European employability: meet the individuals who make a difference
As part of Employment Week, Microsoft acted as main sponsors providing leadership to a series of events and awards where one of the highlights was the Skills for Employability ceremony.
Organizations from all over Europe were awarded providing information, equipment and resources – both locally and on national levels – to those who wish to improve the current employment situation. These organizations are varied, but all united by one common goal – to make things better for Europeans who are out of work, be this through the provision of skills and training, working with employers to provide background, opportunities and advice, or developing knowledge-sharing networks and facilities. We were on hand to interview some of the winners.
Pedro Lantero Cervera, director of Work Insertion programmes at Spain's Fundación Tomillo, is trying to tackle unemployment in Spain, particularly among the young - isolating needs in the community, relating to education and social situations, and providing training to address the problem. While the focus of the work they do relates to training in useful ICT initiatives, Fundación Tomillo also provide training in social and business skills such as communication - as SMEs have an increasing amount of importance placed on them in the EAuropean agenda, and the methods become broader and more mainstream, this is an essential part of the process. With an employment rate of 84% following the courses, Fundación Tomillo has proven to be a real success.
Juliann Bergin of Enable Ireland sees low-cost, high-innovation ICT developments as crucial in helping disabled people get the most from work. With this in mind, Enable Ireland carries out a series of workplace assessments and training courses as well as providing IT equipment to employers. Information is also provided to employers to other aspects of providing jobs for disabled people - through this Enable Ireland aim to raise awareness of this situation, improve uptake of grants and funding where available, and address the high percentage of unemployment among disabled people in Ireland.
Gabriela Barna, co-chair of Telecentre Europe and Director at EOS, Romania recognises - thanks to a survey carried out by Microsoft - that IT skills are essential for many of the available jobs in the current market, and that these are necessary to be effective in the context of finding work. The goal of her work is to effect a coordinated effort to get these skills within reach of people - a Digital Alliance for each country, designed to make resources more impactful. But whose responsibility is this? Local governments, the advisory body of the EU - or a mixture of both?
Recognising these flagship employability initiatives on the EU landscape is critical to signpost the growth of similar employment solutions and prevent the exclusion of vulnerable groups from economic participation.