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 Model System of Companies Staff Adaptation to Structural Changes in Economy
Project number F0576

Project description

Knowledge management - acquiring, distribution and use of knowledge - is the key element of the functioning and development of enterprises. Education and training aspects are closely related to this process. The studies have revealed a mismatch between the level of education and vocational skills of employees and employers' needs, which is a serious problem for Polish enterprises. Employees fail to understand the need to acquire new skills and competencies through continuous learning. During restructuring processes, which are usually limited to downsizing of employment, experienced employees of over 45 years of age, who find it very difficult to compete on the open labour market, are laid off in first place. The most frequent reason for dismissal is the lack of ability to use modern information and communication technologies. Dismissals of elder employees have negative impact on the enterprises: large part of the corporate knowledge is lost forever together with a senior employee. The market also lacks EU-wide unified assessment system of qualifications acquired informally. There is a lack of cost-effective tools for managing employees' competencies and referring them to appropriate training courses. External training courses are rarely delivered in a well structured and planned way. For smaller companies, high costs of courses which provide rather general knowledge, useless in everyday practice, is an obstacle.

Considering the above factors, the main objective of the Partnership is to develop the Model Enterprises' and Employees' Support System to help creating knowledge management systems based on existing and required resources of the enterprise. The pilot programme will cover companies from the light industry which was selected because the studies show that only 8% of employees from this sector participate in training courses. The project beneficiaries are companies, its employees and related business organisations. Direct activities cover a group of 500 employees and managers from 25 small and medium enterprises of the light industry.

The Model Enterprises' and Employees' Support System, a comprehensive tool enabling optimal knowledge management, will become the main outcome of the Partnership and will fill the gap in the Polish system of vocational education and development. The system will support Polish enterprises during the adjustment to structural changes in the economy. It will include procedures and tools for developing individual development paths for employees. Strategic implementation of education processes in enterprises significantly influences the quality of management, increase of competitiveness and has an impact on the employees. A better use of knowledge in the company will help to improve business flexibility and ensure better understanding of internal processes, thus leading to better forecasting of economic changes. The model solution will include training needs analysis system enabling development of training concepts and delegating employees to a course which closely meets his/her requirements. Effective assessment system of qualifications obtained in informal and incidental ways will be part of the solution as well. Proper assessment of employees' qualifications enables the best use of their potential and facilitates flexible changes of employment. The Model Support System will also include a solution facilitating effective use of senior employees to transfer their knowledge through informal and incidental training. Experienced employees, adequately trained, will transfer knowledge through coaching and internal training courses. The project helps to equalise opportunities on the labour market as introducing tools for programming career paths promotes professionalism in periodic assessment of employees, thus eliminating arbitrary criteria of awarding promotions and raises.

Dissemination of results is a very important part of the project. The Partnership's aim is to promote the model solution among a large number of companies and organisations, research institutions, education and social policy decision makers and international partnerships. Effective dissemination will help to introduce good practices to the labour market policy and vocational education.