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1 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF ACHIEVEMENTS PROJECT MANAGEMENT GENERAL PROGRESS IN THE PROJECT DETAILED OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRESS Progress on Component 1 - Identification of Counterparts and Information Gathering Progress on Component 2 - Strategy Design Progress on Component 3 - Design on Local Partnership Project Preliminary assessment of Component 4 - Implementation of Local Partnership Project Progress on Component 5 - Dissemination PLANNING FOR THE NEXT REPORTING PERIOD... 8 THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES ARE PLANNED TO BE IMPLEMENTED DURING THE NEXT REPORTING PERIOD:... 8 Start of the Component 4 implementation - Implementation of Local Partnership Project PROBLEMS AND RISKS IDENTIFIED RECOMMENDATIONS... 9 The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission! 1

2 1 Introduction and Summary of Achievements The present report is the first 6-month report and covers the period from January 14, 2005 to May 18, The first two months of the project implementation have been covered by the Inception report. The report describes the delivery of technical assistance within the contract no. EuropeAid/117375/d/SV/HR. The inception report was submitted to the EU Delegation on December 17, 2004 and a revised version was submitted on January 19 th The inception report was approved by the CFCU in the Ministry of Finance on January 20 th 2005 and by the Project Steering Committee at its first meeting on February 2, (Annex 1) The present report follows the structure of the inception report. It describes the project implementation and management, including the project commitment and disbursement. The logical framework matrix from the inception report is submitted unchanged in the present report (Annex 2). The following summary of achievements can be currently presented: Involvement of local partnerships for employment is in the process according to the plan in all four project regions. o Labour Market Survey (LMS) Task Group established, trained and in function in each region, o Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy Task Group under establishment in each region. Active project participation of regional Croatian Employment Service (CES) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) schools achieved. First Steering committee meeting held Cooperation between CES and VET institutions launched. LMS including labour market forecast and VET SWOT analysis for each project region elaborated. A manual for the elaboration of regional LMS in Croatia and further working material are available, including elaborated of the supporting electronic database Dissemination meeting for the LMS results prepared. Training and consultative support for the Strategy design prepared. Partnership project approach in three of the project target regions identified. Financial sources for the partnership projects identified in close cooperation with CES. 2

3 2 Project Management The Project is managed as set up in the Inception phase. The team leader, accommodated in Zagreb, got a supporting staff, local project assistant Mrs. Irena Petricevic. All the key experts successfully integrated with their local partners and an intensive cooperation at the national level was launched. Meanwhile the CFCU approved the requested replacement of Jerica Korosak, key expert in Zadar, as her family situation unexpectedly changed and did not allow her to work abroad any more. The proposed substitute Mrs. Agnes Wollschlaeger was confirmed by CFCU and she started her commitments in May The CES succeeded to create and enable a very supportive working environment. Project team meets regularly for the harmonised planning and during the implementation of project events. Minutes of the meetings are enclosed as Annexes 3a c. The project team has delivered the following amounts of mandays from the start of the project till April 30 th 2005: International expert Position Mandays available Mandays delivered Wulf Schmieder Team Leader Zvonimir Cordasic KE in Vukovar Jerica Korosak KE in Zadar Poul Skarby KE in Sibenik Ivan Takac KE in Sisak Poul Jeppesen Int. Short Term Expert Remaining mandays CFCU has already approved mission commitments of Mr. Michael Burisch as a next international short term expert, starting in May General Progress in the Project The project progress is in line with the ToR, the Project Proposal and according to the indicative work plan as presented in the Inception Report. The component 1 (Identification of Counterparts and Information Gathering) is almost completed. It is expected that the further project implementation will proceed as until now in accordance with the work plan. Besides the clear identification and the initiated active involvement of the counterparts, a Labour Market Survey (LMS) has been elaborated in each of the four project regions. The dissemination and the presentation of the surveys results for the local actors on the labour market is already organised and will be carried out in the four regions until June 10th With the LMSs is one basic element for the further project implementation and the labour market policy in the project regions created. The LMSs are a necessary precondition for the 3

4 regional Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategies, which are going to be developed within the Component 2. Materials that contribute to the fulfilment of the Component 5 (Dissemination) have been developed and distributed in the process of the preparation and elaboration of high quality LMSs. By the establishment of a HRD Strategy Task Groups in each of the project regions, the elaboration of a HRD Strategy is completed and the first joined training for the members of the Task Groups is planned and organised. As it was prepared also in the Component 1, an (already confirmed) International Short Term Expert will deliver the training, guidance and support for the design and the elaboration process. In three of the project regions (Sibenik, Sisak and Vukovar) the counterparts have decided to establish an Employment Association as a partnership project. Currently, the possibility for a necessary financing of the partnership projects implementation will be organised with the active support of the project team. An essential aspect of the project implementation process is the development of the project ownership perspective by the local partners and in particular by the CES. With constant joint activities, permanently focused influence of the project team and especially by raising importance of responsibilities for the use and results of some project activities, the CES management and other local partners have developed an increased level of the project ownership awareness. Since the first positive results of the work in the project became visible and the general usage of the project became more and more understandable to the partners, we can say that their personal interest and level of engagement is growing continuously. However, the project team will keep working on this aspect as it creates an important precondition to ensure the sustainability of project results and outcomes. 4 Detailed Overview of the Progress 4.1 Progress on Component 1 - Identification of Counterparts and Information Gathering The local partner s identification process started already during the Inception phase in all project locations in December The project team concentrated its efforts on the Component 1 with a particular focus on the establishment of a common active cooperation between the CES and the VET institutions in the project regions. With the support of the central Croatian Institute of Education, the local VET institutions provided a sufficient number of their staff to participate actively in the Component 1 activities (Training and elaboration of regional LMS). With the assistance of the project experts, the CES ensured to establish a permanent cooperation with the VET institutions within the next months. For this purpose a cooperation agreement between the CES and the newly established Croatian Agency for Education will be concluded. 4

5 The main output of the Component 1 is a high quality LMS which includes also a Labour Market Forecast and a SWOT analysis of the performance of the VET schools for each project region. A complex training was carried out to prepare these LMSs. In each project region, a LMS Task Group has been established and its members participated in the training. The members of the LMS Task Groups are employees of regional CES offices and VET schools and their task was to elaborate the LMSs. However, we merged the Groups into two, which are known as the Northern (Vukovar, Vinkovci and Sisak, Kutina) and the Southern Task Group (Zadar and Sibenik). Both have been working very well. We have in total trained 169 participants from regional CES and VET schools. Lists of participants are available at the LPE project office in CES Zagreb. The methodology and training materials were elaborated and provided by Mr. Poul Jeppesen, an international Short Term Expert from Aarhus Technical College, who also delivered the trainings. His mission report is attached as Annex 8. The training was organised and delivered as follows: o 1 day preparatory training in each of the regions carried out by the Key Experts; o 2 x 2 days training for the Southern Task Group; o 2 x 2 days training for the Northern Task Group. The 2 days trainings were carried out by Mr. Jeppesen and by the respective Key Experts. Overall, each participant received 5 full days of training. The training methodology required intensive and active involvement of participants with a purpose to secure that know how is transferred from the experts to the participants in such a way that the participants become familiar with the methodology and therefore being able to use it independently after the project completion. Additionally, one temporary and common LMS Redaction Group was established, consisting of members as one representative per region, representing regional CESs (in total 6) and the VET sector (in total 6). In total, the Redaction Group has 12 members as members from Vinkovci and Kutina were also nominated and included. We had two additional separate workshops with the Redaction Group in Zagreb. The aim of the first workshop was to elaborate common standards for the working material (questionnaires, data base etc.) and the aim of the second one was to elaborate and agree on the common standards for the final LMS reports. The first workshop has been implemented by the project Team Leader and the second by Mr. Jeppesen. The nominated Group members of the regional CES offices and VET schools participated and provided an active contribution during the elaboration process of LMS in each project region. Assisted by the Key Experts, the main coordination of the elaboration of the LMSs has been done by 4 Key Expert assistant persons from the regional CES offices in Vukovar, Sisak, Zadar and Sibenik. All members involved provided a very good and professional performance as well as a high level of personal engagement. 5

6 After a specific two-stage mailing action with particularly developed questionnaires in each project region, 72 interviews have been carried out by a joint team: CES, VET schools and a selected group of local employers representatives from the selected economic sectors. The filled questionnaires and in particular the information received during the interviews provided sufficient and reliable input for the LMSs. Data was electronically processed as a database has been developed particularly for this purpose by a local expert (Annex 5). The database is fully operational. It can be outlined that the joint work on the LMSs has been the first time that employees of regional CESs and VET schools have worked together for achieving a common result. They all appreciated the cooperation and evaluated it as one important and valuable outcome of the project and that cooperation should be continued also in the future. Since the LMS is one of the basic documents for the planned development of a focused regional labour market policy a mutual agreement with the CES to update the LMS twice per year in each region is needed. The updates should be performed similarly to the present project (i.e. close cooperation between CES and VET schools). A specific manual has been elaborated and distributed by the project team to support and guide such an elaboration and updating of the high quality LMSs in Croatia, (Annex 6). The LMS reports from the project regions are enclosed as Annexes 7a - d. 4.2 Progress on Component 2 - Strategy Design Practical preparations for the design of HRD Strategy in each project regions started in the beginning of April A Strategy Task Groups in all 4 project regions is under establishment and approximately 10 members will be nominated members, representing local actors and or local partners. The Strategy Task Groups have a broader composition of representatives than the LMS Task Groups, and shall become a base for the foreseen establishment of ESF/HRD Councils at the later stage (see also section 7 Recommendations). For the preparation and support of the design and elaboration of the regional HRD Strategies process, we organised a complex training and consultation programme. With the support of the engaged international short term expert Mr. Michael Burisch (the BBJ Consult Expert), the project team will transmit all the necessary know how and will provide support to the Strategy Task Groups members during the design and elaboration process. The training will be implemented in two stages. The first stage will be implemented with all Strategy Task Group members from all 4 project regions together (approx. 50 persons). Besides the joint lessons, the focus will be on group work. It will be organised and moderated by the project Key Experts with the support of Mr. Burisch. The Strategy design process will already start during the first training. After the production period of approximately two weeks, the second assignment of Mr. Burisch is planned with the aim to review the results and to provide further support according to the needs. The second assignment of Mr. Burisch is planned to be implemented two days in the North (for the Strategy Task Groups of Vukovar and Sisak together) and two days in the South (for the Strategy Task Groups of Zadar and Sibenik together). 6

7 According to the project planning the first training block is planned from May 30 th to June 03 rd, The regional HRD Strategies should be finalised by the end of June or beginning of July 2005 at the latest and will be presented to the pubic before the summer break during a distribution meeting in each project region. 4.3 Progress on Component 3 - Design on Local Partnership Project In order to contribute to the improvement of the labour market situation in the project regions we propose the establishment of an operational Employment Association. Therefore the project team developed a concept (Annex 4a+b), which has been discussed in detail with the local partners and in particular with the central and regional management of the CES. For that purpose, a two days study visit to Pecs was organised for a delegation of the CES, consisting of the CES Director General, the CES Directors from the project regions and other CES experts. The aim of the visit was to learn more about the activities and experiences of the Employment Associations in Hungary. The CES and the local partners are strongly interested in the establishment of Employment Associations in Sibenik/Knin, Sisak/Kutina and Vukovar/Vinkovci with the support of the project team. The Employment Associations should be established as soon as possible and should serve as a partnership projects, which is in line with the LPE ToR. The project team had identified, in close cooperation with the CES Director General and the responsible Project Manager in the EC Delegation in Zagreb, an opportunity for financing those Employment Associations. The project team will provide an active support to the CES management in the (re)allocation of needed financial resources. In spite of the fact that from the project team s point of view the Employment Associations could be established even before the summer break, if a sufficient financing is available, the conditions of the financing fund available don t allow a legal establishment of an independent entity before the end of the concerning grant scheme by December That s why all activities will be started and implemented only as employment projects till December However, it is not decided yet what kind of partnership projects will be organised in Zadar. 4.4 Preliminary assessment of Component 4 - Implementation of Local Partnership Project See section Progress on Component 5 - Dissemination In the framework of the LMSs elaboration we had developed a document entitled: Manual on Labour Market Information (Annex 6). The manual is published in Croatian and English and provides a detailed description on how to prepare a high quality LMS and is dedicated to 7

8 the Croatian regional actors and project mangers. The manual is available in hard copies and on the project s internet homepage. Another valuable output of the project Component 1, in connection with the LMSs, is the development of a high quality software programme which is able to analyse a particular data needed for specific targeted labour market analyses. The software is available in Croatian and the database software documentation is enclosed in this report (Annex 5). A dissemination meeting will be organised in each project region between May 16 th and June 10 th 2005 for the wider public presentation and discussion of the LMS results. The developed concept for an Employment Association in Croatia has been distributed and discussed with the local partners and in particular with the CES management at the central and regional level. The English version is attached in annex 4a+b. A new project bulletin was prepared for the project s internet homepage and is online since the second week of May The project home page has been regularly maintained, improved and updated. 5 Planning for the Next Reporting Period The following activities are planned to be implemented during the next reporting period: Finalisation of the project Component 1 Identification of Counterparts and Information Gathering This component will be completed after the dissemination meetings of the LMS in each of the four project regions. They will be organised until June 10 th Implementation of the project component 2 Strategy Design The implementation of activities under this Component started at the beginning of April The first combined training and the strategy design workshop will be carried out with the Strategy Task Groups in all project regions, planed from May 30 th to June 3 rd 2005 with the support of an international Short Term Expert. The Groups will be supported by our experts during the 3 weeks period of elaborating the strategies. By the end of June, a second workshop with the Groups and Short Term Expert with the aim to present, discuss the results and propose improvement. After the second workshop the final versions of the regional HRD Strategy shall be prepared. The Component will be completed by a dissemination meeting for HRD Strategy in each region, foreseen by the end of June / beginning of July A training implemented by a Simulation Game method is foreseen for September 2005 as planed in the Inception Report for May Due to a reorganisation of priorities (organisation of financing for partnership projects) and resources available to the project team, it was necessary to postpone the event, which has no negative consequences for the project performance as such. The training will aim to the practical realisation / implementation of the regional HRD Strategies. Implementation of the project Component 3 Design of Local Partnership Project 8

9 We started the process of designing the partnerships project at the beginning of April As a foreseen result is the decision to establish Employment Associations in 3 project regions, except Zadar which will be arranged in the coming months. In a close cooperation with the local partners, in particular with the CES, the project team will be deeply involved in the preparation and organisation of the partnership projects in the regions of Vukovar/Vinkovci, Sisak/Kutina and Sibenik. Due to the fact that the legal establishment of Employment Associations (as NGOs) is only possible after the funding grant scheme contract is finished by December 2005, the regarding partnership projects will start under the term of employment projects. The organisation and preparation for the employment projects / activities shall be completed by the mid of August For the Zadar region partnership project has not yet been identified. The first discussions with the local partners took place and they concerned the organisation of a project to promote the improvement of quality of services in the tourism sector in the Zadar region. It is planned to complete the partnership projects identification process in Zadar by the end of June 2005, nevertheless this depends very much on the contributions of the local partners. Start of the Component 4 implementation - Implementation of Local Partnership Project Technical Assistance to this component will be strengthened by the involvement of an international short term expert. A training for Project development and management for the local partners and partnership project staff (of the Employment Projects / Associations) is planned. Continuation of the implementation of the Component 5 Dissemination During the implementation of the project component 2 Strategy Design the elaboration and distribution of further specific material as mentioned in the projects ToR will be organised by the project team. It is planned to design and distribute a project flyer in June / July 2005 to inform the public about the project activities and results and to further promote the project aims, activities and results. 6 Problems and Risks Identified Problems and Risks have been recognized and presented in the Inception Report. During the present reporting period no new problems or risks have been identified. 7 Recommendations Preparations for the establishment of Regional Labour Market Councils During the work with the Task Group for LMS, it has appeared that at the beginning the regional CES were not aware of some responsibilities even if such a co-operation is noted in the Act on job placement, article 57, which quotes the following: 1) Monitors, analyses and researches economic, social and other trends, the level of employment, new employment and the level of unemployment, and their mutual 9

10 influences on each other, on the basis of which it proposes the measures for improvements in employment; 2) Keeps records of the unemployed and other persons, mediates in employment between employers and persons seeking job, monitors demand for workers and their employment, as well as cooperates with employers in this activity; 3) Organizes and implements programmes of professional orientation, educational programmes and other types of the active employment policy in cooperation with employers, educational institutions and other legal persons; 4) Cooperates with educational institutions in order to adjust educational programmes to the demand for workers 10

11 It was revealed that there is not such a tradition at the regional and or local level, or at least tasks were not done in a systematic way. One of our project tasks is to establish a Human Resource Development Council in each of the 4 project regions. To avoid any misunderstandings with the implementation of Regional Development Programme (ROP) and their Human Resource Work Group, we proposed to name our councils the Labour Market Councils (LMC). The council at the regional/local level should be constructed similarly to the Management Council at the national level. The regional LMC should have a consulting function and should ensure the involvement of local partners in monitoring and in coordination among actors in field of HRD. As a frontrunner for such a LMC and for creating an ownership responsibility, we propose to establish local HRD Strategy Task Groups in each of the 4 regions as soon as possible. The HRD Strategy Task Groups should be composed by representatives of Employers organisations, Trade Unions, Municipalities, County Training providers (VET institutions) and regional CES. We propose the following manageable number of representatives in the LMC: 2 by Employers organisations, 2 by Trade Unions, 2 by Municipalities, 1 by County, 1 by Training Providers and 1 by CES Regional. The main task of this Group would be to monitor the implementation of the LPE project in general and to participate in the elaboration of the HRD Strategy after the results of the Labour Market analysis are available. The LMC should be a forum which could provide advice to the regional CES; it is meant to be an advisory body and not a governing one. Such a partnership approach can be effective, because it can potentially: Involve a wider set of interests, including industry, commerce and the social partners; Generate a wider political support and the local ownership of HRD activities; Empower target groups of HRD activities, especially disadvantaged groups for improving their situation; Reduce possible duplications of efforts and produce focused actions; Provide more coherent or holistic services; Understand, anticipate and meet local needs; Inject innovation and creativity into the regional and local developments; and Combine the effects of various programmes and therefore optimising the impact. The advantage of such Task Group is to be able to gain experiences about local/regional partnerships related to the labour market from an informal structure (as pilots) and afterwards to use these experiences to formalise the structure (Task Group) as requested in the LPE ToR. Another advantage would be to secure a higher degree of sustainability for the methodology and capacity building aspects of the project so that know-how is maintained inside the institutions involved in the project. 11

12 The organisation and implementation of the partnership projects will allow the testing of approaches for the local employment development. They shall provide an invaluable feedback on practical experience as well as possible improvements provided from the target groups. These can be used to refine the approach. During the implementation, developments will be registered and therefore available for later use and analysis. Zagreb, May Wulf Schmieder, Project Team Leader ANNEXES: Annex 1: Minutes from the first meeting of the project Steering Committee Annex 2: Logical framework matrix of the project intervention Annex 3 a-c: Team meeting minutes Annex 4 a-b: Concept of Employment Association Annex 5: Database Software program documentation Annex 6: Manual on Labour Market Information Annex 7 a-d: LMS Reports from the 4 project regions Annex 8: Mission Report of international short term expert Mr. Poul Jeppesen 12

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