The projects funded in the first Call for Proposals are now past the half-way mark, and the initial achievements as well as lessons and learning points can be shared with a wider audience.
The cities of Bilbao, Madrid, Milan and Rotterdam have been implementing their activities intensely since the end of 2016 to bridge the increasing gap between the jobs generated by the leading sectors of the Next Economy and the skills available within their communities. They are testing new ways to create the right environments for innovative economic sectors (agri-food, Industry 4.0, social care, etc.) to thrive while making sure that the benefits are really shared within local communities in terms of social value.
Keen to discuss about their experiences and challenges, the cities and their experts have started working together to explore links and common aspects. They have identified four key questions that they will focus on:
In the context of the Next Economy, how are cities developing place-based approaches to jobs and skills?
The four projects will show that the role of urban ‘spaces’ are key in the context of the Next Economy as they combine the functions of socialisation, training and collaboration in the perspective of creating new services and economies that include citizens at a very local scale. These spaces are located in ‘places’ where new ways of co-creation and co-production will contribute to enhancing processes for inclusive local economic development.
How are City authorities evolving their roles as brokers in the approach to jobs and skills development?
Within the framework of their UIA projects, along with new ideas and solutions for inclusive growth, cities are also experimenting new governance models for project implementation. Sharing responsibility, resources and risk with Delivery Partners, they are acting as real brokers, forging a new relation based on trust and shared vision. However, the scale and complexity of the delivery partnership has proven the need for a completely different set of skills for local civil servants. Each city has different needs and is trying to address the challenge from a different angle.
What can we tell about City approaches to talent management in these four projects?
Human capital and talent are key ingredients for growth and competitiveness of economic actors as well as for the wider economic and social well-being of territories. The integration between the qualification of talents and the creation of an ecosystem that can attract and realise the potential of such talents is at the very core of the four projects
How important is industry clustering in these projects’ approaches to supporting the jobs and skills agenda?
Industries tend to cluster in particular places or spaces. Some clusters emerge spontaneously but overall local policies play a key role in identifying potential industrial clusters, in boosting them, or connecting clusters to each other and to knowledge institutions. At EU level, industrial clusters represent the building block of the Smart Specialization policy. In the four projects currently ongoing the question of industrial clustering has a twofold dimension. On one side the existing clusters are determining the skills needed to ensure a long term growth. On the other side it is at the scale of the industrial clusters that the disruptive effects of the rapid technological change and therefore it is at that scale that the question of smart growth and renewed competitiveness should be considered.
In the introductory paper that you can find attached to this article, the four UIA Experts introduce the questions and explain why and to what extent they are relevant for all four projects, despite different local contexts and approaches.
The four questions will be openly discussed during the workshop that will take place in Brussels on the 22nd of June. Representatives of the cities, UIA Experts and representatives of EU Institutions will share with the audience their direct experience of implementing a UIA project with the aim of inspiring and providing participants with concrete learning points but also to be inspired by the contributions of the audience.
The registration for the UIA Capitalisation workshop on the topic of Jobs and Skills in the local economy is now open. You can register here. The event will take place on 22 June 2018 in the Ateliers des Tanneurs, in Brussels, Belgium. It will be the first capitalisation and dissemination activity of the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.
After the workshop, the four UIA Experts will produce a final paper (by the end of July 2018) capturing the different exchanges and highlighting concrete learning points for other urban stakeholders on how the four cities are dealing with the challenges linked to the four questions.
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