has a long tradition of measures to help people who are at risk of being
left behind on the labour market find employment, e.g. the Vilvoorde Flemish
Pact and the Walloon Marshall Plan. Four lines of action to create jobs
for target groups can be identified:
Training. It has been ascertained that not all previous commitments (such
as those in the Vilvoorde Flemish Pact and the Walloon Marshall Plan) have
been attained. To make up for this lag, training is identified as a central
theme in the sectoral negotiations in 2007-2008. Furthermore, the social
partners are urging officials responsible for education policy to deploy
all means and resources that enable young people to finish their studies
with qualifications in order to stem the tide of school leavers without
qualifications, with particular emphasis on multilingualism, the promotion
of scientific and technological fields of study, and efficient cooperation
between education and the business world.
will implement lifelong learning strategies. This includes improving the
quality and efficiency of education and training systems, in order to equip
all individuals with the skills required for a modern workforce in a knowledge-based
society, to facilitate their career development and to reduce skills mismatch
and bottlenecks in the labour market.
Innovation. Various studies have exposed obstacles to the Belgian innovation
system: its concentration in a few companies or groups of companies, the
cost of specialists, the lack of dissemination of knowledge between companies,
etc. The social partners share this analysis. The Central Economic Council
monitors the efforts of the sectors and the problems they encounter, and
measures are taken on the basis of this report. One weak point, however,
is that there is no mention of modernising the labour market.
Diversity and higher employment rates for ‘target groups’. The efforts
for greater diversity at the workplace are being continued. An agreement
on a common awareness raising campaign must be reached in the Interprofessional
Agreements (IPA) negotiations. Belgium must have an employment rate of
50 % for older workers (55 to 64) in 2010 (Lisbon summit).
Lifelong learning. This is one of the top priorities set by the European
employment guidelines. The Belgian authorities, too, acknowledge that lifelong
learning is a precondition for the effective employability of employees
and jobseekers and for horizontal and vertical mobility on the labour market.
The Flemish Government and social partners have made a commitment to increase
the number of people aged between 25 and 64 in continuous training from
7.1% in 2001 (EU average 8%) to at least 10% in 2010.