EU-level competence development projects in agri-food-environment: the involvement of sectoral social partners

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Purpose - The European Commission and social partner organisations at EU level encourage the lifelong development of qualifications and competence. This is reflected in many policy reports and reviews. This paper seeks to show the involvement of social partner organisations at the level of EU-funded competence development projects. Design/methodology/approach - A survey and four case studies were conducted. The population of 60 Leonardo da Vinci projects for a specific sector (agri-food-environment) which were implemented during the years 2000-2003 was selected for the study. For the survey project, documentation was analyzed based on two variables: type of project (to what extent did it require involvement of sectoral social partner organisations); and (the percentage of) involvement (of sectoral social partners who were involved in the partnership). A Spearman correlation test was used to evaluate the relationship between type of project and involvement. For the case studies project documentation was analyzed, and in-depth semi-structured interviews were held with project managers. Findings - The Spearman correlation between the type of project and involvement of sectoral social partner organisations was -0.031 (p=0.812). So there was no relationship. The case studies showed that the involvement of sectoral organisations clearly contributes to realising results in the projects. Practical implications - In the composition of partnerships for competence development projects at EU level, the Commission and project managers should be aware of the importance of including specific sectoral social partners organisations in the partnership. Originality/value - No study has been conducted yet that empirically tested the relationship between types of projects and the involvement of sectoral social partners in project partnerships. Important discrepancies are shown, of which stakeholders in sector competence development projects should be aware
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-99
JournalJournal of European Industrial Training
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Agricultural and fishing industries
  • Competences
  • European Union information
  • Food industry
  • Project management


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