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The European Employment Forum

Date: 27 November 2012 - 28 November 2012
Location: Brussels, Belgium, 08:30 - 17:45
Website: Visit website

27-28 November - SQUARE Brussels

An annual conference and exhibition focusing on the major social and economic issues surrounding employment and creating an effective discussion and meeting forum. 

The two-day conference features a broad international panel of speakers presenting current thinking and policy, with the European Commission Directorate Generals well represented. In addition, the event attracts a wide range of individuals, businesses, social partners and government policy makers from across the EU and beyond. Speakers confirmed to date for 2012 from the Commission:

  • Pervenche Berès, MEP and Chair of the Employment & Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament
  • Daniel Calleja, Director General, DG Enterprise & Industry
  • Marko Curavic, Head of Unit, Entrepreneurship, DG Enterprise & Industry
  • Pascal Lejeune, Acting Head of Directorate for Youth & Sport, DG Education & Culture

And from other organisations:

  • Maxime Cerutti, Director Social Affairs, Business Europe 

  • Katy Chamberlain, CEO, Chwarae Teg 

  • David Fairhurst, Chief People Officer, McDonald’s Europe

  • Patrick Itschert, Deputy General Secretary, ETUC

  • Vibeke Jensen, Head of Employment Department, City of AARHUS, Denmark

  • Mark Keese, Head of Employment, Analysis & Policies Division, OECD

  • Valeria Ronzitti, General Secretary, CEEP

  • Raymond Torres, Director, International Labour Office 

  • Francesca Ungaro, Delegate of the UAEPME President for Young Entrepreneurs

Central Venue

The Forum now takes place in the newly-redesigned and refurbished SQUARE, in the centre of Brussels. This is the former Brussels Palais des Congrès, where the event started many years ago.

Focus Groups

The Focus Groups run in parallel to the main conference sessions and provide much smaller discussion forums, allowing more in-depth conversations to take place on the various topics. All groups are delivered in English.

Tuesday 22 November

The role and involvement of local authorities in the creation of employment

09:30 - 10:15

The SolidarCity project partnership has brought together local authorities, universities, municipalities and national town centre management associations from Romania, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece and Finland to investigate existing and innovative ways of creating employment across Europe. This involves traditional top-down training-based approaches as well as bottom-up entrepreneurship-based ways of making towns and locations more attractive to live, work and invest in by involving local authorities and key local stakeholders from civil society organisations across the community.

Rares Halbec-Cotoara-Zamfir, Senior Researcher, Politehnica University of Timisoara, Romania
Mary Krimnianoti, Co-ordinator of European Territorial Cooperation Projects, Efxini Poli, Greece


Exporting a sustainable, socially responsible employability model

11:00 - 11:45 

Leading employment and skills specialists Working Links has helped more than 200,000 people back to work in Britain – and is now using its knowledge and expertise to help other countries to deliver equally successful services. The organisation has worked in more than ten countries so has experience of different cultures and job markets, really getting to the heart of local communities. The knowledge Working Links will share is based on excellent service and innovative delivery models that have been proved to work in a number of markets. They are experts in getting people into the right place and ready for employment both mentally and physically.

The speaker will talk about how Working Links tailors its operations and techniques in order to benefit the people and surroundings, helping to change lives and create futures in your country.

Mike Lee, Director, Working Links

Marcella Maxwell, Director, Working Links


Outcome-based commissioning and the need to build partnerships

12:00 - 12:45 

The successful creation of practical social and labour market instruments is the cornerstone of increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty. This session will discuss how Payment by Results can lead to the creation, funding and delivery of innovative solutions, which will successfully drive the desired outcomes.

We look at some examples of good practice solutions, in particular how critical partnerships succeed when paid on the basis of outcomes.

Rob Murdoch, Former Chair ERSA, Strategic Sales Director Welfare, A4e

Jonty Olliff-Cooper, Director of Strategy & Policy, A4e


How to reform funds, especially ESF, to deliver greater results 2014- 2020

14:15 - 15:00 

The first draft of the legislation package for the cohesion policy after 2013 has now been published. Discussions have begun on the political implications regarding the contracting between the Commission and member states, including the programming and implementing procedures at national and regional level. With only two years until 2014 for full discussion, decision making and programming, this is going to be a challenging period. So, what are the key components and aspects requiring most attention?

Thematic concentration: fostering critical masses of sustainable output. But which level of thematic concentration supports target-oriented cohesion as well as providing the necessary flexibility for national and regional needs and requirements? 

Conditionalities:  Which conditionalities make sense and foster development as well as respect national and regional responsibilities and specifics? 

Moving from accountability to responsibility:  What does it mean for programme implementation organisation, indicators, evaluation and performance based-budgeting?

Benedict Wauters, Deputy Director, ESF Agentschap-Vlaanderen vzw, Belgium

Arnold Hemmann, Head of Unit and Labour Economist, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany


Tuesday 22 November

A social, space-oriented labour market study, in deprived areas in Germany

15:30 - 16:15

This a joint community-based approach to the use of ESF funds by Education, Economy, Employment in the local Neighbourhood (BIWAQ) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) of Germany.

BIWAQ is the first programme to interlock labour market measures and policies with urban development improvements to enhance the qualifications and job opportunities for individuals, especially migrants, in deprived areas.

For that purpose projects promoted by BIWAQ must improve methods for getting young and long-term unemployed people into training and back to work (including the transition from school to work).  In addition there must be a contextual awareness of the integrated development concept of the local municipalities and a close connection with the relevant local actors and local urban development investments. The presentation will give an overview and a first evaluation of this labour market and political programme.

Eva-Maria Wilke, Programme Officer, Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, Germany


Dissolving gender-based segregation for more flexible labour markets and a wider talent pool

16:30 - 17:15 

Western companies and economies thrive only if knowledge and innovation are tuned into their greatest asset. For this to happen, it is necessary to have available the widest pool of talents and variety of ideas.

Traditional career choices for men and women prevent the creation of a flexible labour market and do not encourage the development of a wider talent pool. For example, in Finland social services and health care are female dominated whilst technology, natural science and heavy industries are dominated by men. Does this support the creation of innovative new services and products?

As the career market changes we need to continuously adapt to fulfil the opportunities which arise. Men and women need to broaden their horizons and accept that some jobs, tasks, qualities and even abilities are not simply suitable and natural for the other sex. ESF-funded TASSU (Gender Equality and Equal Pay for Career Starters) and Entre Akatemia projects are promoting, making visible and emphasizing the possibilities that lie in non-traditional career and study choices and new kinds of business ventures.

Ari Hautaniemi, Project Manager, TASSU and Entre Akatemia projects, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Finland


Project 50+health

08:45 - 09:30           

This project aims to ensure that those unemployed over the age of 50, which is generally a period also related to insecurity about health, should actively take this as an opportunity to improve their own health management.

The benefits are two-fold. By improving their personal wellbeing and health, they are also increasing their chances of future employability. We will present and discuss the results and best practices of this interesting project and the improvements encountered across the different labour market measures.

Jean-Charles Rey, Socio-Economist, Professor and Researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland

Yves Ecoeur, National Secretary Swiss Labour Assistance SLA OSEO SAH and Vice-President SVOAM


How to get Europe’s young people into jobs

10:00 - 10:45 

In 2011, the youth unemployment rate in some countries of the European Union is as high as 20%.  In Spain, it is forecast to remain above 40% for 2011 at least, according to the OECD's recent projections. Some organisations have faced the challenge by providing specialised e-skills training for the IT sector, which struggles to find skilled resources, despite high unemployment. Our speakers from around Europe will share with you how young people are gaining skills and raising their employability in a difficult job market. They will reflect on the reasons for success and discuss if and how this type of approach can be used in other job sectors.

Mick Durham, Director, UKe Learning and Naomi Johns, B2B Support Technician (Trainee), Aztek Technologies

Pedro Lantero Carvera, Vice President, Fundacion Tomillo

Anna Wicha, Country Manager, Adecco Poland


Putting Stockholm to work – new methods with ESF funding

11:15 - 12:00  

We are currently half way through the current ESF period and, with €76 billion at its disposal, where has the money been spent so far? Who are the key beneficiaries and how is the money combating social exclusion? Stockholm will give concrete examples of projects and demonstrate how, working with new methods to help the inhabitants of Stockholm support themselves, they have been successful in improving the employability of its residents. We will present the results of several ESF-funded projects that offer intensified support to those who face the greatest challenges in introducing themselves to the labour market, and therefore could be at risk of permanent alienation.

Helene Bengtson, Head of Labour Market Dept, Labour Market Administration, City of Stockholm, Sweden

Karin Eriksson-Bech, Head of Research and Development Dept, Labour Market Administration, City of Stockholm, Sweden


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