SOCIEUX+ in Colombia: Capacity building in labour market intermediation

The Colombian public employment service program is unique among institutional peers. Services for job seekers and employers are administered by a diverse range of providers from the public and private sectors, as well as nongovernmental organizations and other representatives. The portfolio of services engulfs basic matching of skills and seminars to improve individual curricula vitae (CVs) as well as more specialized support to entrepreneurial endeavours or vulnerable groups, such as the victims of the armed conflict and displacement in Colombia’s recent history

Additionally, the decentralized structure of the Colombian employment service requires complex coordination from the Bogotá headquarters and regional coordinating entities like the Area Metropolitana, which oversees employment services in the Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley, also known as the Valle de Aburrá. At the local level, the entities which deliver employment services, such as municipalities, are confronted with several capacity challenges due to their limited experience. These challenges include recruiting sufficient full-time staff, allocating budget lines, and mining reliable labour market information.

SOCIEUX+ has collaborated with a range of different partners in Colombia to build capacity in labour intermediation. This includes collaborations at the national level with the Employment Service and the National Institute for Social Economy (IPES), where SOCIEUX+ supported the improvement of workers’ services for the informal sector, at the regional level with the Area Metropolitana, and through activities focused on vulnerable job seekers among local actors in Antioquia province.

In two recent missions, four experts of SOCIEUX+ consulted with the coordination unit of the National Public Employment Service on changes to employer services that would make them more effective and efficient, and worked with coordinators from Area Metropolitana to diagram their internal structure and position in the service provider ecosystem.

These activities identified a need to strengthen the network of organizations conducting activities, outline a more pronounced management process, and further capitalize on the skills and human resource potential that exists in the public sector and among their partners.

SOCIEUX+ projects usually start with a detailed diagnostic on service delivery and organization, which is currently being finalized by the mission experts. The priorities to modernize and strengthen Public Employment Services delivery identified during the parallel missions by the Colombian partners will be supported by SOCIEUX+ through mutual learning on evidence-based best practices.

National Meeting in Cartagena de Indias

SOCIEUX+ also had the honour to be invited to the Annual Assembly of National Employment Service Providers, which took place in Cartagena de Indias from 23 to 25 August, 2018, hosted by Isabel de Ávila, director of the Colombian Public Employment Service.

At the assembly, SOCIEUX+ experts from the two missions spoke about the European benchlearning program and other methods for diagnosing employability measures alongside national high-level representatives and global leaders on employment service innovation such as Fons Leroy, Chair of the European Network of Public Employment Services.

SOCIEUX+ 2017-25 Colombia