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EU Invitational Symposium: PES Under Pressure brings together stakeholders from major PES and allied organisations

This last October, 62 representatives from EU countries including Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden attended a highly successful EU invitational Symposium held at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London. Susan Park, Work Services Director & Head of Operational Delivery Profession, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), UK delivered an opening address outlining progress made in developing an in-house MOOC for PES work coaches to inform and support their practice. Wolfgang Müller, Bundesagentur für Arbeit, PES Network, gave a European PES perspective on emerging themes within PES organisations such as ‘bench-learning’, meeting the needs of changing customer groups, use of labour market intelligence/information and EU employer engagement strategies – visit: This was followed by a global perspective from Margareta Olsson Dahlgren, Consultant, from the Worldwide Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) - visit: Margherta highlighted one of the challenges facing the PES is to provide effective long-term employment for people aged over 50, including transitions from one employment to another. She also gave examples of how representatives from PES in differing international settings are meeting for peer reviews, for example, Canada, Korea, Japan and Germany recently met in Bonn 13-14 October for the kick-off of a global peer review in the frame of WAPES. In a volatile labour market, Public Employment Services (PES) across Europe constantly need to adapt, become more resilient and innovative in their work. Dr Suzanne Kraatz who has longstanding experience of working within both the PES Network and European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN) shared some insights on practitioner competences and the support needed by PES managers and practitioners to develop skill sets, knowledge and competences that address the need for integration and activation of job seekers in fast changing labour markets

. Barbara Gogala from the Slovenian PES (ESS) talked about challenges and opportunities at grass roots level and the need to strengthen communities of practice. Dr Deirdre Hughes, OBE, facilitated lively presentations, demonstrations and made sure there were plenty of opportunities to discuss key findings from the initial phases of the EmployID project, particularly innovative practices being piloted by the three contrasting PES partner organisations:

  • Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) UK;
  • Zavod Republike Slovenije za zaposlovanje (ZRSZ), Slovenia; and
  • Croatian Public Employment Service (CES).

The 62 representatives from EU countries explored social and technological innovation, as well as the enhancement of Public Employment and Allied Services through ideas and action. Lively discussion and demonstration case studies of instruments and tools developed with, and for PES, included innovations such as: MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), e-coaching, reflection/ facilitation, communities of practice and the use of labour market intelligence/information. The plenary session highlighted how these innovation approaches can be applied in a wide range of differing contexts and settings. This work is an ongoing process of collective knowledge development and we look forward to working with you as part of the journey. For more details on this and how to register to become an Associate Partner - visit: