New active policies in GOL, Italy’s Employability Guarantee for Workers Programme


Networking against unemployment. That is the aim of GOL, Italy’s Employability Guarantee for Workers, an instrument underpinning the Draghi government’s new active labour policies, which has already distributed the first €800 million tranche of funding across the regions.

The measure will receive 4.4 billion from Next Generation EU, the European post-pandemic recovery programme, plus another 500 million from React EU. After the decree enters into force, the Regions will have 60 days to assert their jurisdiction over active policies and implement their local GOL programmes, followed by the assessment of Anpal (National Agency for Active Policies) within another 30 days. This means that the regions will be able to launch the new programme and receive initial funding as early as January.

The five paths of the programme

The GOL serves an ambitious purpose: striking a more satisfactory balance between labour supply and demand, encouraging the placement and re-placement of workers, and providing training tailored to market demands.

The objectives match the agreed European goals: at least three million ‘beneficiaries’ by 2025. Of that number, at least 75% must be women, long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, young people under 30 and workers over 55. At least 800,000 will be expected to be involved in training activities, of which 300,000 will focus on strengthening e-skills.

The GOL programme will be available to workers on redundancy funds, beneficiaries of NASpI and  DIS-COLL benefits, citizenship income, fragile or vulnerable workers, NEET categories, unemployed without income support, and the working poor. Beneficiaries of income support benefits are expected to access the services of employment centres (provided in GOL) within four months of starting the benefit. The paths are designed to be as “personalised” as possible.

Four outplacement support paths are contemplated to suit employment status, plus a fifth in cases of company crisis.

Four outplacement support paths are contemplated to suit employment status, plus a fifth in cases of company crisis.

There is also a ‘re-employment’ pathway for more employable candidates: The purpose is to engage workers who are unlikely to find themselves unemployed for long periods of time and whose skills are marketable.

The second pathway is referred to as ‘upskilling‘, and involves short-term training with a professionalising content for the necessary adaptation of skills.

Workers who are more distant from the labour market will most likely enter a ‘reskilling’ pathway, the third one contemplated in GOL, where a more robust training activity is needed to bring the jobseeker closer to the profiles required by the market. For complex needs, the network of territorial services should be activated, as is already the case for citizenship income. This fourth group is then given a pathway to ‘work and inclusion’.

Last but not least is the ‘collective outplacement‘ pathway, which will cover situations where it seems appropriate to assess employability profiles not individually, but by groups of workers. This is the case of company crises involving workers still formally employed, but potentially in transition.

The challenge

“The challenge is certainly ambitious as it seeks to render value to active labour policies, something that has been debated in Italy since the Biagi reform, i.e. for about twenty years. The point, however, is that we must also analyse how the world of work has changed today”, explains Andrea Garnero, an OCSE economist currently on a research sabbatical.

And the context has indeed changed dramatically: “We’ve seen that some people are unemployed for personal reasons or because they are unmotivated, and there are companies that overlook the services of job centres and may even carry out personnel selection informally. One example of this would be help wanted signs hanging in shop windows”.

In this context, one can understand the government’s decision to bolster job centres, increasing headcounts from one for every 100,000 inhabitants to one for every 40,000, while at the same time recruiting new staff, given that there are currently only 8,000 employees, plus approximately 2,500 navigators. This number is extremely low compared to Germany, for instance, where job centres have nearly 110,000 employees.

Job centre operators “are evidently too few in number, considering that today many employees are engaged in paperwork and therefore do not directly attend jobseekers who are seeking help. They are often not even familiar with new technologies, which hampers the intermediation process”, Garnero points out.

Some updating is therefore warranted, given that the programme includes measures to strengthen digital services alongside a New Skills Programme, designed to define the essential levels of vocational training to be provided throughout the country. This is no small matter, especially in light of the strong regional imbalances in this area.

We’ve seen that some people are unemployed for personal reasons or because they are unmotivated, and there are companies that overlook the services of job centres

Andrea Garnero, economist

Critical points

Active policies and training are a matter of shared competence of the regions, where there are striking differences between territories. “I therefore believe that the State was right to set certain parameters for receiving the money, milestones and targets, so as to try to develop the Programme in a uniform manner throughout the country, without disregarding the specific characteristics of the territory obviously present in the regional programmes”, explains Garnero.

The twenty plans of the Regions represent one of the most important moments of the GOL programme, since their approval will enable the local authorities to receive 75% of the allocated resources, while the remaining 25% will be dispersed when reporting on the use of the money.

A question that certainly casts several doubts. “One could probably say that it is also too much money. In the past it was often said that certain manoeuvres cost too much, now the problem is no longer the cost, but the ideas. Having a project counts: many regional capitals today still do not know how to help the unemployed. That’s why we need to spend money to improve the system, but above all we need to do it well”, Garnero points out.

Having a project counts: many regional capitals today still do not know how to help the unemployed. That’s why we need to spend money to improve the system, but above all we need to do it well

What could be improved

Services today are extremely different from North to South, but also between different provinces in the same region. “We should standardise the system and bring job centres into line with banks or branches, providing the same services from Milan to Cosenza with just a few territorial differences”, Garnero stresses.

The current labour market needs are quite clear. “Networking between different actors is essential. First and foremost, we need to understand what the market is calling for: this means that the needs of businesses must be identified and perhaps even anticipated. If there is a need for seasonal workers in the summer, it does not help to start looking in June”, the economist points out. And “we should bear in mind that there are no longer only job centres: universities, interprofessional agencies and many private agencies also fulfil this work, with the same task of mediating between companies and workers”.

This makes the formula clear: “We need to create some sort of public-private partnership. However, it is also important to stimulate the use of intermediation. There must be a reason why companies do not use job centres today, which is why it must be rendered more convenient to use them, perhaps with some form of incentive”.

 

Di |2024-06-14T07:36:38+01:00Novembre 3rd, 2021|Education, Future of Work, MF|0 Commenti