Experiment with Organisational Learning

In too many projects, capacity building and learning is absorbed by a given individual, representing an organisation or community – and, at some point, this learning is lost to the organisation when this person leaves it. The learning is not ‘sticky’ and does not permeate the organisation as a whole. This is inefficient and a loss of resources.

So JobTown attempted to address this common and fundamental problem in European projects.

The main learning actions were designed as a two-step process; first, a Transnational Workshop was held in one of the partner localities, attended by all the partners (or rather representatives thereof) and centred on a given theme the project was concerned with (approaches to building partnerships, labour market analysis, etc.). Secondly and subsequently, each partner organised an action to disseminate the learning acquired among peers in their organisations and relevant stakeholders in the community – Knowledge Transfer Workshops, or KTW.

To support each KTW a set of materials – a KTW Toolkit – based on the contents of the Workshop, was provided, and an accompanying video went over the main points of each Workshop and the Toolkit. For those interested in the process and contents, the five videos made are provided below:

The first – on Effective Approaches to Building Local Partnerships for Economic Development and Employment – was perhaps a bit long, but had lots of content, much of it drawn from the OECD’s LEED programme. The WOrkshop took place in AVilés, Spain, in June 2013.

The second Workshop – in Kaiserslautern Germany, in October 2013 – was concerned with Making Education and Training more Responsive to the Labour Market; in particular, it looked closely at how the German Dual System works in practice, with some inputs from the OECD and an employer’s point of view at the UK Port of Tilbury – a major local employer and training provider. The video was a bit shorter too.

 The third Workshop – held in Rennes, France, February 2014 – focused on the Analysis and Forecasting of Skills in Demand on the Labour Market. Essentially it was the flipside of the second; if you want to make education and training more responsive to the labour market, you need to understand the labour market you are dealing with.

The problem: Too often, what data is available to local authorities, job seekers and other relevant actors, is of a too aggregate dimension (e.g. averaged out national statistics) or correct but non-actionable (i.e. too generic, such as ‘20% growth in green jobs’ – exactly which jobs, which training? etc.).

Solutions: Accordingly, the emphasis was on tools useable by local authorities (i.e. cheap or free, and not too technically demanding) and which focus on their own local area’s job market (i.e. municipality and neighbouring areas).

The fourth Workshop – shared between Enfield and Thurrock, in the UK, June 2014 – looked at local approaches to supporting Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship, among young people. Live and learn, by this time the video had become much shorter and pithier.

The fifth and final KTW video support, corresponded to the Workshop on how local authorities can support Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Deal with Budget Cuts by Doing More with Less, held in Aveiro October 2014. By now things were well practiced and the Workshop went smoothly, the contents were State of the Art and the KTW toolkit and video were perhaps the most fit for purpose of the lot.

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