LOCAL SKILLS MATTER MULTILEVEL GOVERNANCE AND ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES

MLG-ECOMMs_Draft Agenda_en up14
unnamedIncreasing the effectiveness of education and training policies for employability, economic development and social cohesion is a key issue for EU pre-accession and neighbouring countries given the persistent, high unemployment levels (in particular among young people), emerging skill mismatches and territorial disparities. Integrated policies in which human capital development is a key element are needed to support employment, economic prosperity and social development. In this context, addressing human capital development policies from a local (i.e. subnational, including regional and local) perspective has a key role in ensuring effectiveness of education and training policies and addressing emerging demands for skills. 

1. Background
Local skills are quintessential for sustainable national economic development and territorial cohesion. In order to foster effectively equitable economic growth, national policies need to be responsive to the needs of their regions and localities and support them in providing the conditions for generating growth and addressing the skills needs of local businesses. This requires governance arrangements for which no single blueprint exists. What is clear however is that national skills policies alone are insufficient, and that governance arrangements are key in engaging regional and local actors, and facilitating localflexibility in the implementation of skills policies.
Multilevel approaches to governance entail coordination and cooperation at the vertical level (among central and local actors) and at the horizontal level (among actors at the same administrative level).

Multilevel approaches to governance in education and training can help to open up opportunities for dialogue on shaping and implementing skills policies. They can help to ensure greater effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, transparency and accountability of education and training policies in the overall strategic development of a country.
Entrepreneurial communities are examples of multilevel governance put into action at the grass root evel. These are essentially partnerships among local actors who have joined their forces, downplaying the strict hierarchical systems of governance, and are engaged in a myriad of inclusive participatory action to foster local skills. The impact of their work benefits not just the members engaged in the partnerships but also the local economy as a whole through the skills and entrepreneurial potential they are able to unleash and the local level job creation the are able to generate. Inspired by the European Entrepreneurial Regions project of the Committee of the Regions, the ETF’s Entrepreneurial Communities project aims to capture the elements of success of such local partnerships that use their strengths to build on skills to create more and better jobs and ultimately local economic growth and development.

2. Aim of the Event
The Conference is part of a series of actions that ETF is undertaking to support its partner countries to move towards more participatory multilevel governance. It responds to partner countries requirements as expressed in the Torino process declarations 2011 and 2013. It aims to bring forward the discussion of the 2012 conference on ‘Multilevel governance in education and training: challenges and opportunities’ by focusing on the importance of local level in shaping and implementing human capital development policies. The conference offers an opportunity to explore a number of successful
practices, both in terms of process and impact, of entrepreneurial communities in the ETF’s partner countries. It will provide a platform for debate and finally draw key policy lessons on the benefits of efficient vertical (among actors at different levels) and horizontal (among actor at the same level) collaborative governance within a multilevel governance approach to human capital development.

3. Key questions of the event
The conference will respond to three questions:
1. Why local skills matter
Based on research and practical examples, what is the potential of local communities in ensuring that local labour markets and private sector needs are accommodated, helping to spark a virtuous circle of local economic welfare and job creation.
2. How can local actors effectively impact national policy debate
Based on practical examples, how can local actors engage more effectively through local partnerships (entrepreneurial communities) and what is the potential value added of more collaborative governance arrangements.
3. What are the national policies that enable and foster horizontal and vertical cooperation
from a local perspective
As evidence and examples on what drives local partnerships (entrepreneurial communities) becomes available through the conference, policies that would support effective multilevel governance from a local level and feeding into national policy dialogue will be identified for widening the space available for local and bottom-up policy dialogue.
4. Participants
Some 90 delegates are expected to attend the conference. The conference targets practitioners and stakeholders representing policy makers, social partners and civil society from ETF partner countries,including representatives of identified entrepreneurial communities. Representatives of EU institutions and Member States will also be invited, with presence of EU entrepreneurial regions, to exchange practices and lessons. Finally, representatives of the leading international organisations and donors in the field of VET are also expected to attend.
5. Format of the event
The Conference will take place on 19-20 November 2014. The opening session will introduce participants to the developments of multilevel governance in the EU and ETF partner 2. Aim of the Event The Conference is part of a series of actions that ETF is undertaking to support its partner countries to move towards more participatory multilevel governance. It responds to partner countries requirements as expressed in the Torino process declarations 2011 and 2013. It aims to bring forward the discussion of the 2012 conference on ‘Multilevel governance in education and training: challenges and opportunities’ by focusing on the importance of local level in shaping and implementing human capital development policies. The conference offers an opportunity to explore a number of successful practices, both in terms of process and impact, of entrepreneurial communities in the ETF’s partner countries. It will provide a platform for debate and finally draw key policy lessons on the benefits of efficient vertical (among actors at different levels) and horizontal (among actor at the same level) collaborative governance within a multilevel governance approach to human capital development.

3. Key questions of the event
The conference will respond to three questions:
1. Why local skills matter
Based on research and practical examples, what is the potential of local communities in ensuring that local labour markets and private sector needs are accommodated, helping to spark a virtuous circle of local economic welfare and job creation.
2. How can local actors effectively impact national policy debate
Based on practical examples, how can local actors engage more effectively through local partnerships (entrepreneurial communities) and what is the potential value added of more collaborative governance arrangements.
3. What are the national policies that enable and foster horizontal and vertical cooperation
from a local perspective
As evidence and examples on what drives local partnerships (entrepreneurial communities) becomes available through the conference, policies that would support effective multilevel governance from a local level and feeding into national policy dialogue will be identified for widening the space available for local and bottom-up policy dialogue.
4. Participants
Some 90 delegates are expected to attend the conference. The conference targets practitioners and stakeholders representing policy makers, social partners and civil society from ETF partner countries,including representatives of identified entrepreneurial communities. Representatives of EU institutions and Member States will also be invited, with presence of EU entrepreneurial regions, to exchange practices and lessons. Finally, representatives of the leading international organisations and donors in the field of VET are also expected to attend.
5. Format of the event
The Conference will take place on 19-20 November 2014. The opening session will introduce participants to the developments of multilevel governance in the EU and ETF partner countries with a specific focus on the skills dimension of cohesion policies. The opening plenary will be followed by the presentation of cases from the selected entrepreneurial communities in ETF partner countries. Practices and lessons from the entrepreneurial communities will feed the policy debate among participants on how multilevel governance can be supported and enabled. On the second day the conference will focus on EU good practices and ETF experiences in specific projects addressing multilevel governance and change processes. The conference will conclude with a plenary debate on how national skills policies can foster an environment where local action oriented partnerships can flourish.

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