Interprofessional Funds, an opportunity to develop human resources

Training is certainly one of the main levers for the revival of our economy and for sustaining the work market: on the wave of this conviction, during these years of crisis, in agreement with social partners a series of tools have been put in place that are directed at the support, the income and the implementation of active work market policies. Among these there are the Interprofessional Funds, which were created to finance ongoing training programmes agreed among the social partners the beneficiaries are the employees of the companies enrolled in these Funds. These are resources intended for the companies, for a very specific purpose and of an entity which is often lower than training needs, even though training (particularly ongoing training) represents the one investment that every company should make, all the more so during periods of great change. In this sense we mustn’t forget that, through Interprofessional Funds, this investment can be free: the company, in fact, by allocating its Social Security contribution of 0.30 to the Funds, has access to resources for training its employees and directors, within a highly detailed offer. 10 years have now passed since the creation of the Interprofessional Funds and the report that can be made is certainly positive: the companies that have chosen to join represent almost 70% of all the companies in the private sector and almost 600 million Euros arrive in the Funds which are used for financing ongoing training programmes for employees and directors. At this moment, where it seems possible to see a little light at the end of the crisis tunnel, training represents an effective driving force for recovery. Choosing the Funds means benefitting from definite advantages: speed in the evaluation of proposals, no extra contributions – considering that the requested co-financing is easily covered by the cost of the work – accounting procedures that are simpler than those of the European Social Fund. Developing human resources means making companies more competitive and workers more qualified. Moreover, in some countries of the European Union such as Germany and France, some important choices have been made: in order to tackle the difficult situation, investment in training has almost doubled. The results, in terms of growth, are paying off these choices. Italy is still a long way from the numbers of our European partners: while our country allocates 0.30 of the total salaries to finance training for workers, Spain gives 0.75 and France a hefty 1.60. Education and training deserve, vice versa, greater attention and more interest from politics. Deciding to transfer resources for ongoing training in favour of the social security cushion in derogation, as the Government decided last year, on the one hand can help to initially face an emergency situation but on the other, however, can mean delaying the investment in human resources that our country so desperately needs. Walter Lindo

written by: Walter Lindo , 14 April 2014

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