Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
- Consejería de Educación, Formación y Empleo (the Department of Education, Training and Employment)
- The unions (UGT, CCOO)
- The regional association of enterprises (FER)
- Other relevant social stakeholders in the region (Asociación Promotora de personas con Discapacidad intelectual Adultas, ASPRODEMA, Consejo Estatal de Representantes de Minusválidos, CERMI, and the political parties)
- The citizens of La Rioja
This was a project that aimed at providing citizens with services, co-designed and co-produced with them (through the unions and most representative companies’ association in the region). This is demonstrated in the 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (out of 6) objectives stated by the working group for this Plan: (2) To set specific priority objectives in terms of PE and employment to guide the development of skills through-out space and time along the current office term, and promote them among citizens. (3) To lead the strategic approach of all the actors involved in PE and active employment policy in La Rioja, seeking to link their actions to the proposed objectives. (4) To integrate and coordinate the available resources in terms of PE and employability, both in the educational and employment markets, so that they support the objectives more effectively and efficiently. (5) To improve the interrelation between the different PE-providing subsystems and modes and, essentially, between all of them and actual employment. A greater involvement of the regional production system is essential. (6) To reach the highest degree of consensus in the formulation of the Plan from the technical, social and political points of view, so that public and private actions are mainly oriented towards shared strategic objectives.
Digital Transformation Process
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The general guidelines that grouped the results of this project aimed at improving employment qualification of human resources were:
- To reduce structural unemployment and to promote employment of quality;
- To achieve a qualified active population through lifelong learning;
- To improve the quality and results of education and training systems at all levels;
- To promote social inclusion and to alleviate poverty reinforcing social protection systems, lifelong learning and active and comprehensive inclusion policies, with special attention to women.
- Smart growth, through the development of an economy based on knowledge and innovation;
- Sustainable growth, by promoting an economy that uses resources more efficiently, that is green and more competitive;
- Inclusive growth, through the promotion of an economy with a high level of employment that results in economic, social and territorial cohesion.
Challenges & Bottlenecks
Regarding R&D and innovation investment, La Rioja presented certain weaknesses. According to Eurostat data, it reaches 0.87% of regional GDP. This is lower than the national average (1.33%) or that of the European Union (2.02%) and far from the 3% target of the Europe 2020 Strategy. La Rioja had 23,083 companies in 2015. Out of the total, 99.92% were companies without employees, micro-enterprises and SMEs. More than 50% of business units do not have salaried workers (12,314, according to the latest published statistics). This atomization is also reflected in the fact that most of the companies in the region are legally formed as solo-corporations or freelances. Likely, this bears an individualization effort to promote and engage these individuals into employment and training policy.
Transferability & Replicability
The Plan FP+E is a complex strategical project. Our selection of this case is justified as an example of the tremendous impact that PSINSIs may have in all sorts of public sector initiatives. In this case, a strategic plan for a social issue of major relevance such as unemployment and your professional education was handled with such a type of network. What surprised us from this case, beyond the formation of the network itself, is the publicity and openness of the initiative. It is true that it was subject to criticism, but the Working Group developments and final version of the plan was publicly and easily available from the regional government website. Moreover, the sessions of the Working Group, being a heterogeneous group including less qualified organisations, or certainly, not used to develop strategic political and operational plans, must have been rather complex to coordinate. Still, using the European, Spanish and earlier regional mandates and frameworks, they put together a complex plan that includes not only young people entering the labour market, but also long-term unemployed, disabled people, and those willing to re-qualify to improve their employability.
One of the major drivers for this Plan FP+E is the willingness of all economic actors to regain the competitiveness of the economy of La Rioja. Even along the economic crisis of the 2008-2013, the greater weight of the secondary sector justified that the economy of La Rioja was more productive than the Spanish economy. Measured through the relationship between GDP and the number of hours worked, La Rioja’s productivity was 36.37 in 2012, compared to 34.75 in Spain as a whole (Regional Accounting, Base 2008, INE). Another decisive driver of this Plan was the (EU) 2015/1848 Decision of the Council (October 5, 2015) on the guidelines for the employment policies of the member states for 2015. It set the following guidelines in terms of employment within the EU:
Boost the demand for labour.
Improve the job offer, qualifications and skills.
Improve the functioning of labour markets.
Promote social integration, fight poverty and promote equal opportunities.
The 3rd Plan for Professional Education and Employment (Plan FP+E: Plan de Formación Profesional y Empleo of La Rioja) for the 2016-2019 office term represented an effort towards facilitating access to employment of the citizens of La Rioja, a region in the central northern Spain, World-famous for its wines, shoes and agriculture. The new federal government of La Rioja soon declared the care for its youth and unemployed a priority of its policies and public actions. And it embarked in a new plan towards improving professional education and employment in the region. This initiative was led by the Consejería de Educación, Formación y Empleo (the regional Department of Education, Training and Employment) and was the result of a very close temporal collaboration with the most representative unions (UGT, CCOO), enterprise association (FER) and other relevant social stakeholders in the region. Together, they built a Working Group to design and implement a new plan for professional education (PE) and employment for the 2016-2019 term. This has been a project then that can be associated with the new public governance paradigm (NPG) paradigm, and fits into the public sector innovation networks for social innovation. Besides the specific context described earlier, there have been several news concerning the implementation of the Plan FP+E since its inception. Maybe the most relevant is that the Spanish Court of Auditors, in its evaluation of the different instruments for employment policies in La Rioja, 2016 has observed a degree of implementation of the objectives of the Annual Employment Policy Plan higher than the average of the Autonomous Communities. In the case of Plan FP+E though, there is an absence of an evaluation. Also, some criticism from the political opposition publicised the plan was delayed in some of its proposals.