WP4: Policy Transfer

WP Leader DUTH Maria Petmesidou
WP Co-leader UNIOVI Maria Gonzalez
  1. To analyse and compare the interface between the education system, vocational training and the world of enterprise across different European welfare systems and transition regimes (e.g. the “apprenticeship” countries, the “general cognitive skills” countries and countries with a very weak VET system). This analysis will develop practice-oriented knowledge on “transfer”, “transferability” and innovation of policies affecting youth labour.
  2. To critically assess the possibilities of, and barriers to, policy learning and transfer within and between different regimes; to develop knowledge about different “models of transfer”, institutional contexts, informational processes and patterns of interaction among multiple stakeholders (at the national, sub-national and supra-national level). Examine inter-linkages and cross-fertilization of policy learning and innovation between national institutional contexts and international actors (EC, ILO, OECD).
  3. To develop an evidence-base on positive and negative learning and transfer practices with the aim to provide practical insights that facilitates innovative policies in the light of the new EU Strategy for Youth and the flagship initiative “Youth on the Move”.Two groups of countries are studied: (a) Member states that joined the union at different stages, exhibit different pacing and sequencing of reform and experience comparatively high youth unemployment – Belgium, Greece, Spain, and Slovakia from the most recent wave of enlargement; Turkey is also included as an accession country. (b) A group of older member states (Netherlands, Denmark and the UK) that are among the countries considered as “innovators” in the search for new systems of welfare delivery over the last two decades (with comparatively low youth unemployment).
  4. In addition this WP provides a cross-cutting integrative function of drawing on the pillar WPs and summates their findings in relation to the consequences for vulnerable youth in terms of gender mainstreaming, ethnicity and class effects on youth employment trajectories and their implications for policy transfer in different policy regimes. All consortium partners are members of at least one, if not both, of these two crosscutting integrative WPs.
D 4.1 Barriers and triggers of innovation
D 4.2 Policy learning and innovation processes
D 4.3 Gender Mainstreaming
D 4.4 Database on measures and policy synthesis

Work and Role of Partners

Task 4.1 – Policy Innovation: Barriers to and triggers of policy innovation and knowledge transfer

This WP examines institutional aspects and social learning processes influencing exposure to new information, knowledge management and policy change. The specific focus of this WP will be to:

  1. Comparatively map interactions, institutions and processes of information and evidence distribution (within and between countries) that contribute or constrain policy learning and innovation.
  2. Assess national/sub-national capacity building (and infrastructures) for innovation in youth employment and training policy learning and knowledge management by major stakeholders (employment agencies, trade unions, employers’ associations, local authorities, consultancies, social economy organisations, MNCs and SMEs networks).
  3. Examine how and to what extent supra-national (EU, ILO, OECD) initiatives, coordination practices and evidence from international knowledge banks (i.e. PISA, IEA etc.) provide innovation drivers in building effective and resilient bridges to the labour market, with particular emphasis on the NEET problem and gender issues.

Task 4.2 – Policy learning and innovation processes drawing on EU and national policy frameworks on youth (policy communities, policy transfer networks and other settings)

Over the last decade it focuses on three action lines:

  1. Enhancing the interface between education, vocational training and the world of work (the so-called “triple helix”).
  2. Promoting the openness and relevance of education and training by building flexible qualifications frameworks. And,
  3. Developing a holistic approach that combines education, training and employment with guidance, counselling and additional support to various categories of disadvantaged young job seekers (e.g. for accommodation, health, childcare, adapted workplaces, language competency etc.).

A sample of relevant policy innovations along these action lines, supported by cross-national comparable evidence, will be selected, and learning and transfer processes in the two groups of countries will be investigated. This requires examining: key successes and failures of (more or less) path dependent versus experimental policy learning, and models of transfer. Strategic actors facilitating transfer and/or acting in a brokerage role. Tensions and complementarities in respect to the production and exchange of practice-based and theoretical knowledge on vocational training, and the demand for skills. And, outreach strategies to the most disadvantaged groups, combining supportive learning environments with individually tailored help and guidance systems.

Task 4.3 – Vulnerability & Gender Mainstreaming

Dimensions of vulnerability: the consequences of ethnicity and class differences and gender mainstreaming

This task will focus on three specific elements:

  1. Mapping vulnerability across several dimensions in terms of gender, ethnic and class differences,
  2. Focusing on policies for gender mainstreaming and policy learning, and
  3. Integrating the findings across the project on how vulnerable groups are affected by skill and mobility mismatch, opportunities for self-employment, the effects of family drivers, their aspirations and the effects of flexicurity.

First, mapping the situation of youth unemployment for particularly vulnerable groups differentiating by gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status will involve:

  1. a quantitative comparison of how these different groups are affected in a selection of European countries, including Turkey. This will identify the type, size and structure of country specific vulnerable groups defined in terms of their lack of access to dominant STW pathways and the likelihood of school drop-out.
  2. An outline of the policies directed at specifically addressing the problems these groups face; a review of the evaluation evidence of policy effectiveness for these groups drawing on a selection of countries examined in WP4, Task 3.
  3. An integration of evidence collected from the qualitative case studies conducted in WP 4 Task 3 that particularly focus on issues of gender, ethnicity and class dimensions. The analysis will cover Turkey and four other selected countries to cover a range of STW transition regimes: Sweden (“universalistic”), Germany (“employment-centred”), Spain (“sub-protective”) and Poland (“post-socialist”) thereby addressing the issues of comparative frameworks and the potential for policy transfer.

Second, we will examine policy models and instruments for narrowing the gender gap in the school-to work transitions from a comparative perspective. To trace and assess the dynamics of cross-fertilisation of innovative practices on gender mainstreaming at various levels of governance (regional, national and supranational) with a main emphasis on the European dimension of policy learning. This analysis will also investigate the impact of the current economic crisis on policy change and innovation in respect to gender mainstreaming.

Third, a policy synthesis of the findings from each of the pillar WPs will be provided by all the WPL, co-leaders and other partners in the consortium that particular focuses on the issues of gender and vulnerable groups.

Task 4.4 – Database Inventory & Policy Recommendations with integrative report

We propose to compile an inventory/database of effective youth employment measures in selected MS, crucially including evaluation results. This database could be linked to available EU monitoring systems, eg LABREF, OECD statistics, as well as the “Searchable data base on innovations” by the INSPIRES project and potential collaborations with the INGRID project on ‘Integrating Expertise in Inclusive Growth’ to allow others to use the project findings for further research and to inform the work of the Commission. We would summarise indicators for young people’s ALMP participation based on the micro data for individual MS, in specific programmes; the education system/VET; specific employment measures like traineeships and apprenticeships, etc.; and present outcome measures (‘what works and for whom’ and what does not work and why). On the basis of this to make proposals for successful policy learning and innovation processes for the ESF’s effectiveness in respect to the EU 2020 flagship initiatives for building resilient bridges to the labour market for youth (promote apprenticeship type VET and high quality traineeship, target the “hard to reach groups” and young people with complex needs, tackle precariousness and in-work poverty, and maximise policy impact on gender mainstreaming).

Methodology: A critical review of available national and cross-national research on policy architecture and the dynamics of learning and transfer, as well as of policy documents by national, EU and international agencies will be complemented with primary data generated through semi-structured interviews and participatory workshops with policy experts and relevant stakeholders; social media platforms expressing the views of young vulnerable people will also be monitored. Common protocols for primary data collection will be developed to ensure cross-national comparability. Primary data will be collected through semi-structured in-depth (qualitative) interviews with stakeholders in youth provision (relevant authorities in training and youth labour market policy design and implementation, including young vulnerable people). Interviews will be carried out in the two groups of countries studies (Objective 3) (a) Member states that joined the union at different stages, exhibit different pacing and sequencing of reform and experience comparatively high youth unemployment – Belgium, Greece, Spain, and Slovakia from the most recent wave of enlargement; Turkey is also included as an accession country. (b) A group of older member states (Netherlands, Denmark and the UK) that are among the countries considered as “innovators” in the search for new systems of welfare delivery over the last two decades (with comparatively low youth unemployment). In addition, in each of the countries studied, LAB workshops will be organised with the participation of the stakeholders involved in the STYLE project as well as of invited representatives from other organisations for youth training, support and employment (public, semi-public, NGOs and others).