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Enhancing quality jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships in the tourism sector across Europe
Deadline: 09 Jun 2016   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono EC - Growth

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Social Innovation
 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Education and Training
 Higher Education
 Youth Workers

1. CONTEXT

1.1. EUROPEAN TOURISM POLICY FRAMEWORK

The EU’s competence for tourism is largely based on Article 195 of the Treaty, which states that the EU shall complement the action of Member States, in particular by promoting competitiveness.

The 2010 Communication on "Europe, the world N° 1 Tourist destination- a new policy framework for Tourism in Europe"1 developed a new action framework for EU policy that aimed to make European tourism competitive, modern, sustainable and responsible with important links with the action framework established by the 'Europe 2020' economic strategy and EU Flagship Initiatives.

The above Communication sets, among other, to stimulate competitiveness in the European tourism sector. This is achieved throughout ‘Improving professional skills’ together with other action lines:

  •   Promoting diversification of the supply of tourist services

  •   Developing innovation (and ICT) in the tourism industry

  •   Encouraging an extension of the tourist season

  •   Consolidating the socioeconomic knowledge base for tourism

    Within this framework, a series of initiatives have already been undertaken by the Commission, including:

  •   The section dedicated to the hospitality sector in EURES2. EURES is the European jobseeker mobility network which provides information, guidance and support to jobseekers wishing to work in other Member States and to employers looking to recruit suitable candidates from other Member States. It also operates the EURES portal which provides information about job vacancies and mobility in Europe.

  •   The "Skills passport in Hospitality and Tourism" within EURES, enables users to record their work experience and request previous employers to endorse skills that have been gained on the job. Specific skills lists for three tourism subsectors – adventure, cultural and blue tourism were integrated into this passport.

  •   The Tourism Business Portal.3 provides information and tools to improve the management of companies in the tourism sector. With regard to workers’ training, specific consideration is given to methodological models in the training of human resources, multimedia formats in training programmes and training content for tourism professionals. On-line tutorials are available, including those related to “How to choose the right employee in the tourism industry” and “How to develop the best employee training through e-learning”.

  •   The Study to map the skills needs to improve the accessibility and safety of tourism services for disabled people and people with special needs4.

     

 

  •  
  •   In cooperation with industry and academia, the Commission is developing the European Skills/Competences, Occupations, and Qualifications (ESCO)5 especially dedicated to skills profiles needed in the tourism sector.

  •   The Study "Mapping and Performance check of the supply side of tourism education and training"6 has identified major skills gaps in tourism education and training and the need for specific skills to adapt to new technological developments, customers' expectations and new occupations (e.g. destination management, sustainable tourism, cultural tourism, adventure tourism, accessible tourism).

1.2. AGENDA FOR NEW SKILLS AND JOBS

Launched in 2010, the Agenda for New skills and Jobs is part of the EU's overall strategy – Europe 2020 – promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the next 10 years and beyond. The objective is to help the EU reach its employment target for 2020: 75% of the working-age population (20-64 years) in work.

The Agenda also contributes to achieve the EU's targets to get the early school-leaving rate below 10% and more young people in higher education or equivalent vocational education (at least 40%), as well as to have at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020.

The Agenda presents a set of concrete actions aiming at, among other things, improving flexibility and security in the labour market, equipping people with the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow and improving the conditions for job creation.

These actions include

  •   The reform of EURES to develop its matching and placement capacity

  •   Your First EURES Job, a "targeted mobility scheme" that aims to help young people up to 35 years old to find a job, traineeship or apprenticeship in another Member State and employers in a certain sector, occupation, country or group of countries to find the skills they need to fill vacancies7

  •   Drop'pin8 a platform that aims to help young people boost their employability and skills by connecting them with opportunities across Europe. Opportunities are offered by organisations, including corporates, SMEs and NGOs. Drop'pin includes apprenticeships, traineeships, training programmes, e-learning courses, language training, mentoring and coaching schemes, entrepreneurship support as well as various mobility and financial support services. Drop'pin also offers organisations a place where they can find other organisations interested in cooperating and forming partnerships to develop new programmes and opportunities for young people.

  •   The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA)9 a platform which brings together governments with other key stakeholders, like businesses, social partners, chambers, vocational education and training (VET) providers, regions, youth representatives or think tanks.

  •   The European Pact for Youth10 was launched on 17 November 2015. It is a joint engagement of business and EU leaders, and supporting organisations, to work towards a culture of partnership between business, education and youth. The aim is to boost the employability of inclusion of young people, through the creation of 10,000 business-education partnerships and at least 100,000 new quality apprenticeships, traineeships and entry-level jobs by end-2017.

    The common goal of all above actions is to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships in Europe. 

1.3. EUROPEAN EMPLOYMENT POLICY

EU cohesion policy aims to promote more balanced, more sustainable ‘territorial development’ and thus contribute to ‘reducing disparities between the various regions and the backwardness of the least-favoured regions’. This naturally has an employment and skills dimension, which is primarily supported by the European Social Fund (ESF), the EU’s main instrument for supporting Member States’ policies for employment, skills development, mobility of workers and inclusion in the labour market.

The ESF provides funding for projects that train people and help them find work (particularly young people and disadvantaged people). It also supports Member States' efforts to improve the quality of public administration and governance and to support their structural reforms by giving them the necessary administrative and institutional capacities.

The ESF Regulation does not specifically prioritise support for tourism education and training.11 However, most, if not all, Member States are using ESF to increase the volume, scope and quality of tourism education and training in some way.

1.4. EUROPEAN EDUCATION AND TRAINING POLICIES

EU education and training policy aims to raise Europe’s educational performance and thus, amongst other things, provide the skills needed in the labour market. EU action is not specifically focused on tourism education and training. But by supporting reforms of national (and regional) systems and by helping to address common challenges, it ultimately does influence the performance of tourism education and training “systems”.

To support the achievement of the objectives of Europe 2020 and of Member States’ policies, the EU provides funding through a range of funding programmes.

Of these, the most significant is Erasmus+ which aims to boost skills and employability, as well as modernising education, training, and youth work.

Within Erasmus+, the actions eligible for funding in the tourism sector can be divided in two broad categories12:

  •   Actions aiming at increasing learning opportunities and mobility of individuals, through the mobility projects for both higher education and vocational education and training learners and staff

  •   Actions aimed at enhancing the cooperation in the education sector at different levels mainly through joint Master’s degrees, strategic partnerships, knowledge alliances and sector skills alliances.

1.5. SPECIFIC POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR THIS CALL

The European Parliament has launched in 2015 a pilot project "Youth on the SPOT- Special partnership for Tourism". The Pilot project calls on "a Special Partnership on Tourism (SPOT) to be established between European-level decision making and representatives of the tourism sector to facilitate the uptake of high quality jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships positions in the tourism industry across the EU, with a particular focus on small and medium sized businesses".

The tourism industries employed just over 12 million persons in Europe in 201413 (around 9% of the total employment in the EU non-financial business economy). The sector provides employment both to the highly qualified, as well as to low-skilled workers. It offers job opportunities to both workers who enter the job

11 Regulation (EU) No 1304/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Social Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006
12 See Chapter 6 of the Study on "Mapping and Performance check of the supply side of tourism education and

training" http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/tourism/support-business/skills/index_en.htm 13 EUROSTAT: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-15-6315_en.htm

 

market for the first time and to people re-entering the job market. It is the largest employer of migrant workers, part-time workers, as well as female workers14, and young people15.

Contrary to other industrial sectors, tourism very much relies on the competences and skills of its human capital. High-quality client service, provided by adequately skilled staff, is the key precondition for surviving and growing in an increasingly fierce competition against new, emerging destinations. Yet, the industry, in particular SMEs, struggles to find and retain skilled employees.

The sector does not appear high on the list of the most popular graduate jobs, in particular due to negative perception of the job quality16, seasonality and limited career prospects. Furthermore, in addition to the traditional qualification profile, tourism professionals are expected to deliver innovative and customised services for a wide range of target groups, including seniors, or travellers with special needs.

Moreover, the explosion and rapid evolution of digitalisation in the tourism sector requires new, specific knowledge not only from employees, but also from tourism entrepreneurs. SMEs often lack the necessary e- management skills that would enable them to keep up with the developments of online market places and distribution channels, new forms of marketing and communication with customers.

Skills mismatch is among the fundamental problem hampering the competitiveness of the tourism industry. The competences acquired by tourism professionals at all levels of the skills spectrum during education and training often do not match the expected performance. Education providers have a limited understanding of the requirements of employers and expectations of travellers in terms of the service provided.

At the same time, youth unemployment in the European Union remains unacceptably high, while many tourism enterprises are missing out on the best talent.

The Commission – in compliance with the objectives of the Pilot project – has decided to present this call and to focus on the promotion of the image of careers in the Tourism sector, underlining their attractiveness particularly with regard to the transnational perspectives.

The Call should thus enable and encourage jobseekers and tourism businesses to use existing tools, platforms and sources of funding (e.g. EURES, Drop'pin, European Alliance for Apprenticeships, European Pact for Youth, Your first EURES job, Erasmus +) and promote the importance of acquiring relevant skills through apprenticeships and traineeships in other EU countries, taking advantage of low season periods.

Moreover, this call will support transnational cooperation and the creation of public-private partnerships (including public or private employment services at European or national level) with the aim to adapt tourism education provision to emerging needs of employers.

 

2. OBJECTIVES OF THE CALL

The overall objective of this call is to facilitate the uptake of high quality jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships positions in the tourism sector across the EU, with a particular focus on SMEs.

Specific objectives of the call are to:

  1. 1)  Promote through education providers the image of careers in the Tourism sector.

  2. 2)  Enable and encourage jobseekers and tourism businesses, particularly SMEs to use existing tools and funding opportunities in order to find and offer apprenticeships and jobs in other EU countries, (e. g. EURES, Your First Eures Job, Drop' Pin, European Alliances for Apprenticeships, Erasmus+).

  3. 3)  Promote such tools and funding opportunities, also through education providers.

  4. 4)  Promote the importance of acquiring quality and relevant skills, particularly through transnational experiences, and encourage mobility across the EU, taking advantage of low season periods.

  5. 5)  Facilitate exchanges of good practices, the development of networks and discussion platforms between education providers and the private sector to boost employability in the tourism sector

  6. 6)  Support transnational cooperation and public-private partnerships to adapt the existing education provision so that it better meets the emerging needs of employers and reflects new trends and developments in the tourism sector (e.g; digitalization, ageing of the population, new types of customers).

Financed actions

Applicants are required to propose a model with the aim to boost employability of young Europeans in the tourism sector. This model will focus on cross-border apprenticeships, traineeships and upgrading of skills. It should have a strong practical approach, such as analysis of experiences, participation of testimonials, guidance. Involvement of different operators in the tourism supply chain will be evaluated more favourably.

The model should include at least:

  •   Creation of a tool-box i) promoting tourism careers and their attractiveness and ii) presenting the tools and opportunities existing across EU for those who offer/look for a job in another Member State in the tourism sector (including traineeships, training programmes, entrepreneurship and managerial support as well as various mobility and financial support services);

  •   Six (6) awareness-raising and communication events to promote tourism careers and existing tools facilitating mobility across Europe. These events will take place in 6 different Member States representing at least 25% of the EU population, possibly throughout well-established job fairs or other European initiatives for the labour market;

  •   Specific training initiatives (preferably through the use of ICT tools e.g. e-learning packages; webinars) for entrepreneurs of the tourism sector on how to recruit talents;

  •   Specific training initiatives for jobseekers, preferably through the use of ICT tools, on how to highlight and better communicate skills with regard to positions in the tourism sector ( e.g. e-learning packages; webinars, skills assessment, how to write a cv, how to prepare an interview, how to use EU online tools like EURES, DROPP'IN, etc.).

  •   Elaboration and implementation of a Communication Plan to give visibility to the above activities

    The project developer will coordinate, if possible, with the European Commission (DG Internal market, Industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs), EU representations and already established networks (like European/national Travel & Tourism associations; Trade Unions, Europe Direct). As for the training

 

initiatives, these will be disseminated throughout different channels, including EU portals and social media accounts.

The project developer must, through the project actions and activities, encourage public/private partnerships and cooperation.

Target organizations

Public or private employment services at European or national level; Travel, Hospitality and Tourism industry associations; European, national, regional tourism associations; tourism education providers, authorities and agencies; trade unions; governmental and non-governmental organisations developing tourism policies; youth associations.

Final beneficiaries

Students, jobseekers, tourism businesses, particularly SMEs in the tourism sector.

Geographical coverage

The project must involve at least 6 EU Member States with geographically balanced coverage, covering at least 25% of the European population.

Languages

For promotional and training activities, deliverables shall be provided in the languages of the target countries, in addition to English.

Characteristics of the project

The project proposal must fulfil the following characteristics:

  •   Be technically and financially sustainable; the description of the proposal should also refer how the model could be further developed at the end of the project period both technically and financially.

  •   be replicable in the future, for other target countries.

  •   Create real measurable effects. The expected results of the model should be clearly outlined and it

    should be indicated how the results will be measured and what indicators will be used.

  •   Give visibility to the European Union's involvement in the project.

    Expected Results

  •   Better use of tools and opportunities existing across EU for those who offer/look for a job in another member State in the tourism sector.

  •   Supporting education providers in developing appropriate skills for the tourism sector.

  •   Contribution to the growth of employment in the tourism sector.

  •   Fostering a greater sense of European identity.

    Reporting to the Commission:

    2 interim technical implementation reports and financial statements, including a consolidated statement and a breakdown between each beneficiary, respectively after 1/3 and 2/3 of the project duration (e.g. for 18 months projects, after 6 months and 12 months following the start date of the action).

 

1 final technical implementation report. This report will include all deliverables, a final assessment of the project and recommendations for the future, and a financial statement including a consolidated statement and a breakdown between each beneficiary: within 2 months following the closing date of the action.

Reports must be submitted by the coordinator in English.

 

3. TIMETABLE

No applications will be accepted for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this call for proposals

The period of eligibility of costs will start at the earliest the first day of the month following the signature of the agreement by both parties. If a beneficiary can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed, the expenditure may be eligible as from a date before the agreement is signed. Under no circumstances can the eligibility period start before the date of submission of the grant application. 

 

4. EU FINANCING

Proposals with an EU co-financing beyond any of the above two maxima will not be eligible.

The Commission reserves the right to award a grant of less than the amount requested by the applicant. In such a case, applicants will be asked either to increase their co-financing, propose other co-financing means or to decrease the total costs without altering the substance of the proposal. Grants will not be awarded for more than the amount requested.

Publication of the call (on the Commission Internet site and/or in the Official Journal) does not guarantee the availability of funds for the above action.

4.1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF EU FUNDING

Non-cumulative award

Each action may give rise to the award of only one grant from the budget to any one beneficiary. In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget.

Applicants have to inform the Commission immediately of any multiple applications and multiple grants relating to the same action. The applicant shall inform about sources and amounts of EU funding received or applied for the same action or for part of the action. Applicants shall indicate if they receive EU funding for their functioning during the financial year in which the action takes place.

Non-retroactivity

No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed.

A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun, provided the applicant can demonstrate the need to start the action before the grant agreement is signed. In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

Co-financing

Grants shall involve co-financing, which implies that the resources necessary to carry out the action or the work programme shall not be provided entirely by EU contribution. EU financing may not cover 100% of the total costs of the action.

Co-financing of the action or of the work programme may take the form of:

  •   the beneficiary's own resources,

  •   income generated by the action or work programme,

  •   financial contributions from third parties.

    Non-profit rule

    EU grant may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the work programme of the beneficiary.

Maximum budget allocated for EU financing under this call: € 500,000 Indicative number of grants: 1.

Maximum EU financing rate of eligible costs: 75 %

Where a profit is made, the Commission is entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the EU contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred. For this purpose, profit shall be defined as a surplus of the receipts over the eligible costs incurred, when the request for payment of the balance is made.

Balanced budget

The estimated budget of the action or work programme is to be attached to the application form. It must have revenue and expenditure in balance.

The budget must be drawn up in euros. Applicants, who foresee that costs will not be incurred in euros, are invited to use the exchange rate published on the Info-euro website available at http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/inforeuro/inforeuro_en.cfm.

4.2. ELIGIBLE COSTS

In order be eligible for funding, costs should be actually incurred by the beneficiary and meet the following criteria:

  •   they are incurred during the duration of the action or work programme, as indicated in the grant agreement, with the exception of costs relating to the request for payment of the balance and the corresponding supporting documents (audit certificates);

  •   they are indicated in the estimated budget of the action or work programme;

  •   they are necessary for the implementation of the action or of the work programme, in accordance

    with the description of the action, attached to the grant agreement;

  •   they are identifiable and verifiable, in particular being recorded in the accounting records of the beneficiary and determined according to the applicable accounting standards of the country where the beneficiary is established and according to the usual cost accounting practices of the beneficiary;

  •   they comply with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation;

  •   they are reasonable, justified, and comply with the principle of sound financial management, in

    particular regarding economy and efficiency.

    The beneficiary's internal accounting and auditing procedures must permit direct reconciliation of the costs and revenue declared in respect of the action/project with the corresponding accounting statements and supporting documents.

    The costs made by affiliated entities can be eligible, provided that:

 

4.2.1.

the entities concerned are identified in the grant agreement;

the entities concerned abide by the rules applicable to the beneficiary under the grant agreement with regard to eligibility of costs and rights of checks and audits by the Commission, OLAF and the Court of Auditors.

Eligible direct costs

Please note that the exact scope of the eligibility of costs is defined by the grant agreement, which will be signed with the successful applicants.

Direct costs of the action are those specific costs which are directly linked to the implementation of the action and can therefore be attributed directly to it. They shall not include any eligible indirect costs.

The following categories of costs can be considered as eligible direct costs:

  •   the costs of personnel working under an employment contract with the beneficiary or an equivalent appointing act and assigned to the action, comprising actual salaries plus social security contributions and other statutory costs included in the remuneration, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual policy on remuneration. Those costs may also include additional remunerations, including payments on the basis of supplementary contracts regardless of the nature of those contracts, provided that they are paid in a consistent manner whenever the same kind of work or expertise is required, independently from the source of funding used.

  •   salary costs of the personnel of national administrations to the extent that they relate to the cost of activities which the relevant public authority would not carry out if the project concerned were not undertaken.

  •   costs of travel and related subsistence allowances, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual practices on travel;

  •   the depreciation costs of equipment or other assets (new or second-hand) as recorded in the accounting statements of the beneficiary, provided that the asset has been purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts and that it is written off in accordance with the international accounting standards and the usual accounting practices of the beneficiary

  •   costs of consumables and supplies, provided that they are purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts;

  •   costs arising directly from requirements imposed by the grant agreement (dissemination of information, specific evaluation of the action, audits, translations, reproduction), including the costs of requested financial guarantees, provided that the corresponding services are purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts;

  •   costs entailed by subcontracts, concluded for the externalisation of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action or workproramme as described in the proposal, provided that the conditions with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts are met;

  •   duties, taxes and charges paid by the beneficiary, provided that they are included in eligible direct costs, and unless specified otherwise in the Agreement.

  •   costs relating to a pre-financing guarantee lodged by the beneficiary of the grant, where that guarantee is a condition for the payment of a pre-financing;

4.2.2. Eligible indirect costs

A flat-rate amount of 7 % of the total eligible direct costs of the action is eligible under indirect costs, representing the beneficiary's general administrative costs which can be regarded as chargeable to the action/project.

Indirect costs may not include costs entered under another budget heading.

Indirect costs are not eligible for beneficiaries that receive an operating grant from the European Commission.

4.2.3. Non-eligiblecosts

In addition to any other costs which do not fulfill the conditions set out in Article II.19.1, the following costs shall not be considered eligible:

  •   return on capital;

  •   debt and debt service charges;

  •   provisions for losses or debts;

  •   interest owed;

  •   doubtful debts;

  •   exchange losses;

  •   costs of transfers from the Commission charged by the bank of a beneficiary;

  •   costs declared by the beneficiary in the framework of another action receiving a grant financed from the Union budget (including grants awarded by a Member State and financed from the Union budget and grants awarded by other bodies than the Commission for the purpose of implementing the Union budget);

  •   in particular, indirect costs shall not be eligible under a grant for an action awarded to a beneficiary which already receives an operating grant financed from the Union budget during the period in question;

  •   excessive or reckless expenditure;

  •   deductible VAT.

  •   participation by any staff of the institutions in actions receiving grants

  •   any other costs which have been specified as ineligible in the call for proposal

    In addition to the above, the Commission can refuse to finance certain costs included in the proposal. The beneficiary can decide to maintain and finance these costs out of his own resources, but they will not be taken into account as eligible costs.

4.3. CO-FINANCING AND JOINT AND SEVERAL RESPONSIBILITY

The beneficiary has to supply evidence of the co-financing provided. It can be provided either by way of own resources, or in the form of financial transfers from third parties,

In case of a joint application, all partners shall agree upon appropriate arrangements between themselves for the proper performance of the action.

In particular, they shall accept joint and several responsibility for repaying any debt up to the maximum amount of the grant, as stipulated in the Special Conditions of the draft grant agreement.

The final grant agreement shall be signed by each applicant. Alternatively it shall be signed by the appointed co-ordinator, provided that a power of attorney has been conferred to this entity (Annex IV of the draft grant agreement). 

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