Madrid showcased its Neighbourhood Employment Plans and the challenges it faces addressing long-term unemployment during a study visit on 5-6 October.
The city of Madrid hosted 22 representatives from 15 EUROCITIES member cities on 5-6 October for a study visit on the city's Neighbourhood Employment Plans and the challenges of tackling long-term unemployment at local level. The visit was organised in the framework of the work done by our working group employment on promoting inclusive labour markets.
Since the recent economic crisis there has been an increase in the unemployment rate in Europe, especially among young people and the over 45s, with many from this group being unemployed for more than one year. Spain remains the country with the second highest rate of unemployment in Europe, and in Madrid nearly 50% of all unemployed people are experiencing long-term unemployment.
The purpose of the study visit was to present the city’s Neighbourhood Employment Plans: an innovative programme which aims to bring local institutions closer to the citizens, provide a personalised employment service and improve the territorial and social balance throughout the city. The programme was set up in 2009 by the Madrid Employment Agency in cooperation with the Madrid Federation of Regional Neighbourhood Associations (FRAVM) in order to tackle long-term unemployment in some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
This is done in part through a neighbourhood employment facilitator (dinamizador de empleo de barrio) who works in the community trying to build up trust between these communities and local authorities and encourages residents to engage with employment services. Since the beginning of the programme the facilitators have provided their services to 4,596 people.
During the first day of the study visit, Madrid gave an in-depth presentation on the measures it uses to address employment and in particular long-term unemployment in the city. Representatives from the cities of Barcelona, Berlin, Bristol, Ghent, Gijon, Izmir, Lisbon, Lyon, Malmo, Milan, Munich, Newcastle, Stockholm, Tbilisi and Timisoara were then given a tour of the Lavapiés neighbourhood where they met beneficiaries and facilitators at the neighbourhood association ‘La Corrala’. They also exchanged on their own experience of working on long-term unemployment in their city, their cooperation with public employment services and gave feedback on their impressions of the programme in Madrid through a critical peer review.
On the second day, following a structured session exchanging information on their respective approaches and measures to tackle long-term unemployment at local level facilitated by Ekaterina Travkina from OECD LEED, the participants summed up the lessons learned and confirmed their interest in promoting policy transfer across cities taking inspiration from the innovative features of the Madrid Neighbourhood Employment plans.
The representative of the European Commission’s DG Employment, Isabelle Maquet, stressed the importance of such an initiative both as a opportunity for mutual learning among cities as well as for drawing more general policy lessons on the role of local authorities in tackling long term unemployment.