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GEMM: It’s in the detail

Thematic Area: ; VET Governance
Year/Date: 20/06/2016

GEMM technical meeting Brussels

How do you create a regional project for nine countries to tackle global issues, making sure that each country maintains a national approach with impact at local level?

The ETF set out to answer this question by sharing the approach used in the GEMM project with stakeholders at a technical event in Brussels, so that others could learn from this approach in developing projects and dialogue.

‘We have a methodology, we have tools, we have networks. We want to tell people about them and answer their questions, so that they can make use of what we have done to build their own projects,’ said Eva Jimeno Sicilia, Head of Systems Policy/Country Analysis Unit at the ETF.

Youth unemployment: the central issue

Youth unemployment is the global issue that the Governance for Employability in the Mediterranean project (GEMM) set out to tackle three years ago by involving nine countries in a regional project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the ETF.

‘The renewed emphasis on vocational education and training in the European Neighbourhood Policy underlines the importance of VET in improving the employability of young people,’ said José Luis Vinuesa Santamaría, Head of Sector of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR).

Regional and national priorities

Although a regional project, GEMM did not propose a one-size fits all solution. Instead, the GEMM methodology recognised that countries are different, they work at different speeds and have different needs. As a result, GEMM was firmly anchored to national priorities.

The regional dimension ensured that countries could see what was working in neighbouring countries through regional exchanges of dialogue and peer-to-peer learning. These also facilitated the mainstreaming of effective partnerships essential to close the gap between training provided by vocational education and training employers and the skills needed by local employers.

An important part of the regional dimension has also been the creation of a regional, or cross-country, network for the exchange of knowledge and ideas on multilevel governance for youth employability.

Partnerships and pilot projects

Partnerships have been central to GEMM and the project has seen partnerships forged locally and nationally, in addition to the regional dimension.

‘The partnership principle is beneficial for governments, social partners and civil society. Only with cooperation with all can we make change,’ said Pavel Trantina, President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship of the European Economic and Social Committee, who co-hosted the technical meeting.

Innovative, action-oriented pilot projects in each participating country have been a core component to GEMM. Each project has had an impact at local level. How these projects are scaled up is seen as essential to the longer-term success of GEMM. At this technical meeting, representatives from Israel, Morocco and Tunisia answered questions on how they developed and implemented their pilot project and the plans in place for sustainability.

A sustainable future

‘Supporting home grown reforms is a priority for the EU. Looking ahead, we should make use of what we have learnt from GEMM to continue to support regional dialogue and support countries in the Neighbourhood to build better skills for their young people,’ said Irene Mingasson, Head of Unit, DG NEAR in closing the meeting.

A wider dissemination event, taking place in July in Tunisia, will further examine lessons learnt from the project and future actions.

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