Project partners met in Kavala to analyze project progress in the partner regions.
The capitalization meeting, held on the 9th December 2015 at the hotel ‘Lucy’ in the city of Kavala, began with the welcome address of Deputy Regional Governor Mr. Markopoulos, on behalf of the Governor of the Region East Macedonia and Thrace Mr. Pavlidis. The meeting was implemented with great success, attracting strong interest representatives and strategic actors associated with the surveyed areas.
During the conference, all the attendees welcomed the effort of the Regional Development Fund of the Region with evident interest of all to actively participate in the continuation of the project and submit their proposals, with the common goal to solve the acute problems facing young in the Region.
Staff from the European Projects Department of Málaga County Council presented ESPY project (PROGRESS programme, partners, objective, actions, departments involved, etc.). Then Mónica Hernández, from the Employment Department of Málaga County Council presented the Social Policy Experimentation that is being developed in Málaga Province.
Mr. Temekenidis Paschalls presented the Local Resources Guide of the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace produced in the framework of ESPY project.
Mr. Karamoschos Athanasios talked about the Labour Market in the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace. Dimoudi Eleni presented Vocational Training Institute in Lifelong Learning in Xanthi, a training institute for children who have dropped out school with an insertion percentage in labour market of 99%.
Dr. Polyzoidis talked about discouraging factors during job search. Also Mr. Samaras presented innovative software for school dropout.
On the 10th December Steering Committee and Working Group Meeting of all the partners took place. During the meeting the partners presented the progress of the project in each of the participant regions.
Also the Steering Committee and the Working Group of ESPY project met
Tipperary County Council (Ireland) hosted a project Steering Committee Meeting of all the partners in Cashel, County Tipperary in September 2015. During the meeting the partners presented the progress of the project in each of the participant regions.
Mónica Hernández, from Málaga County Council (Spain), presented the activities developed in Málaga Province in the framework of the Social Policy Experimentation since the last meeting in Budapest. Also financial issues as well as evaluation and dissemination strategies were discussed.
Tipperary County Council also co-hosted a Transnational Capitalization Conference with Tipperary Regional Youth Services on 22nd September 2015 in the framework of ESPY. The theme of the Conference was “Mental Health and Youth Unemployment”. The topic generated great interest and was very well received and attended by over 125 people.
A Baseline Analysis Report on youth unemployment in County Tipperary and a Resources Guide for young job seekers have been prepared as part of project activity by Tipperary County Council and were both launched at the Conference and available at www.tipperarycoco.ie andwww.espyproject.eu.
On the 23rd September 2015 ESPY partners visited Clonmel Youth Training Centre where the person responsible of the Centre showed them all the training activities and programs they develop with young people in the county.
Partners from Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Hungary participated in the meeting.
Sixteen members from partner entities of the ESPY project met in Budapest (Hungary) on the 16th June 2015. The meeting took place in the office of the Hungarian partner, Alliance of Social Professionals (3Sz), an umbrella organisation with the support of PHARE Social Policy Development Program.
The agenda included the presentations about the progress of the project in each of the participant regions.
Donal Kelly, from Tipperary County Council (Ireland) explained the Action Plan to be developed in Tipperary. Now they are working in their Resources Guide for young jobseekers that will be launched in the next transnational meeting in September 2015.
Christos Partsias, from Regional Development Fund of East Macedonia and Thrace (Greece), presented the Action Plan in their region and showed his interest about the exchange of experiences with the rest of partners.
In ADRAL, Association for Regional Development of Alentejo (Portugal), they are working on the Action Plan and dissemination workshops that are being developed in the region.
Linda Saraceno (Regional Province of Syracuse, Italy) explained that they have analyzed the situation of youth unemployment and school dropout in Syracuse. They met with the leaders of the schools representatives and a protocol between the Province and the Provincial Education Office was signed.
Mónica Hernández, from Málaga County Council (Spain), presented the activities developed in Málaga Province in the framework of the Social Policy Experimentation.
Also financial issues as well as evaluation and dissemination strategies were discussed.
After the meeting, the participants visited the Pedagogical Institute of Budapest that helps young people seeking for vocational training.
Partners from Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Hungary participated in the meeting
Eleven members from partner entities of the ESPY project met in Evora (Portugal) on the 3rd March 2015. The meeting took place in ÉvoraTech (Technological Business Incubator of Evora).
All partners discussed and shared views about the implementation of actions. The objective of the meeting was to establish working guidelines, to coordinate activities and to ensure that all the activities are correctly put into practice. Also, the Working Group in charge of the direct implementation of the project met in order to review the on-going evaluation of the project and to evaluate activities in order to be able to detect any incidents and opportunities that could serve to modify plans and introduce corrections to improve any activities that are being carried out.
The agenda included two presentations about the progress of the project until the meeting and also about the activities developed in the framework of the Social Policy Experimentation held in Málaga province, its first results and the protocol and tools used for its evaluation.
Three new partners
The participants from new Hungarian partner 3Sz Szociális Szakmai Szövetség (Union of Social Professionals), explained its main goals, basic functions and present actions.
Tipperary County Council (the former partner was South East Regional Authority, SERA) is also one of the new partners due to a major reform of regional and local government in Ireland
Also Regional Development Fund of East Macedonia and Thrace (Greece) was presented: location, characteristics of the region, unemployment data, and local team working in the project, activities, and objectives.
Staff from ADRAL, hosting partner, presented the local team of the project.
The participants explained the activities to be developed in each partner region, the meetings and contacts held and the Action Plan in the framework of dissemination and capitalization activities of ESPY project.
Finally, the participants received explanations about the corporate identity of the project and some important financial requirements. A copy of the Corporate Identity Manual of ESPY project was delivered to all the participants and the project webpage www.espyproject.eu was presented.
At the end of the meeting, the head of ADRAL showed all the partners the facilities of Evoratech.
The main objective is develop, test and disseminate innovative activation measures to prevent youth unemployment and social exclusion
Twenty persons from the partner entities of the project participated in the Kick off meeting held in Málaga (Spain) on the 15th May 2014. They worked on the Action Plan, the Information and Communication Plan of the project and they discussed about the Quality and Evaluation Plan and the financial requirements of the Programme.
Deputy of Presidency, Carlos Conde, stressed “the importance of working together in the fight against youth unemployment”. Conde pointed out that the unemployment rate in the province of Málaga is around 35%, while unemployment among young people under 25 is around 50%. In fact, the partnership of the ESPY project (Experimentation on Social Policy for Youth) is formed by provinces and regions with regional youth unemployment rates ranging between 28.2% and 54.5%. Therefore, he stressed the importance of raising initiatives to help alleviate the dramatic situation of many young people.
The actions of the ESPY project in Málaga province will be developed by Employment Department and, Community Social Services (both belonging to the Delegation of Social Rights) and the European Projects Department. The vice president in charge of Social Rights Delegation, Ana Mata, highlighted the “cross-action” between Málaga County Council and the University of Málaga to carry out innovative strategies for action and training of young people and their families, as well as create new lines of coordination among professionals in order to reduce absenteeism and youth unemployment.
A pilot experience for young people between 15 and 24 years old will be developed in 34 municipalities of the province of Málaga including training activities, promotion of entrepreneurship and professional practices.
The ESPY project will develop actions that provide young people with skills and abilities that allow them access to the labour market or return to training abandoned prematurely; that meet their needs and demands and that put at their disposal the necessary resources for transition from education to work.
For young people between 15 and 16 years old, motivational workshops, forums for debate for teachers, workshops for capacity building and seminars with families will be held in the formal educational environment.
For young people over 16 years old, the planned actions also include workplace experiences, which will consist of three voluntary works in different organizations or companies belonging to different economic activities.
Similarly, a “job club” will be created in the Social Services Centres where young people can attend to obtain information and guidance. The project also includes participation in community life through the development of participatory workshops and meetings between young people and training activities in the field of social networks as a tool for training and employment.
Educational community (teachers), Community Social Services, Employment Department and parents will actively participate in the implementation of the project as key agents in the personal, emotional and professional development of young people,
ESPY (Experimentation on Social Policies for Youth) is part of European Union Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity – PROGRESS (2007-2013), which aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of social policies and facilitate their adaptation to new social needs and challenges. Its main objective is to develop, test and disseminate innovative activation measures to prevent youth unemployment and social exclusion in particular of young people living in remote rural areas.
ESPY has a total budget of 1.034.988,00 euro, 827.990,40 euro co-financed (80%) by the European Union. The action shall run for 30 months from 01/11/2013. The project is composed by Málaga County Council (Spain) as beneficiary and University of Málaga (through the Department of Social Psychology, Social Anthropology, Social Work and Social Services), together with partners from five European countries: South-East Regional Authority (Ireland), Region of East Macedonia and Thrace (Greece), Regional Social Welfare Resource Centre Budapest (Hungary), Provincia Regionale di Siracusa (Italy) and Agencia de Desenvolvimento Regional do Alentejo, SA (Portugal).
Applicant organizations of the approved projects in the call for proposals for social policy experimentation participated in the meeting
Staff from the European Commission presented in Brussels PROGRESS programme as well as methodological and technical issues for Social Innovation and Social Policy Experimentation on 27th November 2013. The meeting began with the presentation “Social innovation and social policy experimentation” by Oana Ailenei (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission).
People attending the meeting were staff from the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, applicant organizations (beneficiaries) of the projects approved in the framework of the call for proposals, and external experts from London School of Economics and Political Science and CRIE-ISPRA.
Staff from the European Commission informed that 128 applications were submitted. Then, the activities and objectives of the 5 approved projects were presented by the promoters:
1. iCare4U – a social policy experiment in motivational strategies towards citizens. Municipality of Tholen (Netherlands). Project objectives are to experiment with: the introduction of a community currency as an economic mean to integrate the implementation of different sets of policies; the cooperation between local government organisations, non-profit organisations and commercial local businesses; the use of community currencies, as a mean to engage local residents to actively participate in their neighbourhoods and the use of an economic incentive scheme to generate new funds for development of social services and to sustain the policy intervention without the need of additional subsidies.
2. Workage – Active Ageing through Work Ability, Nottingham Trent University (UK). Its aim is to identify and pilot interventions in the workplace that enhance the engagement of workers aged 50+ and delay their intention to retire.
3. “Fostering Intergenerational Entrepreneurship”. “Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisbon” (Portugal). Its objective is contributing to the definition of an active policy of employment which allows the joint integration of young and senior people in the active life through entrepreneurship.
4. “ESPY: Experimentation on Social Policy for Youth”. Málaga County Council (Spain). Its general objective is the implementation of a new Social Policy aimed at tackling and preventing the high rates of youth unemployment and exclusion of young people between 15 and 24 years old in EU rural areas.
5. “Mobilitza’t – Mobile”. Barcelona County Council (Spain). It is an experimental programme addressed to unemployed young people.
After lunch Arnaud Vaganay, from LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science) explained the activities they were going to carry out as external experts for the advising about Social Policy Experimentation. He also provided some general advices about the size of the sample and the evaluation method.
Andrea Morescalchi and Paolo Paruolo from CRIE-ISPRA (Centre for Research on Impact Evaluation en Ispra (Italy)) talked about “Discussion of the Projects funded under VP/2012/007: PROGRESS Social Experimentation”. They provided the partnership some general recommendations. About ESPY Project Andrea recommended considering effect of interventions separately.
Filomena Lomartire and Susane Fleming gave some indications about the Administrative and Financial Management of the Commission funded Projects. They explained the system of payments to project leaders (prefinancing, further prefinancing, balance). Regarding publicity of EU financing, a debate on which graphics and mentions were compulsory was opened. It was decided to ask the legal department and then clarify it by email. Regarding reports they indicated that the final payment request must be accompanied by a final report, a financial statement and an audit report. They also gave some instructions about award of contracts, the certification of staff costs, changes to the Grant Agreement and the eligibility of VAT.