The Ministry of education decision 4456 from July 8th 2015 approves the development of two institutions: 1) Local Committee for the Development of Social Partnership (LCDSP) at the level of counties and 2) Regional Consortium (RC) at the level of the development of the regions. LCDSP and RC have to improve the professional capabilities in order to correspond to the labour market needs. Moreover, they have to correlate the professional and technical educational offer with the needs of personal and professional development. In what concerns LCDSP, the main objectives of these institutions are to identify the social order for vocational and technical education and the priority areas for initial and continuing vocational training. Moreover, it should increase the capacity of vocational training to meet labour market requirements, local and regional development needs and individual beneficiaries’ needs. The overall objective of the RC is to contribute through social dialogue and public engagement of those involved in the harmonization of policies, strategies and concrete actions in the field of education and training with the complex, general or specific requirements of the economic, cultural, regional, county and local levels.
LCDSP is constituted and operates at the level of each county/ municipality of Bucharest, based on a voluntary cooperation agreement between the social partners and the legal representatives, for the development of the vocational and technical education. The RC is set up and operates at the level of each development region, on the basis of a voluntary cooperation agreement of the legal entities representative of the field of education, training and human resources development. Therefore, both organizations encompass a voluntary cooperation of different institutions, including the representatives of the education system and the employers, in order to increase the professional education adapted to labour market needs.
An example of RC is the Regional Consortium of Bucharest and Ilfov Development Region that consists of 21 institutions, and seven of them are all the public universities from Bucharest such as Politehnica University of Bucharest, the Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration. The representatives of the universities meet periodically with the Local Inspectorate for Education, the City Hall, the Agency for Employment, the General Union of the Industrial Employers, the Chamber for Commerce and Industry, and the National Center for the Development of Professional and Technical Education.
What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?
The main challenge that LCDSP and RC address is to develop policies and practices in order to balance the relationship between the demand of professional education for the labour market and the offer of human resources that meet the high standards of the new knowledge economy. The consortium includes the best universities from Bucharest to ensure the harmonization of policies, strategies and concrete actions in the field of education and training with the full demands of the economic environment. The success is explained by the diversity of the institutions involved that represent the education system, the employers, the employees, and the local authorities.
What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?
The enabling conditions for the success of these partnerships are given by the unbalanced relationship between the need for higher education graduates that have the knowledge and the skills required by the present labour market, and the universities' offer of these kind of specialists. The Romanian economy experiences a shortage of well trained and motivated labour force due to a declining birth rate and to an increased phenomena of migration to developed countries among younger generations. In this context, the partners have a common interest in working together for offering the proper conditions for social and economic development. Common pressure and common goals are factors that make us consider that these partnerships will be both active and successful.
What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?
The most important challenge for putting all these objectives into practice is that institutions are not used to collaborating to have a common strategy for making a better labour market. All these institutions should have this need for local and regional development not only in their general strategy, but also in their way of thinking. Therefore, LCDSP and LC should be more than a frame, but a content.
Feasibility & Sustainability
What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?
There are no financial costs to cover the expenses of these partnerships. Nevertheless, all the individuals, representatives of the institutions that are members of the LCDSP and LC have to dedicate time and effort to an activity that is unpaid. Therefore, the activity in these consortiums has to be part of the paid job where they are employed.
Replicability & Upscaling
What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?
This good practice is highly replicable. These kinds of partnerships between different stakeholders can be more or less developed in accordance with the cultural and political context.
What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?
In a knowledge based economy, the effective collaboration among all the stakeholders involved to offer more and better jobs and more and better prepared graduates with highly developed soft and hard skills is a sine qua non condition. This case study is a good argument for the need of a common and systematic approach regarding the professional higher education and the labour market.
Please provide some information about the context and initial situation that can help in fully understanding the action (e.g. information about the national system, applying regulations, etc.)
The Romanian context of these partnerships takes into account the state of the economic development, the decrease of the size of the new cohorts of students and the fast technological development. The European Union member states experience similar aspects given the low birth rates, the need for creativity and technological updates, and the social and economic cohesion.