Ethnic minority participation through education and employment
On Thursday 11th December 2014 The Antwerp Centre for Integration de8 vzw organised the Labour Plus closing conference in Antwerp, Belgium. In the beautiful setting of the Elzenveld hotel and conference venue, a whole day was dedicated to the projects’ results.
About 60 people participated, and representatives from organisations from 8 different countries came to Antwerp to discuss the projects outcomes. Peter Snoeren, alderman in the municipality of Nieuwegein (lead partner of Labour Plus) welcomed the participants. He highlighted the fact that, at the start of Labour Plus, the diversity of partners had been a challenge. But 3 years later, this diversity proved to be the exact strength and added value of the project.
Johanna Bähn, finance officer at Interreg IVC, gave an overview of the state of play and perspectives within interregional cooperation. After these two introductory speakers, different partners highlighted the many outcomes of the three-year project.
The partners from the Development Agency of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the County Council of Alt Empordà (Spain), The Antwerp centre for Integration de8 vzw (Belgium) and the Municipality of Nieuwegein (the Netherlands) presented their implementation of good practices. The exchange of good practices has provided all the partners with tools and methodologies to implement and adapt to their local level.
Other presentations consisted of the Policies and Recommendation Guidelines, of the Local Inclusion Tool (developed using Pearltrees), of the Local Implementation Plans developed by the partners. A total of 12 interesting speakers showed off the projects’ results.
Sandra Rainero of the Province of Padua was asked to close the conference and she focused on the necessity to deal with an increasingly more diverse Europe. Labour Plus will continue to matter as globalisation and migration is in our backyard. Local authorities are handling the complexity of this situation, and therefore competences will need to be developed on a local, national and European level - with all these policies interconnected.
Due to a train personnel strike in Belgium, quite a few registered participants could not make it to the venue. But thanks to the high-level presentations and the dynamic interaction between participants, it was undoubtedly an inspirational conference. As this was the closing conference, it was also the last time the projects partners were meeting up.
Some of them will continue working together on future projects as a strong bond has been formed and Labour Plus has created a great foundation for further cooperation. All of the partners developed local implementation plans to ensure the continuous impact of Labour Plus, and a sustainability strategy was implemented to guarantee that the results of the project will stay tangible for years to come .Labour Plus has been a highly successful project, and the closing conference confirmed the dynamic that was created throughout the whole duration.