LAB Meeting Spain 2015

The second Spain Local Advisory Board (LAB) meeting took place at the Faculty of Education of the University of Oviedo on 18th December 2015. The meeting was organised as a seminar and involved key actors of the employers federation, one of the most representative trade unions, and of the Employment Service of Asturias; the representative of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs apologized for his absence.

The research team in Spain presented the lines of research in which it is working, the main results of the research so far, ongoing research and forthcoming steps. The finished reports were briefly introduced and the LAB had the opportunity of giving feedback, since they had received them in advance. LAB members reiterated the main findings of the reports, congratulated the team and highlighted the quality of the investigation and its results. The reports presented were: “Policy Performance and Evaluation: Spain”, “Barriers to and triggers for innovation and knowledge transfer in Spain”, and “Business Start-Ups & Youth Self-Employment in Spain: A Policy Literature Review”

Besides reporting to the LAB, another objective of the meeting was to collect LAB members’ perspectives on some key issues regarding youth self-employment, youth vulnerable groups and the employment policies targeted to improving their situation. The main aim was to reflect these perspectives in the “Short National Contribution on Gender and Vulnerable Workers – Spain” (working package 4) and in the working package 7 report about youth self-employment policies (“Qualitative Assessment of Young Self-employment policies by technicians and social actors in Spain”). The Spanish team also presented to LAB members the main results of interviews carried out with a sample of young self-employed.

Besides these, other specific topics discussed were: (i) the main barriers to and triggers of Youth Guarantee (YG) and Dual Vocational Education and Training (DVET) in their first year of implementation; (ii) the set of policies fostering youth self-employment in Spain, distinguishing those which worked better and worse for encouraging and helping young people into entrepreneurship; (iii) the main definitions and requirements for identifying vulnerable groups among the unemployed youth and the adoption of specific perspectives to improve their situation (especially regarding gender mainstreaming).

The main conclusions obtained were that, in Spain, both YG and DVET programmes have difficulties in their implementations already identified by the Spanish team (no specific innovation, the process of registering for the YG was problematic, difficulties regarding coordination between different departments). As to self-employment, the role of business incubators in promoting self-employment was particularly highlighted, along with a need for better design of policies to fit the circumstances of the self-employed (as to available funds’ payments structure, coordination between information points in the same territory, and social security contributions). Finally, the definitions of vulnerable groups in employment policies were identified, in particular as to groups with greater difficulty in the access to the YG programme, mainly immigrants and females victims of gender violence and reflected upon.

Main issues of debate

Youth Guarantee and Dual VET

In last 2014 Spain LAB meeting all the stakeholders reflected that the main changes in youth labour market policies were on two measures: the YG programme promoted by the EU and the DVET. In the 2015 LAB meeting, the members reviewed the main barriers and triggers they detected in the implementation of these programmes during 2015.

As regards to YG, LAB members reiterated some of the main findings of the reports presented and published on STYLE website: first, the web application put in place by the national government as the only means of registering for the YG has been problematic, mainly because of its technical difficulty for the user and because it implied not using already available sources of information. And, second, they highlighted again the low level of innovation of this programme.

The stakeholders of the Spain LAB also reviewed the implementation of DVET, focusing on the evaluation of the Asturias pilot programme. They highlighted the success of the pilot programme in the metal sector implemented by the Asturias Public Employment Services (PES), since both companies and young workers have a high level of satisfaction; they also indicated that the future success of DVET depends on the compromise of all stakeholders and, particularly, that of the firms. As an example, they mentioned that DVET in Asturias is performing well because non-participating companies have shown interest in implementing DVET programmes in the future. In fact, two business associations (from the automotive sector and the meat industry) have implemented their own DVET programmes following the pilot scheme carried out by the Asturias PES.

Youth Self-employment Policies

As to self-employment, the role of business incubators in promoting self-employment was particularly highlighted. They give good quality of information, a variety of personal and general services, and they play an important role: they give tailored counselling and focus in the adjustment of expectations to reality in order to face all the implications of running a business.

LAB members also reflected on the need for better design of policies to fit the circumstances of the self-employed: first, as to available funds’ payments structure they mentioned the importance of increasing flexibility both in the reception and payment of funds; second, the LAB members also indicated the need of greater coordination between information points in the same territory in order to not have competition among incubators and to not give different or, even, contradictory information; and, finally, as to social security contributions, they reflected that flexibility is also needed, although there is no clear consensus as to how they should be reformed.

Vulnerable groups

The Spain LAB confirmed there are traditional vulnerable groups regarding labour market policies, defined as people with difficulties to access the labour market. Normally, labour market policies try to increase the participation of these vulnerable groups (traditionally women and disabled) by easing standard requirements to some extent. As to the access to the YG programme, the Spain LAB remarked that young immigrants have serious difficulties. They need a specific work permit to register in the database and, normally, young immigrants do not have it.

Furthermore, LAB members highlighted the absence of gender mainstreaming in the design and implementation of YG (and also DVET). Women are a traditional vulnerable group in the labour market and gender mainstreaming was introduced during the 2000s with the objective of reducing gender gaps in the main social dimensions. However, these efforts were greater before the crisis and LAB members confirmed that gender mainstreaming is not systematically applied to youth labour market policies (and, specifically YG programme) currently.

Participants:

University of Oviedo

María C. González-Menéndez, Begoña Cueto, Rodolfo Gutiérrez, F. Javier Mato and Aroa Tejero

Asturias Public Employment Service (Servicio Público de Empleo del Principado de Asturias)

Lugones Employment Office Director

Celestino Gómez

Trade Union CCOO (Comisiones Obreras, Worker’s Commissions)

Youth Secretary

Adrián Redondo

Organisation FADE (Federación Asturiana de Empresarios, Employer’s Federation of Asturias)

Training Official

Guiomar Álvarez

The first Spanish LAB meeting was reported here https://www.style-research.eu/2015/02/lab-meeting-at-the-university-of-oviedo/