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 MayDay – Model of Active Support to the Development of Employees and Enterprises in the Face of Structural Changes in the Economy
Project number F0114

Project description

The objective of the Partnership is to improve adaptation skills of workers aged 50 and older, employed in shipbuilding industry and discriminated on labour market due to their age and skills not matching employers' needs.

Polish shipyards are not competitive compared to European ones. That is particularly clear in terms of using new technology and modern work organization and management methods, which, combined with a lack of financial liquidity, is threatening the whole sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises that cooperate with shipyards. The difficult situation in shipbuilding sector poses a threat to its workforce, especially those aged 50 or older.

The problems seem particularly acute in Pomorskie and Zachodniopomorskie Voivodships, where a majority of shipbuilding sector companies is located. Elderly workers who account for about 30% of the whole workforce are discriminated, especially when their health does not allow them to continue working in difficult conditions, albeit in line with their professional skills. Inability to work and misaligned skills lead to lay-offs. Managers of large enterprises are more interested in social aspects of keeping workers (keeping workforce calm) than in creating long-term systemic solutions, while small and medium-sized businesses tend to lay-off employees with long standing during the implementation of innovative or new technologies and employ young ones, often on less favourable payment terms. The situation results from limited financial resources and a lack of human resources management systems, especially inability to utilize the intellectual potential of employees with extensive professional experience. Employers do not realize the benefits of keeping 50+ staff stemming from their practical knowledge and expertise. On the other hand, the level of awareness how important it is to update one's knowledge and continually learn is low among those employees. Social organizations, such as trade unions or associations of employers, do not support their members in developing new skills and do not realize how important it is to cooperate in developing new solutions for enterprises. Labour market institutions focus rather on help offer, disregarding activities aimed at occupational integration of the unemployed.

The outcome of the Project will be system solutions supporting both employers, and employees in implementing new technologies, solving social problems, seeking sources of finance and introducing innovations. The basic group of beneficiaries includes persons 50+ years of age, employed in small, medium-sized and large enterprises from shipbuilding industry, who are in danger of redundancy for health reasons or a lack of proper qualifications and inability to use modern technologies, especially IT and communication ones. Other beneficiaries are managers: they will gain the knowledge on how to implement new technologies and innovative management systems in the company, and representatives of trade unions: they will learn how to constructively influence employers and workforce in order to eliminate inequalities on the labour market. The program is also targeted at large enterprises from shipbuilding industry and small and mediumsized companies that cooperate with them and have difficulties with keeping jobs for experienced workers.

The Partnership will create a module-based support system that contains training, internship, and advice. The solution's efficiency will be regularly monitored and the program will be optimized accordingly.

The Support Centre for employees, employers and managerial staff will use telecommunication techniques, Internet, and the education offer will be precisely tailored to the needs of shipbuilding industry beneficiaries. The training and consultancy plans are to cover 30 small and medium-sized enterprises, 200 employees from the discriminated 50+ group and 30 representatives of the management. At least 5 consultancy points will be opened and they are expected to provide advice to 600 employees. The monitoring system should cover 30 persons from the threatened 50+ group. As part of it, older, experienced employees, experts in relevant fields, will transfer expertise to younger, less experienced colleagues using modern communication technologies (chats, e-mail). 30 persons will be sent to internship, and ultimately at least 5 young graduates will be employed. Corporate support will focus on improving companies' competitiveness through introducing IT and communication technology and modern management methods, including HR management, which should increase or maintain jobs for employees aged 50 and older. In selected companies from shipbuilding industry, both large and small, 20 employees will be trained to act as innovation leaders. An innovation and education platform will be built on extended project's website. Besides on-going exchange of information, it will facilitate promoting modern recruitment methods, modelling business support solutions, and popularizing continuous education patterns. The project activities and its results will be broadly popularized to boost the awareness of new methods of preventing unemployment and facilitate their use also in other sectors of the economy. The Partnership planned many comprehensive promotion activities, such as domestic and international conferences and launching an informative web platform.