Network F Supporting the adaptability of firms and employees to structural economic changes and the use of information technology and other new technologies.
Project name Unemployment Combating System in the Poorly Urbanized Regions
Project number F0086

Project description

The main objective of the Partnership is to enhance abilities of enterprises and employees to adapt themselves to structural changes in the economy and to support introduction of information and other new technologies. Lubelskie and Podkarpackie voivodships are the least developed regions in Poland. The fact that they are also the least urbanised influences social and economic processes. The economy in these regions is less effective and based on small businesses accounting for 99% of all companies. The biggest problem is a decrease in the number of existing jobs and small number of new job openings. For every job offer in local Labour Office there are 585 job seekers in the Lubelskie and 433 in the Podkarpackie, while the average figure for Poland is 227.

In order to change this situation, it is vital to maintain existing jobs. The studies reveal that social and economic costs of restructuring are lower than the costs of creating new jobs. Small and medium enterprises are at risk of liquidation due to a lack of specialised managers, lack of investment capital and technological backwardness. Due to the absence of threats and opportunities analysis tools, companies face bankruptcy and lay off employees who are not prepared to compete actively on the labour market. Well prepared information for employers on macroeconomic processes and business risk is missing. Business owners, employees and trade unions do not use studies on labour market needs and employment trends analysis, thus they are unable to react to market needs. Owners of companies do not take advantage from opportunities created by information technology and do not receive help in acquiring and using the EU funds. Difficult situation of small and medium enterprises and their employees is further aggravated by a lack of a database on good practice of combating the unemployment and a lack of adequate training and advisory system based on modern techniques and curricula. Employees usually do not have IT and communication skills, do not speak foreign languages and are not aware of the need to plan for employees' careers and to continue personal development. Once jobless, they are unable to actively find their place on the market.

Based on an analysis of small and medium enterprises situation in Podkarpackie and Lubelskie voivodships, the Partnership has decided to create a support for employees and employers programme through the development of a system counteracting unemployment in non-urban areas. Twenty five small and medium local enterprises will participate in the pilot phase during the first three quarters of the project (a total of 100 managers and approx. 200 employees of medium and lower level). After the pilot phase, the project will support 80 enterprises, including some facing bankruptcy, from each voivodship (400 managers and 800 employees of lower levels). The beneficiaries - employers and employees, will have an opportunity to participate in specially designed training programmes developed in response to the most urgent need of improving competitiveness of SMEs. The training courses will cover the following topics: effective financial management, company strategy building, marketing, the use of information technology, acquiring EU funds, personnel management, distance learning. The beneficiaries will also be able to get help from advisers in improving company management, introducing technical and organisational innovations, enhancing personnel management and support to workers in danger of unemployment.

The essence of all activities for the beneficiaries is preventing the crisis situation through planned advanced activities based on detailed market analysis, characteristics of the local market and macroeconomic factors. Dissemination of results and good practice developed during the Project will be the key element of the activities.

Information campaign will be addressed to final beneficiaries from Lubelskie and Podkarpackie voivodships and in the next phase to a larger circle of business institutions and organisations, local governments and small and medium enterprises in other regions. The objective of the dissemination is to invite more beneficiaries to participate in the project and to establish a platform for cooperation between partners of the project to exchange experience and include other companies from Poland and other EU member states.

What will the beneficiaries gain? The managers will be able to easier make business decisions due to actual and reliable information and financial analysis as well as modern systems for diagnosis of current situation and prospective company development. The enterprises participating in the Project will improve their competitiveness by utilising effective management methodologies, better motivation of employees, team management techniques, strategic planning and the use of IT tools. Employees of small and medium enterprises at risk of unemployment will improve their competences during training, so that their abilities might be better used in the case of restructuring. The Partnership aims at establishing a support network of small and medium enterprises to link and sustain direct business contacts and to create common concepts of market development.