half of the planned time of participation.
- have not learned the professional competencies to be taught in this Practical training during the previous Practical training (including practical training in priority sectors).
- comply with the qualification requirements set by the employer.
2. Employer will have an employee, whose skills and competences will match the demands of labour market.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The commission established by the Minister for Welfare evaluates the success of instrument at least once a year, and determines the fields in which appropriate action needs to be carried out, according to the demand of the labour market and development forecasts concerning the national economy sectors. The data on unemployment and its trends are provided by regional SEA branch offices.

Financial schemes

Making a decision on providing de minimis support, the SEA provides the following financial support to the employer for carrying out the practical training:
1. Subsidies of the monthly wages to the unemployed person for full work time in proportion to the days worked during the month: €160 during the first two months of the period; €120 during the second two months of the period; €90 during the final two months of the period.
2. Subsidies for compulsory state social insurance payments from the subsidised part of the wage if the employer, who has signed a contract on implementation of Practical training, is a society or a foundation with a purpose to provide support to people with disabilities and employs the unemployed people in the following professions – assistant or companion to people with disabilities, hearing impaired translator, Latvian sign language interpreter, teacher of an interest group or specialised teacher for persons with disabilities. The total number of the unemployed participating in the practical training must not exceed 50% of the total number of people employed by the society or foundation.
3. Subsidy of monthly wage (equal to 50% of the minimum monthly wage established in Latvia) for the work supervisor working with the unemployed people undergoing the Practical training. One work supervisor may supervise the work of a maximum of two unemployed people.
4. Expenses for health examinations in accordance with laws and regulations on compulsory health examinations, not more than €28.46.
5. One time subsidy for personal protective equipment in accordance with laws and regulations at the beginning of work, not more than €50.
6. One time subsidy for adjusting workplaces for unemployed people with disabilities, not more than €711 per workplace.

The unemployed people have a possibility to receive financial compensation of up to €100 per month for regional mobility support, for covering the transport expenses from the declared place of residence to the location of Practical training in the employer’s facilities and back, or compensation for rent of living space or residence halls expenses in the following cases:
- The place of Practical training in the employer’s facilities is located at least 20 km from the declared place of residence.
- The unemployed person has been declared in the indicated place of residence for at least six months.
- The unemployed person sends a submission to the local office of the Agency.

Employer provides the unemployed person participating in Practical training with:
- A monthly wage that, along with the subsidy, constitutes the wage specified in the application, but not less than the amount of national minimum monthly wage.
- Mandatory State social insurance contributions.
- Acquisition of professional competence by organising the required theoretical and practical training and basic knowledge on the professional duties.
- Qualified work manager that assists the unemployed person in acquiring the professional abilities, skills and knowledge. A person is considered a qualified work manager if they have an education or more than two years of experience in the respective profession for which the training is organised.
- The ability to individually perform the professional duties and tasks, and after the completion of Practical training issues a written certification with a descriptive evaluation of the acquired professional abilities, skills and knowledge.

Frequency of updates

Review of the instrument's effectiveness is performed annually, but the progress report and employment data input is done on a more regular basis.

Development

The main approach is constant, yet the sectors in which the training can take place is revised and approved at least once a year by a special commission of experts established by the Ministry of Welfare, which includes sectoral experts, representatives of responsible ministries and social partners. Two years ago the concept of training was shifted and the name of the instrument was changed from "Practical training" to "Practical training in the employer’s facilities" to represent the new approach. Previously there was also the list of sectors, where such training can be carried out, but now the approach has been changed and all sectors are open for necessary training. With the previous approach the unemployed people were trained either at SEA or its subcontractors (educational institutions), but new system (on the spot training) allows for a more practical approach.

Barriers

Currently there are no known barriers or complications with this instrument.

Success factors

The main success factor is the speed at which the person can be employed after the completion of training. On-site training allows the unemployed person to acquire the practical knowledge necessary for the particular position. The close collaboration between future employer and unemployed person during practical training also plays a major role for the success of the instrument. The shift of training focus from training providers (certificated and approved training centres) to real employers was the key success factor. This allowed the employee demand/supply chain to be shortened and gives the necessary practice for the trainee, and such a practice is often required by employer during search for workforce.

Monitoring

Evaluation is by the State Employment Agency and the Ministry of Welfare. The instrument is evaluated once a year by a commission. The indicator of success of this instrument is the percentage of employed people who continue to work after the completion of training. There are no other directly linked measurable indicators to this instrument.

Innovativeness
Slightly innovative

The core innovation was the shortening of employee demand/supply chain: on-spot training gives necessary practice for trainee, which is often required by employer during search for workforce.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

Reports indicate high effectiveness of the measures in increasing employment and filling the labour market gap. In 2016, 178 unemployed people were involved in practical training for a total of 100 employers. It was planned to train 274 unemployed people in 2017, but by August 218 people have already been employed.

Engagement of stakeholders

Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 75 (adopted 25 January 2011) sets out that:
The commission established by the Minister for Welfare shall, at least once a year, determine the fields of training, educational programmes, professions and social and professional basic skills, in which, according to the demand of the labour market and development forecasts concerning the national economy sectors, training of unemployed persons, persons seeking employment and persons subject to the risk of unemployment needs to be carried out, as well as the thematic fields of the measures for raising the competitiveness. The representatives and experts of the Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Agency, the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia, the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia, as well as, if necessary, other competent State, local government, higher education and science institutions or associations and foundations) shall be included in the composition of the commission.

Transferability
Easily transferable

The instrument is easily fully transferable, because it does not require special preparation, infrastructure, complicated legal framework or additional staff training.

Sustainability

The instrument works well and all the necessary governmental infrastructure is in place. Instrument can be easily adjusted to labour market demands and changes in political documents. As the instrument currently is funded by ESF projects, it will run until 2021. After that it will depend on projects within the next planning period or on budgetary constraints.

Description

Timespan

First phase (studies and creation of expert councils): December 2010 - November 2015. The work of SECs is continuously ongoing.

Stage
Other

The first phase of instrument (the study of the sectors) has been completed, and as a result 12 Sectoral Expert Councils (SECs) were created. SECs are fully operational and are functioning according to Vocational Education Law.

Foundations

Policy area

An instrument for designing occupational standards and other policy instruments in the fields of initial VET, higher education and lifelong learning (for example in the design of training curricula and training plans). Two of the SECs' functions are development of sectoral qualifications frameworks, and development of occupational standards and qualification requirements.

Policy goal

To ensure relevant and comprehensive information about skills demand and supply in the sectors of the economy. The goal of SECs is to promote VET effectiveness and quality of VET by promoting cooperation between state institutions, municipalities, employers and their organisations, trade unions and professionals to deal with human resource development issues. It aims to also improve the quality and efficiency of vocational education according to the needs of national economy sectors, as well as addresses vocational training directly in the fields where there is the largest number of labour force and the skills that will have to be upgraded most of all. The descriptions of sectors provide structured and detailed information, which can be used for the design and implementation of different skill mismatch policy measures. This information includes: data and forecasts on the macro-economic development of sectors of the economy, including the demand for workforce; data and forecasts on the development of the workforce in the sectors; and data on the structure of occupations and qualifications in the sectors. This instrument provides necessary information for the work of SECs and the development of occupational standards and other measures dealing with the matching of supply of skills in the education system and demand for skills in the sectors of economy.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

It is explicitly designed to address skill mismatch through providing information about the current and future demand and supply of qualifications and skills in sectors of the national economy. At the same time, this instrument is part of the national project funded by the ESF "Nozaru kvalifikācijas sistēmas izveide un profesionālās izglītības efektivitātes un kvalitātes paaugstināšana" (Development of a sectoral qualifications system and increasing the efficiency and quality of vocational education). It targets skill mismatch through the definition and forecast of the supply and demand of qualifications and skills in sectors of the national economy.

Administrative level
National
Main responsible body

The Ministry of Education and Science

Stakeholders

The Ministry of Education and Science was supervisor of the project. State Education Development Agency coordinated the implementation of the project. Social partners, who were responsible for the provision of expertise and information in the design and development of the sectoral descriptors and occupational standards were:
- Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Darba devēju konfederācija),
- Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Brīvo arodbiedrību savienība),
- National Centre for Education (Valsts izglītības satura centrs)
- State Agency of quality in Education (Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests).
The Council consists of the representatives delegated by sectoral employers’ organisations, trade unions and their associations, sectoral professional organisations, as well as the relevant ministries. In conformity with the specificity of the matters within the competence of the relevant Council, also representatives of public persons (including State institutions, local governments, planning regions, and educational institutions or founders thereof) and other sectoral experts were involved in the composition of the Council. A decision on establishment of the Council shall be taken by the Vocational Education and Employment Tripartite Cooperation Subcouncil of the National Tripartite Cooperation Council.

Funding

It was mainly funded by the European Social Foundation (years active 2010-2015; ESF €3,405,530; total €3,628,322). The work of SECs now is financed by involved social partners.

Intended beneficiaries

The main users are education and training institutions, employers organisations, professional organisations, qualification awarding bodies and institutions, state institutions and agencies responsible for the skill mismatch policies. The sectors of SECs are:
1) Tourism and beauty industry
2) Chemical industry and related branches (pharmaceutics, biotechnology, environment)
3) Metalworking, machine building, mechanical engineering
4) Textile industry, leather and leather products producing
5) Timber industry (forestry, wood processing)
6) Building and construction industry
7) Power industry
8) Food processing and agriculture
9) Entrepreneurship, finances, accountancy, administration (wholesale & retail trade, commerce)
10) Printing and publishing industry, paper and products production, computer design
11) Manufacturing of electronic and optical equipment, ICT
12) Transport and logistics

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

By promoting the quality of the VET and via SECs improving content according to industry needs, can ensure that VET graduates acquire to work necessary knowledge, competencies and skills, and are competitive in the labour market. The data used for analysis of skills and competencies in sectors are obtained from State Employment Agency (Ministry of Welfare) - short term labour market prognosis; and Ministry of Economy - mid and long term labour market prognosis.

Financial schemes

There are no special financial schemes involved. Sectoral studies were financed by European Social Fund and state (ESF €3,405,530; total €3,628,322). All structures (SECs) are now public/NGO funded.

Frequency of updates

SECs meetings are taking place once every three months and the agenda can contain revision of policies according to the latest prognosis on labour market demand (from Ministries of Welfare and Economy).

Development

No, the instrument works as envisaged.

Barriers

No.

Success factors

The profound involvement of sectoral and cross-sectoral social partners.

Monitoring

Indicators measured were the numbers of standards, requirements and programmes produced. The SECs' work (as a framework) is ongoing and self-monitored, so it can detect and, if necessary, react to any problems/demands.

Innovativeness
Slightly innovative

The sectoral council approach was innovative for Latvia, but same concepts can be seen in other EU countries.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

This instrument is open to a very wide range of users. Therefore, it is difficult to indicate the specific number of beneficiaries.
It is rather difficult to estimate the impact of the sectoral studies, but considering the strategic role that these instruments play in the design of occupational standards, it can be estimated that the overall impact on the development of the national system of qualifications and coping with skill mismatch will be high.
So far SECs have completed (2016): 14 research reports on sectors, 14 sectoral qualification frameworks, 61 Occupational Standards, 19 Qualification Requirements and 56 VET modules-based programmes. SECs are also working on approbation of recognition of prior learning system. The sectoral qualification system enables to ensure the transparency, comparability and portability of the national economy sectoral qualifications in the internationally recognised qualification levels in other European countries' qualification systems.

Engagement of stakeholders

Vocational Education Law and Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 485 (adopted 15 July 2016) on Procedures for Establishment, Operation, and Coordination of Activities of Sectoral Expert Councils sets out the frequency of SECs meetings (minimum once every 3 months) as well as structure/membership of SECs.

Transferability
Easily transferable

Similar instruments are implemented in many countries (France, UK, Czech Republic etc). The transfer of SECs (idea of involvement of social partners in development of VET standards) is highly recommended.

Sustainability

The work of SECs depends on political will and available future financing from EU funds and public budget. But the growing popularity of SECs shows that they are an integral part of VET. SECs will continue work on creating a clear and transparent system of Occupational Standards, being the leading partner in promoting cooperation between employers, employees, education institutions and public institutions, as well as serving as a regulator between labour market needs and possibilities of schools.

Description

Timespan

Since 2008.

Stage
Fully operational

Foundations

Policy area

It is an integral part of the national labour market policy, which is set out by Law of the Support to the Unemployed and Job Seekers.

Policy goal

Policies goals include:
- Provide an opportunity for unemployed persons and job seekers to increase competitiveness.
- Provide an ability to adjust to the changing labour market demand.
- Increase the opportunities for unemployed people and job seekers to integrate into the labour market. Participation in voucher education programmes gives unemployed people and job seeker, who cannot find employment due to not having suitable abilities for changing labour market demand or having insufficient abilities, the possibility to obtain necessary skills and competences, thus tackling the problem of skills mismatch.
To apply to professional further education and professional vocational development programmes, the unemployed person should comply with the following:
- has not previously acquired a professional qualification
- the previously acquired professional qualification or experience is not demanded in labour market
- the previously acquired professional qualification does not comply with the requirements of the particular profession, e.g. the person has not received a certificate that authorises the person to continue employment in the acquired profession in accordance with the normative acts
- the professional abilities have been lost due to not working in the acquired profession for at least three years, or cannot continue employment in the acquired profession, due to medical conditions.

Mismatch
Part of broader programme, yet with explicit focus

While being part of a broader programme, the instrument is focused on tackling the skills mismatch, because the application process and funding scheme are based on the identification of the skills currently needed in the labour market.

Administrative level
National
Main responsible body

State Employment Agency (SEA)

Stakeholders

State Employment Agency (coordination/lead; guidance services; linking jobs with job seekers; cooperation with employers in providing services for job-seekers; skills anticipation and active labour market policy measures). Both private and public training institutions can and do participate and offer training if they meet the set criteria (licenced and accredited institutions/programmes), as there are no public procurement procedures involved. The Ministry of Welfare and SEA are responsible bodies for monitoring and evaluation of programme.

Funding

The development of corresponding IT and LMSI systems was partly financed by the Latvian state and ESF, but the financial burden of voucher system lies on the shoulders of two ESF financed projects: 'Youth Guarantee' and 'Support to the education of unemployed people'.

Intended beneficiaries

The target group is the registered unemployed and job seekers (including disadvantaged unemployed with disabilities, long term unemployed, unemployed aged 50 years and over, unemployed youth). After the completion of the training, the unemployed person receives a professional qualification or professional development certificate.

Processes

Use of labour market intelligence

The fields of training and curricula, social and professional basic skills, as well as measures for increasing competitiveness are established by a commission led by the Ministry of Welfare at least once a year, taking into account the current situation and prognosis of demand in the labour market. The prognosis are assisted by the LMSI platform "Short term labour market forecasting system" developed by Ministry of Welfare, SEA and funded by ESF and Latvian government.

Financial schemes

Upon receiving the coupon, the unemployed person chooses an education programme and an educational service provider from the SEA website offer. Training voucher – the money is transferred directly to the training provider: 50% of the training voucher sum before client’s participation in training and 50% of the training voucher sum when training has been successfully completed. During the training, unemployed people are provided with a monthly grant of €99.60, and they can also qualify for regional mobility compensations.

Frequency of updates

Reviews of systems' effectiveness are performed quarterly, but the data input in system is constant and done on a more regular basis.

Development

The main approach has not changed, yet the list of training programs for the unemployed and job seekers is revised and approved at least once a year by a special commission of experts established by the Ministry of Welfare, which includes sectoral experts, representatives of responsible ministries and social partners. The interactive IT system was set up in order to facilitate the search for training and educational services providers, and an automatic reservation system was developed to facilitate assembling of groups, so the client can find information about the course start dates, number of free places in a group, etc.

Barriers

Initially there were problems with the quality of training and education providers, who failed to meet all criteria in terms of training equipment, premises and qualified personnel. The problem was solved by stricter qualification criteria and quality checks by responsible organisation (State Education Quality Service). There remain problems with educational services in distant regions, because there are lack of training service providers and sometimes it is difficult to assemble enough unemployed people to fill a class.

Success factors

The demand for quality educational services greatly contributed to the success of implementation of the voucher system. The coupon system also encourages mutual competition between educational institutions for better service, because the client (unemployed person) is the one who makes his choice of educational service provider.

Monitoring

The progress indicators are the percentage of course/training attendees, who after the successful completion of course has received appropriate certificate, and the percentage of clients who have been employed after such training. All the data is available online via Educational institutions search engine on SEA web page. Progress is measured regularly (quarterly).

Innovativeness
Not innovative

The voucher system is not innovative, but what has been done is the implementation of different IT solutions and tools, which to a great extent makes the use of the system more easy and understandable for customers. The monitoring tools also allows for regulatory bodies to make necessary steps in quality control and fluent management of process.

Sustainability

Evidence of effectiveness

The unemployed positively assess the coupon method as key, giving the opportunity to choose an educational institution. Participation in appropriate training extends the duration of the person participation in the labour market. The employment rate for people who have undergone training activities is consistently higher compared with people who haven't. Employers are generally satisfied with the SEA service (provision of information and the organization of training).

Engagement of stakeholders

The roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders are set by governmental regulation and it is not likely that there will be any substantial changes until the end of ESF projects and/or planning period. Ministry of Welfare and SEA, together with other involved stakeholders, carry out annual assessment of the labour market and training needs.

Transferability
Easily transferable

The system is easily transferable to another country, because all the main components are made in compliance with IT, labour market and legal standards of EU.

Sustainability

The system works fine and all the necessary IT infrastructure is in place. The voucher system can easily be adjusted to labour market demands and changes in backbone documents. As the instrument currently is funded by ESF projects, it will run until 2021. After that it will depend on projects within the next planning period or on budgetary constraints.