President Markkula attends GEMM conference in Tunis

Governance for Employability in the Mediterranean kicked off in 2013 as part of the European Commission’s continued efforts to address the high rates of youth and female unemployment across the region.

The European Training Foundation designed the initiative with three dimensions: cross-country, national and local. At the local level, pilot projects were launched in eight countries.

What were the innovative pilot projects about?

All the pilots focused on skills anticipation, matching and apprenticeship. Six countries – Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Israel – developed tools specifically for this.

Lebanon sought to improve the transition to work by appointing career guidance and employment officers and Palestine* developed an online tracking system following graduates from 15 institutions in the West Bank to see if, and how, graduate skills are meeting labour market needs.

GEMM achievements

Improved employability, female participation and partnerships are among the outcomes. More than 30 percent of participants were women, more than 100 local enterprises were involved and hundreds of vocational education graduates have found work placements.

The ETF’s Abdelaziz Jaouani, GEMM Team Leader, says the pilot projects began as small initiatives and have developed into structural reform.

“This success can be put down to ownership of the pilot projects and working together with local enterprise. Realising the structuring reach of these initiatives, we have worked with countries to ensure their sustainability, either by mainstreaming or institutionalising at local and national level.”

Success through small communities of practice

The President of the European Committee of the Regions Markku Markkula joined project participants, policy makers, EU-officials, experts and other stakeholders to discuss the outcomes and lessons learned from GEMM in Tunis on July 19-20.

Sharing experiences from across Europe, he said while top-level governance has a role to play, change comes from the bottom up, “small communities of practice.”

“We need to energise local regional ecosystems and promote activities of citizens as innovators. You are doing exactly the right thing, involving people and integrating regions,” he told participants.

“Learning comes from collaboration, engaging local people and the young generation who are eager. We need to be able to provide them good learning circumstances and chances to create jobs.”

“GEMM has shown that action-orientated results, based on best practices, happens through people. The hard work starts now, but I am sure that with the concrete work that the ETF is doing here in Europe’s neighbouring countries, we can go forward!”

Source: European Union