An important element of the Cornwall Works 50+ and Cornwall Works 50+ Cares programmes is transnational working
An important element of the Cornwall Works 50+ and Cornwall Works 50+ Cares programmes is transnational working.
We work closely with partners in France, Sweden and Poland who experience similar challenges of demographic change and rurality. Together we are learning how to help people though providing the best possible economic and social opportunities, and exploring ways of looking after an increasingly elderly population.
We add value to our programmes by learning from good practice in Europe and linking this closely to our local innovation pilot activities. We also present Cornwall Works 50+ and Cornwall Works 50+ Cares to our European partners to promote and mainstream the Cornwall Works way of working. We have a full Transnational Work Programme for 2011 which you can view by clicking here. If you are interested in taking part then please contact Bev Wilson for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org To date we have developed specific areas of work with our transnational partners as follows:
Dave blogs about the Cornwall Works visit to France to see how they build confidence, inclusion and jobs - check out his findings here....
Finistere Transnational Partnership
Cornwall Council and Conseil General Finistere have joint working protocols, and the document below gives a comparison between Cornwall and Finistere. Click on the booklet to open in scrolling-book form, and turn the pages to read.
The management of age diversity in Poland’s workforce.
You may have read in these pages before that the Cornish beneficiaries of ESF funding regularly try to share their learnings with others across the continent – in particular Cornwall has shared notes with similar programmes in Brittany, Sweden and Poland and it was to Poland that a small delegation of three travelled last week to present an update on Cornwall Works 50+ and to see what is happening in promoting age diversity in the workplace over there.
Fascinating stuff and as ever the similarities are much greater than the differences; like us, Poland enjoys the community of Europe but lives without its common currency – they still use the “zlote”…around 4 to the pound.
Though we increasingly come into contact with the Polish themselves most of us know little of the land – 38 million people living in the shadow of the old Soviet block to the east and Germany to the west, to the north the Baltic Sea.
Poland has existed for over a thousand years but being at the crossroads of greater Europe it has seen hugely troubled times with its neighbours, none more so than in a murderous 20th century when for nearly half that time it was behind the iron curtain with the likes of the then Czechoslovakia and Rumania and East Germany as neighbours. Since the 90s Poland has been a frontrunner amongst countries shaking off the Soviet yoke and striving to establish itself as a major economic player in its own right. It is clearly succeeding and seems a go - ahead vibrant economy with a mix of public and private industry which we felt very familiar with.
Like I said the similarities are much greater than the differences – yes the language is tricky as we watched the railway stations flick past as we moved from Warsaw to Torun – Golabki, Tereizen – Niapolokalanov and Sochacezew…but how would they see Tiverton Parkway and Castle Cary from a train window!? The tickets were cheap enough, the trains just like ours if a bit slower. Our first taxi driver around a hundred in an Opel Astra of about the same vintage though the one behind him was a Mercedes. The service by and large charming and attentive. The vodka first class I’m told. And over there a Shell filling station and a Tesco. Petrol about the same price as ours.
A typical Euro-neighbour for the 21st century. What did we expect?
And at the conference we attended and were a leading contributor to we learnt of an ageing work population, an increase in retirement age to, you’ve guessed it, 68 and youngsters struggling to get meaningful employment at the other end of the age spectrum. To discuss all this we were joined by representatives of the ESF, the diversity development team at York College who have strong links with Poland, the vice president of an employer organization, a labour market researcher and so on. Even the trainer from the Supergrandmother Project specialising in teaching exactly that to 40+ women joined us.
This sharing of knowledge – and they reacted extremely well to our tales of Surf Action, Retail Arithmetic and Menopause Self-Care – all led to a debate facilitated by an excellent translator entitled “Age management in companies – Fashion or necessity”. Naturally given the audience we plumped for necessity or at least desirable…hopefully in the shorter than longer term. Like all social trends this emphasis on age has started small and will grow; so maybe right now it perhaps could be seen as something of a sideshow but like all equality shifts in society it will grow; and it will certainly grow as the challenge of a growing cohort of the aged in work - or trying to stay there - grows daily. In the UK right now 20 million of us are over 50 and this will rise to 27 million by 2030 – that’s 37%. And many of them want to work longer, will simply have to work longer. It is precisely the same in Poland.
We talked of the movements for racial equality and gender equality in the wider world and the way that they always start slow burn small and then reach some tipping point as they rush to pretty much universal acceptance; think back on any such social shifts in the last century. We also touched on the way the green movement has kicked in across the developed world; in some cases adopted altruistically - the “right thing to do” - but also adopted by many companies once they see that adopting greener ways with waste and energy can save them, or better still make them, more money. Can employing older people also be commercially lucrative?
Well there is a growing body of research that would suggest that looking after the established older employee as well as the new younger one can indeed pay dividends. They know the ropes. They are already employed so come with no additional recruitment costs. They often understand customers better – and older customers like to be served by someone of similar age. They can mentor younger employees. And and and. Having such an enlightened attitude to older workers can also send out 2 key messages to the consumer or potential investors – that this company is rising to the challenge of an ageing population that faces us all and quite simply that discrimination – of any sort – is bad for business. So the whole room concurred that this was no fashion but indeed that a move to a more diverse workforce was a desirable shift in the way we employ people now and in the future – even in a young economy like Poland’s with no real tradition of age management.
The following day we took that thinking to a company employing 4,000 people across Poland and met their (young!) HR team and though they are a vibrant and youthful growing company in the pharmaceutical and logistics business they were already thinking along similar lines and being encouraged with ESF funding to explore age diversity within their workforce even as they grew fast and needed to recruit many young people too. We had a splendidly honest and open discussion about their policies and work practices. Some divisions were indeed “young” and would probably grow by employing roughly the same kind of age groups. But other companies and divisions within the group were already seeing the benefits of hanging on to, if not outright employing, 50 plussers.
And we discussed the reverse benefits too – intergenerational mentoring they call it – quite simply younger mentors teaching older workers new tricks. Think your teenage children teaching you about computers! It can work splendidly in a mixed age workforce.
Here was an enlightened team unwilling to simply say “Oh lets go employ a token cohort of those aged 50+ then” but a team who could see and were exploring the benefits where they made sense in a fast growing company that needed workers from a variety of age groups. It would be interesting to return in a couple of years to see what transpires. I would predict that they will continue to employ young…but old too…that a subtle shift in the balance of the workforce will emerge as the company continues on its merry way to impressive growth but grows also in its understanding of what those aged 50+ can bring to their impressive journey so far,
What’s missing? I would suggest clarity and precision in real research into the benefits of a diverse workforce; too much of it at the moment is smallscale, geographically limited or actually rather vague. The kind of stuff that company managers can nod along to but don’t really sit up and say “hey my business could work better if we took heed of this”. There is too much “this is a good thing” talk going on and not enough hard data to say to companies that ignoring this older age group is just plain daft. Perhaps as managers naturally grow older that smart thinking will grow with them.
They’ll get around to it “dreckly” – the Polish for which is “strefy” incidentally!
Celebrity Ruby Wax headlines Cornwall's mental well being and work conference. Thanks to Cornwall Works 50+ working with International, National and Local partners.
Cornwall Works 50+, ESF Convergence.
“At some point in our lives 1 in 4 of us will be affected by mental illness. Bring 3 friends.....” Ruby Wax
A fascinating, humourous and motivational talk from comedienne and mental health supporter Ruby Wax kicked off the Cornwall Works’ 50+ Transnational conference on mental health, well being and work at St Mellion International Resort in Cornwall on the 6th February.
This exciting international conference, attended by around 200 key organisations from Cornwall and as far afield as Poland, France and Sweden focused on the links between work, well-being and mental health. Organised by Cornwall Works and supported by Pentreath Ltd, the conference brought together successful schemes from overseas as well as local projects such as Surf Action and Active Plus.
Ruby’s hilarious opening to the conference also captured a serious side and outlined the importance of being able to talk openly about depression and mental well being issues. Some of Ruby’s anecdotes were a stark reminder of how these issues remain misunderstood. Whilst suffering with severe depression, Ruby was advised by well meaning friends to ‘perk up’. “Why didn’t I think of that?” quipped Ruby.
There was hushed silence in the room as combat veterans Mike and John described how local projects Active Plus and Surf Action had made a dramatic difference in helping them to live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “Surf Action has given me back my ten years of service, it’s good to have that group around me again”, said Mike after telling the listeners that PTSD had left him with a “hole in his sole..”.
Tim Cocks explained how, through the Active Plus project, combat veterans who are suffering from PTSD are training people aged over 50 to enhance their employment opportunities.
John, who is ex special forces and suffering from PTSD, is now working with the Active Plus project training the over 50’s in employment and life skills - he described how “..the scheme has built back my confidence whilst also helping others to do the same”.
Pentreath Ltd, the mental health charity based in Cornwall, outlined their projects and Chief Executive Louise Knox introduced Kevin and Jenny, who have both been supported by Pentreath. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Kevin described his challenging journey over many years through depression and unemployment to securing a role as a Vocational Advisor for Pentreath and the proud father of a new baby.
Jenny, bravely told her emotional story about how, with Pentreath, she had conquered her agoraphobia and described how training with them had fired her enthusiasm and made her dream of working in the voluntary sector a reality. She also commented that “When at Pentreath the depression seems to vanish like magic.”
Paul Reeve, Project Manager at Pentreath commented “The 1 in 4 event was a positive platform for Pentreath to showcase some of the amazing client journeys we have been lucky enough to be part of. The opportunities to make new contacts and meet old partners can only be good for people with poor mental health in their journey to work”.
Learning from our international colleagues
A key element of the conference was to communicate lessons from projects in Europe. Project Manager Kerstin Sjösvärd from Sweden presented to delegates the successes of their ArbetSam project aimed at developing learning in the workplace particularly language learning with migrant workers, building self esteem and increasing productivity.
When Fabien Riera and Dominque Andre from French project ‘Ca Dépote’ came on they began the session with a relaxation technique resulting in half of the room nearly nodding off! Of course the exercise successfully helped to illustrate one of their aims - to work on the quality of one’s presence to the world and oneself.
They went on to describe how their project worked with isolated people and used interaction with nature and the environment to build people’s self esteem, confidence and sense of well being.
Andrea Gilbert, Cornwall Works 50+ Lead said:
"Overall the conference provided laughs and tears, lessons and many things to think about. Participants were provided with information and inspirational stories which they can incorporate both into their lives and into their work in social care, mental health and employability".
This conference was funded through the European Social Fund Convergence Innovation, Transnational and Mainstreaming Fund.
Carleen Kelemen - Director of the Convergence Partnership Office
Ruby Wax - Comedienne and Mental Health Supporter
Chris Ball - Chief Executive, TAEN - the Age and Employment Network
Dave Meneer - Roving Reporter - Cornwall Works 50+
Rich Emerson and Russ Pierre - Surf Action with project participants
Tim Cocks - Active Plus with project participants
Louise Knox - Chief Executive, Pentreath with project participants
Kerstin Sjösvärd - Project Manager, ArbetSam, Sweden
Fabien Riera and Dominique Andre, Ca Depote, France
The Age and Employment Network http://www.taen.org.uk/
Surf Action http://www.surfaction.co.uk/
Black Dog Tribe - Ruby Wax on-line social network for people with depression www.blackdogtribe.com
Our speakers talk frankly and honestly in our podcasts below:
Ruby Wax on mental health awareness
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office
Chris Ball, Chief Executive, Age and Unemployment Network
Brussels – Sprouting ideas for work, health and well being, tis the season !
In November a small delegation from Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares headed for Brussels and the European Employment Forum, a two day Conference focusing on “A Perspective on the New Labour Market Reality”. .
Day one was an early start walking through Brussels as day broke to find the conference centre at the Square in Central Brussels. The building was modern and underground, no natural light for us! The venue was split between a large exhibition hall, with at least 40 displays and good practice from all over Europe.
The workshops and main presentations were around the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive and growth http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/index_en.htm , and the links between work and skills, youth unemployment, 50+ unemployment, health, well being, poverty and an ageing society across Europe.
We were eager to learn lessons to take back to Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares. Three themes really hit home and helpfully reinforced some key messages that are already embedded into the wider Cornwall Works “Ready for Work” strategy :
1. “Without health no employability”
2. “Long term unemployment is a threat to health”
3. “Prevent, not damage repair”
Projects such as 50+ Plus Sante (Switzerland) were looking at the prevention of harmful effects of unemployment on the health of over 50’s and 50 fit (Germany) promoted that “if you don’t have a job, you can get sick faster” and provided support on how to improve health and be ready for work. The aims and lessons of these projects had synergy with our own 50+ projects with a focus on active ageing..
We learnt from the Val d’oise project in France, about how their work changed National legislation. Thanks to their efforts all firms with over 50 employees must have an action plan to recruit and retain older workers. All eligible firms will comply by March 2012 and if they don’t the company will be fined 1% of their total wage bill.
To find out what the Speakers said click here http://www.summit-events.com/cms.php?show=2011_conference_programme_slides
During a transnational study visit in 2009, Finistere presented their ‘Tiss’âges’ project – a house share scheme between over accommodated elderly people and students, particularly care students, looking for a cheap accommodation. The knowledge of this project was brought back to Cornwall and fed into the Designs of the Time (Dott) process. Dott is about people-centred approaches using designers to create innovative products and services which can be applied to social, economic and environmental issues. The Dott team subsequently developed the Host Homes design idea as a variation of the French model. Host Homes was about developing a service that enabled older people to invite holidaymakers into their homes, to stay with them for short periods of time, in return for help with maintenance and company. Ultimately, due to practicalities, this design idea was not taken forward into a pilot project – however, a further variation is being considered for development through the Nite Stop project. The full report from this study visit can be viewed by clicking here.
Finistere / Cornwall Research Project
Inclusion Cornwall hosted a French student (Ms Stephanie Forget) on a work placement from the UCO Bretagne Nord University during the summer of 2010. Ms Forget undertook a dedicated research project for the Cornwall Works 50+ programme examining Finistere good practice in more detail. This research has helped to inform subsequent study visits to the Finistere region by highlighting specific areas of interest and has assisted the planning process for years two and three. Her report on Finistrere can be viewed by clicking here, and her report on the key 50+ and 50+ Cares issues that are facing Finistere can be viewed by clicking here.
Care Policy – Stay at Home
During a transnational study visit to Finistère in 2011 we learnt that generally people are aged 85+ before they move to a retirement home. This trend has resulted from the general desire to stay at home for as long as possible in old age, and a policy that supports people to do this. This practice is feeding directly into the Cornwall Works 50+ workplan. For example through the developing prevention work around fuel poverty and winter deaths. There are also links to the NHS ethos of encouraging self care to reduce the burden on the social care sector. The full report from this study visit can be viewed in the article further down the page, and a journal-style report of the trip by Anthony Ball of the NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can be viewed by clicking here.
‘How to be Old and Happy in Finistere'
This strategy (loosely translated as How to be Old and Happy) for the elderly is implemented in all councils across France. Everyone over 60 is eligible and help is provided to combat dependency using professional carers and technical support. The challenge is to mobilise retired people when they are over 60 to help support people over the age of 85. A strong volunteering system is developing. Through this policy the Conseil General du Finistère also have public ‘insertion’ clauses in contracts for care, so that 5%-10% of jobs, or up to 100,000 hours must be offered to priority groups, for example 50+ people.
This policy is feeding directly into the Cornwall Works 50+ workplan. For example, the Volunteering Programme has developed from the ethos of mobilising 50+ people to contribute to care in their community and increase participation in volunteering. At the same time the programme will have multiple benefits for the volunteers themselves in terms of health and wellbeing. Details of the Cornwall Volunteering Programme can be viewed here.
This policy was initially highlighted during the 2009 study visit. It is concerned with a drive to make care sector jobs more permanent with better wages. It encourages people to work in social care by working towards a qualification at the same time. There is also a specific drive to encourage workless people to train in social care.
Following an additional study visit in 2011 we are now seeking to develop the role of the Animateur through Cornwall Council Adult Care and Support. This caring role is more creative and encourages intergenerational activity. It has the dual benefit of engaging the elderly in creative activities, job satisfaction for the worker and transferring of knowledge to the younger generation.
The role is being developed in West Cornwall area through an existing dementia project which is run in a cluster of care homes. Adult Care and Support are creating a voluntary role based on the Animator to trial this approach. This approach also links closely to the Royal Cornwall Museum’s Reminiscence Innovation project, details of which can be viewed here.
Swedish Transnational Partnership
This partnership developed from the successful Warsaw Partner Search Forum in 2010. The initial project focussed on Swedish language development however a new project started in January 2011 aimed at improving skills / careers of care workers at risk of redundancy, helping them to secure qualifications to stay in or progress within the care sector. The second phase of the project will be expanded to unemployed people on the same basis and we are undertaking a study visit in September 2011 to find out more and consider whether this approach can be implemented in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Cornwall Works 50+ visits Sweden
In September 2011 representatives from Cornwall Works 50+ projects visited Sweden to meet our Swedish transnational partners. A full report of the trip written by Helen Roddha can be read by clicking here.
A Delegation from Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares return from a good practice sharing trip to Finistere
The Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares Manager Rob Buckley has just returned from a study visit to the Finistere region in Brittany, France. The purpose of the visit was to exchange information and learn about the practices of our French counterparts around how they engage with people and help them back to work. He was joined by Anthony Ball (Tackling Inequalities Coordinator - NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly) and Angela Coote (Cornwall Council Adult Care and Support - Care Ambassador Project Leader).
The visit was hosted by Conseil Général du Finistère political members and officers, together with representatives from the 'Comite de Pays' who combat social exclusion in Finistere.
Important subjects such as the care sector, inclusion and the elderly were discussed. The delegation examined policies around recruiting and retaining staff within the care sector, keeping people active to lead longer and healthier lives, and education for care sector staff to improve career prospects. The region is focussing on how to match the demand for care sector jobs with the demand for improving skills and supporting people back to work.
These policies were examined with the possibility of piloting similar approaches to address demographic change in Cornwall. The visit was also a good opportunity to raise awareness of successful Cornwall Works 50+ innovation and promote the nationally recognised Cornwall Works way of working.
If you are interested in finding out more about this trip or other Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares activity, contact Rob Buckley, Cornwall Works 50+ Project Manager on 01872 355128 or email@example.com
Our Swedish partners visit Cornwall
Our Swedish partners from the Stockholm Gerontology Research Centre/Lidingö visited Cornwall on the 9th of March to exchange information on their work and how it relates to our own Cornwall Works 50+ and Cornwall Works 50+ Cares projects.
Among the visiting party were Kerstin Sjösvärd (First Project Manager, Stockholm Gerontology Research Center/Lidingö), Bengt Larsson (Development Manager, Stockholm Gerontology Research Center), Marie Söderström (Project Manager, Lidingö), and Maj Berg (Project Manager, Stockholm Gerontology Research Center/Lidingö). They discussed the similarities between Cornwall and Stockholm County, and detailed the aims and implimentation of their SprakSam and Abersam projects.
SprakSam aims to improve Swedish language skills and development, and support people at risk of being marginalised at work due to the limits of their Swedish language skills—including 29,000 employees in the care sector who have been identified as being in need. These workers might be at risk of being excluded from the labour market due to their lack of fluent, usable Swedish language. The project aims to change how language development is managed in both the working and educational arenas.
SprakSam is also working to develop new teaching methods for Swedish as a second language in the care sector. They have identified the need for courses to increase the motivation of people to improve their use of Swedish as a second language.
The new Abersam project is involved in introducing education into the care workplace environment, with half a day a week of educational time within 50 workplaces. In this way care sector performance will be improved.
You can view more pictures of our Swedish parters on their visit, below.
If you are interested in finding out more about this trip or other Cornwall Works 50+ and 50+ Cares activity, contact Rob Buckley, Cornwall Works 50+ Project Manager, on 01872 355128 or firstname.lastname@example.org