LEED has a diverse 2009/2010 programme of work. Covering key areas of local development including skills, employment, social inclusion and entrepreneurship, many of the projects are still open to participation by interested countries and local authorities.
Browse the summaries below and contact the project managers for more information or to sign up to participate.
Climate change, employment and local development
Managing the transition to a greener economy is essential for economic growth. At the 2009 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, acknowledging that green and growth go hand-in-hand Ministers asked the OECD to develop a green growth strategy. Through joint analysis of economic and environmental policies, and by addressing other key issues related to the transition to a greener economy, the OECD can help to make a cleaner low-carbon economy compatible with growth.
LEED is contributing to the OECD’s Green Growth Strategy through its project on Climate Change, Employment and Local Development which aims to help national and local authorities put in place good quality greener jobs by developing lower-carbon activities. The project provides guidance on policy interventions and actions to develop quality employment in the greener economy, to meet the needs for new skills, and to manage the transition of local labour markets to a low-carbon economy.
LEED is inviting countries and sub-national institutions to participate in its project on climate change, employment and local development. Australia, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom are already participating in the project. A group of international experts led by the OECD Secretariat is reviewing these countries and preparing country reports. A synthesis report will be prepared in 2011.
This project supports local development organisations in strengthening their information systems. It provides guidance on data collection, analysis and use in policy making, customised to conditions in each participating area. It helps policy makers to build evidence on: what makes your local economy work? What drives it forward, what holds it back? Where and how policy should intervene? Is policy bringing results?
The 2010 phase of the project built on the results achieved in 2006-2009 and was organised in the following two work streams: (i) mentoring of partner localities in building robust local information systems; (ii) developing a set of common indicators on critical local development issues: improving skills and human capital; reducing poverty and social exclusion; fostering entrepreneurship culture, start-ups and self-employment; supporting innovation.
The project supports the exchange of information and experiences among participating localities and wider local development community on improving information systems.
Improving social inclusion at the local level through the social economy
LEED is inviting countries and sub-national institutions to participate in its project on improving social inclusion at the local level through the social economy. The aim of the project is to provide guidance to national, regional and local actors on how to improve social inclusion capacity, in particular, by leveraging the social economy.
Cross country studies are being undertaken to assess the current strategies of social inclusion in selected localities and in selected policy areas. The studies will also explore the contribution of social economy organisations in fostering social inclusion. The outcome of each study is an assessment of the contribution of social economy organisations to social inclusion. These organisations’ roles will be included as part of an assessment of social inclusion strategies, alongside policy recommendations aimed at increasing the overall effectiveness of social inclusion strategies. The project is being, implemented in countries including France, Korea, Poland and Slovenia. A transnational report will be prepared to disseminate the key issues, recommendations and international learning models of the participating countries.
This study is proposed within the framework of the OECD’s Green Growth Strategy. Achieving greener growth will involve seizing opportunities to develop new green industries, jobs and technologies, as well as managing the transition for greening the more traditional sectors and the associated employment and distributional effects. It will require adopting new technologies, developing new products and supporting new patterns of demand from households, companies as well as governments.
The project aims to define key indicators of area-based transition to a low-carbon economy. The objective is to define measurable indicators at regional/local level that can inform over time of transition to low-carbon economic and industrial activities addressing the two aspects of the green growth economy: fostering job creation and economic development in new areas of growth and sustainable development.
The project will conduct analysis of selected areas through workshops where international and local experts will exchange methodologies and knowledge on measuring transition to low carbon activities and how local institutions can optimize the opportunities arising for economic development. Workshops will include field work and technical visits with particular attention to the indicators proposed by the area hosting the workshop.
Leveraging training and skills development in SMEs
SMEs are an important component of OECD economies, and the project will identify training and skills development needs that support policies to promote growth, job creation and SMEs’ innovation. As well as making the links between skills and labour market outcomes, work organisation, education and training systems for SMEs clearer, the project looks at how SMEs participate in training and skills development activities, particularly Vocational Education and Training (VET). It also investigates the relatively low SME participation rates in these, despite the proven importance for training to improve firms’ innovation potential through the development of their human capital. The project also looks at 'interaction skills' and ‘knowledge intensive service activities’ (KISA) which research has highlighted as some of the key skills in demand for future jobs.
The project examines the role of 'skills and training ecosystems' and investigates the relevance of green skills for SMEs, thus making an important contribution to the OECD Green Growth Strategy by exploring the transformation and greening of SMEs towards a low-carbon economy.
The project methodology comprises the collection of primary data through an online survey of SMEs, in-depth interviews, and focus-group discussions through workshops with industry, training organisations, universities and colleges and government organisations.
LEED is inviting countries and sub-national institutions to participate in its project on leveraging training and skills development in SMEs. Belgium, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey and the United Kingdom are already participating in the project with the support of the European Commission. Skills and training ecosystems in these countries will be analysed through workshops led by the OECD Secretariat in collaboration with country experts in 2010-2011 and country reports will be prepared for each of them. A synthesis report will then be compiled by late 2011.
Demographic change is affecting all OECD member countries and developing economies. Fertility rates are lowering, ageing population is increasing, youth unemployment is increasing and the complexity of urban-rural shrinkage is posing numerous challenges to job creation and sustainable development agendas. Strategic solutions cannot be based on addressing one of these factors alone but taking into account the interplay of these elements within a particular local area of development (urban or rural).
This project aims to provide strategic guidelines for governments and organizations involved in the implementation of employment and skills development programmes at the local level on how better confront demographic changes. The project will seek to outline future local development scenarios to facilitate adoption of appropriate guidelines.
The project will explore the following areas: (i) sustainable local development models and shrinkage scenarios; (ii) employment and skills development in new areas of growth (low-carbon and silver); (iii) services to the elderly and social inclusion; (iv) developing the silver economy and entrepreneurs (including social entrepreneurs, care jobs and migration implications); and (v) fertility rate policies and implications for labour markets.
Managing accountability and flexibility
This project identifies ways to inject flexibility into the management of active labour market programmes while ensuring full accountability in relation to meeting national policy goals. A variety of LEED studies have determined that more flexibility in the management of programmes is required for labour market policy to contribute fully to local strategies for economic growth and social inclusion. The way in which policies are managed varies greatly between OECD countries; some public administrations emphasise legal and fiscal accountability, while others are moving towards a ‘new public management’ approach giving greater weighting to decentralization and managerial discretion.
Governments can often be wary of awarding greater flexibility to local agencies for fear of reducing accountability and prompting a deterioration of service provision, and need encouragement in experimenting with promoting new forms of horizontal accountability locally.
“Managing flexibility and accountability” is examining the management of labour market policy in Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands, with Belgium expected to join shortly. The research is being carried out through interviews, e-questionnaires and OECD study visits.
Reviews on entrepreneurship, SMEs and local development
LEED is inviting countries and sub-national institutions to participate in its reviews on entrepreneurship, SMEs and local development. These OECD reviews provide a global assessment of policy issues affecting SME and entrepreneurship performance in each reviewed region. They include an assessment of how policy can strengthen local infrastructure for knowledge transfer to new and small firms; how firms, individuals, institutions and policies can adapt to change; how regulations, cultures and incentives can adapt to the needs of entrepreneurship and SME innovation; how the learning capabilities of firms can be enhanced; and how local and external networks can be strengthened.
For each participating region, the review identifies the barriers to new and small firm growth and survival; the strengths and weaknesses of existing policies as responses to the challenges, and brings into lay international learning model programmes which illustrate how regions in other countries are addressing similar challenges.
The methodology for each case study includes diagnostic work to identify key facts on the local economy, including an analysis of entrepreneurship performance and description of economic development policies; an online survey of local firms, focusing on their performance, skills levels, and attitudes towards business innovation; a one-week study visit by an international review panel to discuss policy challenges and options with the key local economic stakeholders; preparation of an assessment and recommendations report; and a seminar to discuss and disseminate findings and start a locally-owned process of building an entrepreneurship and SME action plan.
Skills for competitiveness
OECD research shows that to be successful in today’s knowledge economy, communities need to invest not only in the supply of skills but also in the demand for skills. By investing in skills demand, communities and businesses can become more competitive and can offer more qualified and better paid jobs, thereby improving their local economic profile and stimulating innovation.
The skills for competitiveness project aims to further examine the advantages of such demand-side policy interventions. Canada, Italy and the United Kingdom are some of the LEED member countries whose current policies and practices are being evaluated, using good practices from across the world through an international literature reviews.
The project will build on the lessons learned from LEED’s recently published “Designing Local Skills Strategies” project, which showed that balanced skills strategies are important to raising local productivity and increasing socio-economic inclusion at the local level. The research identified that certain regions, particularly rural ones, are vulnerable to falling into a vicious cycle known as a ‘low-skilled equilibrium’ where a lack of skilled people is matched by a low demand for skills by local employers who fail to produce quality jobs because they operate at a low level of productivity. In such areas many qualified young people leave to find better quality employment elsewhere. Those that are left behind suffer from low incomes and limited career progression, while the lack of productivity limits economic growth at the local level.
LEED is inviting countries and sub-national institutions to participate in its project on skills for competitiveness. Canada, Italy and the United Kingdom are currently participating in the project with support from the European Commission. Skills and training ecosystems in these countries will be analysed through workshops led by the OECD Secretariat in collaboration with country experts in 2010-2011 and country reports will be prepared for each of them. A synthesis report will then be compiled by late 2011.
Skills for entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth and job creation. It provides many people with career opportunities that better fit their preferences than waged employment. In addition, self-employment or business start-up is a response by significant numbers of people to job losses in the current global economic crisis.
Many different inputs are required for successful entrepreneurship. One of the most important is entrepreneurship skills. Motivated people need the right skills to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and to turn their entrepreneurial projects into successful ventures.
Within the framework of the Reviews on entrepreneurship, SMEs and local development, LEED focuses its analysis on the skills needed for entrepreneurship and how they are delivered by public policy through universities, vocational training organisations and other institutions. This project combines local case study work and international assessments and comparisons.
The methodology includes diagnostic work, via a questionnaire on the provision of entrepreneurship training; a study visit by an international review panel; a workshop to discuss first findings and policy recommendations; and the delivery of a final report with a detailed action plan.