“Baltic Sea Labour Forum for Sustainable Working Life” (BSLF-SWL) is a 3,5 year project with a funding of 8 million SEK from the Swedish ESF Council. The project has also received additional funding for third-country participation from the Swedish Institute. BSLF-SWL started its preparation phase in January 2019 and entered implementation phase in June 2019. The overarching aim of the project is to improve working life conditions and lifelong learning provisions, systems and policies for an elderly labour force in order to promote active ageing and employability. The project addresses three issues, crucial for the socio-economic development of the countries in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR)- the demographic challenge, active ageing and lifelong learning.
The BSLF-SWL project relies on the core mechanism of Thematic Working Groups. Each group is a multi-skilled, cross-sectoral and transnational team of professionals in the field of active ageing, comprising experts and policymakers, public authorities and organisations, research institutions, private sector and social partners from countries in the Baltic Sea Region. The members of the working groups meet and work towards identifying good practices and synthesizing policy recommendations that can be implemented in their own and/or other organizations. They are supported by policy relevant research on forecasting and analyzing demography and economic/labour market issues, including a “future work” and “qualifications needed” perspective, technological developments and trends in the region. Socio-economic and socio-cultural differences between the Member States concerned are particularly taken into account. Currently, seven EU countries are represented in the thematic working groups and through additional funding received from the Swedish Institute, non-EU Member State – the Russian Federation – provide additional perspective to the project.
BSLF-SWL is anchored to the European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Policy Area Education and its Flagship Baltic Sea Labour Forum, the platform for tripartite dialogue among social partners.
There are two thematic working groups dealing with:
(1) Working conditions and age management;
(2) Job opportunities for an ageing labour force, including entrepreneurship;
Lifelong learning and skills upgrade is a cross-cutting theme for both groups.
The thematic working groups have the following tasks:
- Identify other projects and policies that already exist among the countries in the Baltic Sea region that claim to clarify challenges and offer solutions to improve those conditions that foster a sustainable working life for older persons.
- Assess the usefulness and relevance of these projects and policies in various contexts, including different countries, sectors and in relation to fulfilling the European Union’s Pillar of Social Rights and the ESF Horizontal Principles of gender equality, non-discrimination and accessibility.
- Identify shortcomings in current policies and practices and suggest collaborative projects and initiatives that address these issues.
- Through a process of co-creation, explore how these projects and initiatives can be further improved and made relevant in a broader context and develop new methods and cooperation initiatives.
- Formulate recommendations, based on the assessments made and developments proposed, to both policy makers and practitioners.
- Encourage decision makers in different Baltic Sea region countries, at various levels of decision making, and across different sectors, to take note of successful initiatives and sound policy recommendations and to let them influence the way in which they develop the way they work to improve the sustainability of working life for older persons.
BSLF-SWL also works towards the following outcomes:
- By developing and using the specific tools and mechanisms supporting the project – the Flagships, Knowledge/Learning platforms and the thematic working groups – BSLF- SWL contributes to awareness rising and skills development of the community of project/ESF actors and stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region in relation to the EU funds and the macro regional strategies.
- CBSS/Baltic Sea Labour Forum Coordination Group on Labour and Employment and BSLF members (social partners) provide the project with direct access to decision-policy makers of Baltic Sea Region. It will allow for immediate policy impact and contribute to a long-term holistic approach in strategic planning process in the future.
- The established thematic working group members form a network of professionals for future joint actions in the field of active ageing and an ageing labour force in the region, which will also ensure an effect of the project beyond its project duration.
Important guiding principles for the implementation of the project are:
ESF Horizontal principles:
- Preventing any kind of discrimination
- Ensuring gender equality
- Ensuring accessibility
European Pillar for Social Rights and its three main categories:
- Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
- Fair working conditions
- Social protection and inclusion
Project period: 2018-12-01 – 2022-06-30
Project implementation phase: 2019-06-01 – 2022-06-30
“Baltic Sea Labour Forum for Sustainable Working Life” (BSLF-SWL) project is financed by the Swedish Managing Authority for the European Social Fund, with support from Swedish Institute for third country participation.