Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Faculty of Economic Sciences and Management

Nicolaus Copernicus University

Elderly Unemployed Vocational Activation Strategy

Innovation Statement

This strategy aims to set incentives for public employment services, businesses, and researchers to form local alliances and develop new effective measures that help integrate Poland’s over-50 unemployed population into the regular labor market.

Call to Action

Contemporary Poland must be prepared for all the positive and negative consequences resulting from the alarming demographic projections, showing progressive aging of the population. Extending the economic activity of the elderly is now an important developmental challenge, especially given the shrinking population, aging progression, and increasing risk to the stability of the pension system. Vocational activation of the elderly unemployed and retaining them in employment is a key priority of labor market policy.

Our elderly unemployed activation strategy for public employment services in Poland is closely linked with the solutions implemented in Germany within the frame of the "Perspektive 50plus—Beschäftigungspakte für Ältere in den Regionen" program. The innovation is based on a complex and individually tailored approach and is a combination of standard and non-standard measures at the stages of diagnosis, program participation, and post-employment.

Innovation Description

The goal of the innovation is to improve the quality of public employment services for the unemployed 50-plus population and to ensure higher and lasting employment outcomes of active labor market programs targeted to older job-seekers. The innovation is based on the German practices in activation and sustainable reintegration of the elderly into the labor market. The novelty of the proposed solution, not yet applied in Poland, is demonstrated through a customized, individualized approach to activation of unemployed older workers. The new concept means applying a comprehensive diagnosis of the unemployed potential, including assessment of strengths and weaknesses, definition of goals, development of individual activation strategy, and implementing the strategy and its maintenance. It also includes the use of applying standard (vocational training, career counseling, subsidized employment) and non-standard (individual coaching, job training, self-marketing, health promotion, mobility support, financial incentives) labor market measures adequately to the needs of the unemployed and the labor market, monitoring the progress of the unemployed in the labor market by expanding communication channels (email, internet platform), and more intensive cooperation with employers and their associations. The innovation was tested on three local labor markets that differed in terms of unemployment rate. Forty-five unemployed individuals participated in the testing process.

Innovation Impact

There are three main fields of impact and groups of beneficiaries for the innovation project. The first is the system of Public Employment Services (PES) in Poland. These services can now implement more efficient, regionally tailored strategies and measures of reducing and preventing long-term unemployment among the elderly unemployed population in Poland.

The 50-plus long-term unemployed are the second group of beneficiaries of the project. They are individually treated, deeply diagnosed as to their labor market potential, permanently supported by a career counselor, and able to develop their competences regardless to their labor market activity.

The third group of beneficiaries consists of the local labor markets, economies, and communities. They are developing faster, thanks to a higher employment rate and an increasing level of competence in the regional labor force. These factors reduce negative local effects of the labor force shortage and helps local employers grow.

Reference Link

Innovation Partners

  • International partner: The Federal Employment Agency, Germany (Bundesagentur für Arbeit - BA)
  • National partners: Entrepreneurial representative: Przedsiębiorstwo Inwestycyjne Bud-Tech sp. z o.o.; Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Izba Przemysłowo-Handlowa w Toruniu; Foundation: Fundacja Gospodarcza "Pro Europa"; Labor Office: Powiatowy Urząd Pracy dla Miasta Torunia


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