In relation to the above general and specific contexts the following four social experimentation actions have been identified:
Pilot social experimentation in Czech Republic
Older unemployed people in the Czech Republic are a specific group of unemployed because of prevalence of some specific characteristics. The problem is not their number but very limited routes back to the labour market. Most of released older workers choose total withdrawal from labour market to the economic inactivity if they are eligible for pension benefits (early retirement, old age pension after reaching statutory retirement age, disability pension). If older person becomes unemployed, it is usually for rather long time and it is extremely difficult to bring him/her back. Reasons for it are barriers on the employers´ side as well on the side of older workers.
According to experiences of labour market offices employees most of older unemployed people miss motivation to further education. Older people who lost their job often suffer from deteriorating psychological wellbeing in terms of decreasing self-confidence.
Active labour market programmes aimed at older unemployed people based on preferential treatment of this group of unemployed in different schemes is not effective enough. Reasons of their very low effectiveness are following:
- active labour market programmes in the Czech Republic are financially and personally poorly developed,
- these programmes are not targeted enough at unemployed older people,
- older people without paid employment are not interested in part-time employment. Working time or working organisation flexibility in the case of older people is not supported substantially.
Experiences of labour market offices confirm that providing support to self-employment of unemployed people is rather effective way how to employ them. This kind of programme is not usually aimed at older people. We think that support of self-employment for older people with adequate financial support, motivation, training and counselling could be very effective in solving their unemployment.
Pilot social experimentation in Slovenia
The demographic picture in Slovenia is similar to that of Europe – in the next 10 – 20 years we expect a great increase of the number of old people. Already today this percentage amounts to an average of 14 to 15 %. So we are facing the age of geronto-boom.
Raising the employment rate of older people in Slovenia is also one of the priorities of the labour market (by 2010 50% of the employment of older) and data on employment shows slow but steady increase of employment rates of older people. In the last two years, employment of this population increased by only 2.7%. Employment rate for older women increased very slowly, in 2007 it was 22.2% (2005 - 18.5%), while the employment of older men was 45.3 % (2005 - 43.1%).
A comparison of registered unemployed persons at the end of April 2009 with the previous year shows an increase in unemployment of 32.7 % in Slovenia, 27.4 % in the area of the Regional Office Maribor and a 21.3 % increase in the area of the Municipality of Maribor. The majority of unemployed in Slovenia and in the Municipality of Maribor are male (50.7 %; 50.6 %), while in the area of the Maribor Regional Office women are dominant with 50.5 %. In the age structure the highest share belongs to unemployed persons between 50 and 60 years (28.2 % in Slovenia and 26.5 % in the area of RO Maribor).
Measures included in the Slovenian Strategy for active ageing are still in the process of development. Nevertheless, in recent years we have a lot of financed active labour market programmes/measures for unemployed in the area of carrier planning and job searching, but none of them specialised for people over 50, although they have special needs in the tackled area.
The objective of our social experiment would be to test new approach (programme “Active after 50”) to activate group of unemployed people over 50 back into the labour market.
The program will be implemented as a pilot in Podravje region (Maribor) for a small group of elderly unemployed people. The results of a new program will be compared to results of measure for the unemployed, which is present running and financed under the Active labour market policy, but not exclusively intended only for elderly unemployed.
“Active after 50” programme will be “tailor made” according to the needs of elderly unemployed people. Based on many years of experience in working with elderly unemployed people, we have found out, that they have:
- very low self-esteem,
- negative self-image,
- fear of any kind of change,
- consider themselves inefficient, regardless their widespread working experience,
- belief that no work is available,
- illness or disability,
- weak social network,
- lack of information about possibilities of education / training and employment,
- no awareness of the importance of lifelong learning,
- low motivation for any activity (only waiting for retirement),
- family responsibilities,etc.
If we would like to activate unemployed over 50 and motivate them for active employment, LLL and active ageing we need to focus themes in the programme to their characteristics/needs and as well to the needs of Slovenian labour market and demographic situation.
The program will will consist of three parts: an orientation phase, individual treatement and group sessions.
The orientation phase. In this phase, which will be carried out in the form of workshops, elderly unemployed people will get to know the characteristics of the labour market, recognize their potentials, strengthen their self-esteem, learn about modern approaches to successful performance in the labour market, make their personal folder (portfolio), etc..
After completion of the orientation phase, individual treatment and group sessions will follow. Individual treatment will be carried out in accordance to the needs of individual, at least 10 hours per person. Within face to face individual sessions, mentor will support each individual to prepare action plan how to improve her/his situation in the labour market.
The group sessions will be carried out once a week in the form of discussions, presentation of role models/good practices, self-help groups, and will cover various themes, such as:
- health care,
- system of National Vocational Qualifications,
- flexible types of work,
- preparation for retirement, pension legislation, reforms,
- how employers respond to the challenge of an ageing labour force,
By joining into programme elderly unemployed people will:
- strengthen positive self image,
- gain additional knowledge and experience from the field of active carrier planning and job search,
- establish new social contacts and strenghten their social inclusion,
- improve their personal social capital,
- start to change the attitude to health, LLL, employment,
- be prepared for active old ageing,
Pilot social experimentation in Edinburgh
Increasingly it has become more important for organisations to understand the impact of demographic ageing on their workforce and customers/ clients so that solutions can be sought to address the issues arising.
The challenges may relate to:
- creating an organisational culture that values talent regardless of age
- workforce planning
- health and wellbeing of the workforce, or
- ergonomics and job design
Age management refers to managing an age diverse, though increasingly ageing workforce and requires a multi-disciplined approach, drawing from demographics, learning and development, occupational health, work design/ergonomics, career planning and a number of other disciplines. Identifying the key age risks in organisations is a first step towards understanding the business case for age management.
Examples of key age risks:
- Increasing mismatch between the competencies and characteristics of the available labour pool and those required
- Loss of operational knowledge caused by exits and retirements
- Impaired productivity
- Falling or stagnating growth
- Declining health and wellbeing of workers
- Limited capacity amongst the organisation’s managers and leaders to assess and respond to the changed environment
Understanding fully the age related risks to the organisation will enable a plan to be devised to mitigate, and so far as possible eliminate, the identified risks.
The widespread adoption of good practice in age management will help organisations to: adjust to the inevitable ageing of their work forces; enhance the competitiveness and productivity of their ageing work forces; improve the employability of ageing women and men; assist in prolonging working life; and ensure more equal opportunities between workers of different ages. There is, then, a powerful economic imperative for age management in employment. It will no longer be possible for employers to bank on a sufficient supply of young workers: increasingly, they will have to confront the ageing of their existing work forces.
The Edinburgh partnership – led by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and containing the City of Edinburgh Council, the Employment Research Institute within Napier University and also drawing on the shared working of the Edinburgh Joined up for Jobs strategic partnership which contains the main policy and delivery agencies locally – are looking to deliver a pilot that will help intensify mutual learning amongst the various actors and should facilitate the adaptation of public policies to evolving social needs.
The pilot project will be built upon:
- Researching the issues of age management from the angle of national governments, regional and local governments, social partners, employers, employees and those over 50 who are active, but unemployed;
- Definition of the baseline situation with regard to age management
- Research of appropriate methods to address the issues identified (which we believe will contribute to reinforcing EU social inclusion objectives)
- Development of an action plan to measure the intended impacts of the appropriate methods in terms of impacts, outputs and results
- Definition of a measurement system and monitoring and evaluation framework
Pilot Social experimentation Herefordshire
This action will seek to establish what methodologies and interventions are being made to provide either employment of opportunities for enterprise for people over 50 in one of England’s most remote and poorest rural counties.
Traditionally the County has relied on agriculture and much of its employment has been directed towards this industry through a number of small businesses. These, in turn, provided a great deal of the direct employment of local people, often on low wages and without skills and qualifications.
In recent years Herefordshire has seen an outward migration of its younger population to be replaced by older people enjoying early retirement or establishing their own home based businesses using new technologies.
The recession throughout Europe has not only affected incomes and investments but caused many of the small businesses in the rural areas to retract and also close down.
There may have been, however, a counter movement based on the fact that Tourism in England and particularly in counties like Herefordshire may have benefited by more and more people staying in this country.
The 5 Market Towns of Herefordshire, excluding the City of Hereford itself, appear to be attracting more leisure related businesses into their retail shops particularly cafes and gift shops. Is this a short term phenomena populated by people over 50 looking for alternative ways of generating income?
The delivery of any service to remoter areas of the County is extremely expensive and this particularly relates to Information, Advice and Guidance around employment and enterprise.
Through the Worklessness task Group of the County Council plus other vehicles, particularly the Federation of Small Businesses which is particularly strong within the County the action will seek to map out exactly what level of support and guidance, particularly outside the traditional parameters of Job centre Plus is being provided for people over 50 and what means of monitoring are being used to assess levels of redundancy or alternatively Job creation.Following the mapping a small scale social experimentation action will be targeted at a random sample of the target group in order to improve the impact of policy interventions in the rural areas.