The Lombardy Region’s 2014 - 2020 Regional Operational Programme (ROP) under the European Social Fund (ESF) makes available nearly one billion euros (€970,474,516) to support social investment in individual capacity-building with a view to the region’s economic growth by focusing on the competitiveness of its human capital, on high levels of employment and on stronger social cohesion. The ESF ROP promotes an inclusive model of growth in keeping with the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy and the scope of the Lombardy regional government’s policies for education and training, employment, fostering social inclusion and fighting poverty.
Building the Programme: stages and participants
Setting its own sights on the Europe 2020 strategy targets, the ESF ROP is intended to help boost the impetus and effectiveness of the Region’s education, training, employment and social inclusion arrangements so as to tackle the tricky challenge of combining growth with a solidarity that concentrates on job creation and poverty reduction. The ROP strategy of targets, results and actions has been put together bearing in mind the policy guidelines for 2014-2020 at European and national level (viz, in addition to the Europe 2020 strategy, the Common Strategic Framework for Cohesion Policy, the European Commission services’ Position Paper for Italy, the Partnership Agreement for Italy 2014 and Italy’s own National Reform Programme) and the main regional needs as revealed by analysis and assessment of the situation and through continuous dialogue with employers’ and workers’ organizations, local government and public bodies and the key players within the region. This makes it possible to respond to the real requirements of Lombardy’s social and economic situation by correctly interpreting both its the opportunities and its weaknesses, and to find a strategy which concentrates on policies to combat the adverse effects of the economic crisis in terms of heightened risks of unemployment or short-time working and more widespread poverty and social exclusion.
The priority axes of the strategy are focused on four Thematic Objectives (TOs) targeted in the priority action areas of the ESF ROP:
TO 8 "Promoting high quality sustainable employment and supporting labour mobility"
TO 9 "Promoting social inclusion; combating poverty and all forms of discrimination"
TO 10 "Investing in education, vocational training, skills and lifelong learning"
TO 11 "Enhancing the institutional capacity of public authorities/parties concerned and efficiency in government"
The ROP is accordingly designed to build a highly competitive knowledge-based economy by creating skilled, financially stable jobs against a backdrop of strong social cohesion.
The main challenges
The strategy of the ESF ROP is to concentrate investment on four strategic objectives:
to promote employment and support labour mobility by means of policies to kick-start employment growth with an approach which covers all target groups, in synergy with interventions under the "Youth Guarantee" National Operational Programme
to promote social inclusion through interventions supporting active inclusion especially in the labour market, and enhancing access to high quality services, promoting a joined-up approach to policy on employment and industrial relations so as to respond to people’s needs in an active, coherent and properly targeted manner, paying special attention to the those who are disabled, disadvantaged or otherwise at risk of being marginalized
to invest in human capital through measures designed to cut school drop-out rates and improve the quality of education, vocational training, continuous retraining and further education, as a factor of strategic importance to Lombardy’s competitiveness, paying attention to young people
to bring about the conditions that will enhance the overall quality and efficiency of government and of those involved in the effective carrying out of public policy, and promote the efficient and effective management of EU resources
Structure of the 2014-2020 ESF ROP
The strategic articulation of the ESF ROP concentrates on five main mutually consistent and integrated priority axes. Each of these has its specific targets (STs), with the outcomes expected for each ST, and the actions to be co-financed by the Programme are related to these STs. The degree to which the specific targets are attained and the corresponding actions implemented is measured using a set of output and result indicators.
Priority axis I Employment
Priority axis II Social inclusion and the fight against poverty
Priority axis III Education and training
Priority axis IV Institutional and administrative capacity-building
Priority axis V Technical support