At the request of AK – Austrian Chamber of Labour, ISQ organised a technical visit to Portugal, which aimed to gain an insight into the state of the art of economic development, partnership and social dialogue, including good practices in employment and training policies, partnerships with companies, social inclusion and support to low-skilled workers. The delegation was comprised of 18 experts from various organisations in Austria, from AK and the Austrian Group BRZZ – long-standing European partners of ISQ – journalists, UTG (General Workers’ Union), central and regional employment services and training centres. ISQ and these Austrian partners are part of European working groups promoting top technical and technological training for employment and the competitiveness of companies. The delegation met with Silva Peneda, Chairman of the Economic and Social Council and UGT (General Workers’ Union) Deputy Secretary-General, Paula Bernardo, with the regional sub-delegate of the Professional Job and Training Institute, Elsa Mano (with a visit to the training centre in Setúbal), Augusto de Sousa, Chairman of Rumo and with Barreiro Municipal Council. Questions of social well-being, salaries and subsidies, courses and training systems for employment, division of responsibilities regarding training between the State, companies and trainees or the unemployed, were discussed at length and assessed at the level of European indicators and benchmarks. The Chairman of AK, M Reiner Keckeis, said that it was a unique opportunity for the whole delegation to gain a better understanding of the problems that Portugal has been facing, focusing on citizens and companies, and how Portuguese companies and institutions have been responding to these issues. It was highlighted that partnerships need to be strengthened with private organisations and more agile companies that are more knowledgeable in the field (problems and solutions), as is the case in Austria, a country with the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and a very strong economic and social partnership model. The technical visit resulted in the strengthening of European partnerships in “peer learning” and innovation in training, dialogue and social partnership, in which AK, ISQ, IEFP and Rumo will certainly participate. The AK Vorarlberg – Austrian Chamber of Labour plays a key role in the Austrian model which involves social partners in jointly building solutions, which besides the State and trade associations and unions, include the Chamber of Labour (AK), trade and agriculture, insurance companies, professional associations, companies, etc.
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