The content of the training programme is based on a research analysis report prepared under the above project. The report “Current demographic changes and challenges to the SEECP countries” aims to take account of the demographic trends for the SEECP participants and to discuss problems which need to be addressed by specific measures.
The workforce with their characteristics and specifics has been made the object of training, which follows logically from the formulation of the theme. In the current demographic situation, the workforce undergoes a number of processes whose effect preconditions serious changes and associated challenges. The training programme discusses the problem areas for the workforce development in the context of demographic changes and their management.
The trends resulting from the processes discussed by the report are generally identical for the SEECP participants. They are also relevant to the situation of the workforce across Europe. The main trends are:
reduction of the workforce;
a need to train the workforce to meet the requirements of contemporary production processes.
Analysing a couple of indicators like birth rate, mortality and migration, the above report proves the workforce reduction trend. The conclusion the experts arrive at analysing specific data is based on a set of factors relevant for the individual historical, economic and cultural situation of each country, as well as for the general population development trends across Europe – the aggravating demographic crisis.
The second demographic trend – population ageing in general and workforce ageing in particular is clearly visible in the majority of SEECP participants. The details are supported with data in the report reflecting the national average population age in the SEECP countries, the average life expectancy at birth, the average life expectancy in good health, number of the population in retirement age, etc. The major emigration processes among young people are presented as a population ageing factor in the reviewed countries, which predetermines an accelerated ageing process. Population ageing seriously distorts the age groups below, of and above working age and this, according to the report, has “direct effect on the economic and the social sphere”. Prospectively, all countries of the region will have problems with the reproduction of the population of working age and this is one more argument for urgent measures to impact the demographic processes. The lower quality of the labour input is one more argument in support of an urgent response to the deteriorating age structure of the population of SEECP participants, in addition to the workforce reduction trend. The ageing population in a dynamic, high-tech labour market calls for continuous improvement of the qualification and potential of labour market participants.
The third trend – a need to train the workforce, is also placed in the above context. It is demonstrated in two ways – on one hand, high technologies make it possible for many activities to be aggregated, taken away from the people and performed by more accomplished machines or robots, thereby lowering the need of labour participation. On the other hand, there is a need of increasingly better qualified staff, of knowing and capable human resources.
The short duration of the programme permits an analysis of only the most important elements of the link between the management of demographic processes and workforce development – those which could be a source of international interest. These include labour market policies, labour migration and transnational mobility, as well as the workforce of the future. Other equally important issues related to the health system, education and cultural development, social security and social protection, are covered against the background of the above themes. As these are extensive systems which depend on the policies of the respective counties and are beyond the direct competence of the participants from the target group, they have not been included as separate modules.
The following modules of the training programme have been logically derived and formulated on the basis of the above outline and the emerging trends:
1. SEE workforce in the context of contemporary demographic changes and challenges
2. Relevant aspects of the policies for workforce development and promotion of sustainable employment in SEECP participants
3. Labour migration and transnational mobility of the workforce in SEECP participants
4. The workforce in SEECP participants and the new technologies and innovations
5. Practical traineeship
The training modules of the programme are targeted and interrelated in such a way that the aggregate knowledge gained should enhance the capacity of the people working on the demographic problems in the social sphere and the labour market to impact the above trends by formulating and implementing increasingly efficient policies.