This Journal concerns the implementation of the EU (Urban Innovative Actions - UIA) funded GSIP (Growth and Social Investments Pacts) Project during 2021. It summarizes the findings of a multi-level analysis of key Project deliverables (the Annual Project Report No. 3, the Milestones Review Report of June 2021, thematic Reports, Work Packages, research articles and briefs) and first-hand experience of the Project life, as evidenced particularly during various on line meetings between the UIA Expert, the Project Management Team and selected Project Partners.
The GSIP Project started in November 2018 and will continue till April 2022, subject to a 6 months extension agreed with the UIA Secretariat to allow additional time for implementation of the revised WP No. 6 (GSIP Intelligence) and conclusion of the impact survey (evaluation of the impact of the three GSIP models on companies through randomized assessment tools). In this context, the performance of the Project during 2022 will be subject of the next issue of the Journal (Project Journal No 4); more thematic focused aspects and cross-cutting dimensions shall be dealt with in other deliverables of the UIA Expert (Zoom-in and Web articles), published in the UIA Knowledge Lab (https://uia-initiative.eu/en/knowledge-lab).
The GSIP Project is focused on the topic “Jobs and skills in the local economy”, a key challenge for sustainable inclusive growth in Europe. It reflects the vision of the City of Vantaa to promote growth and competitiveness of local companies, and to improve level of education of workforce and offer better training possibilities for low-skilled employees, employees with outdated skills and unemployed persons through the design and implementation of a new, innovative and exceptional service and incentive model (Growth and Social Investments Pacts - GSIPs).
GSIPs are defined as a new instrument for municipalities to reach the maximum impact on public investments, subsidies and services (including training and vocational education) offered to local companies. GSIPs gather information and expertise about jobs and skills from different national, regional and local institutions and support interested local companies to take in a productive way advantage of them. To increase interest, companies’ employees are offered short free training programmes (partly in class), which deal with different topics on future employment demands (the content is based on previous surveys and interviews).
The GSIPs - as discussed in the Journal No.1 of the GSIP Project (https://www.uia-initiative.eu/en/news/gsip-expert-journal-1-get-know-project-and-what-happened-first-6-months) - are tailored for Vantaa based companies employing 10-200 people, particularly companies involved in wholesale and retail, manufacturing, logistics and services, which have workforce of outdated skills caused by rapid changes in technologies and future business. They focus on three interrelated policy priorities: Recruitment of unemployed persons with low skills and education – The GSIP 1 model; Training of existing staff – The GSIP 2 model; Use of digitalization processes in the business routine – The GSIP 3 model.
The GSIP Project Partnership includes the City of Vantaa (acting as the Main Urban Authority) and representatives of the following sectors:
- academia (the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and the Laurea University of Applied Sciences);
- research community (the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy “ETLA” and the Labour Institute for Economic Research PT);
- vocational training sector (the Vantaa Vocational College Varia);
- business networks (the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce);
- market (ISS Services Ltd, Infocare Ltd, Solteq Plc., Finnair Cargo Ltd and Vantti Ltd).
The Project is at the final implementation stage; key Work Packages have been completed in line with the agreed timetable and Partners are currently discussing opportunities to capitalize results and develop new local initiatives to address challenges linked to lack of skills and unemployment risks in the Vantaa economy.
This Journal has three thematic Chapters across a number of sections. The first Chapter provides a brief presentation of the Project implementation progress during 2021, highlighting the major achievements and accomplishments. The second Chapter discusses the development of the Project through the lens of the seven implementation challenges and identifies lessons of interest to local leaders and urban practitioners. The last Chapter summarizes key learning points and presents the next steps during 2022.