While there are signs of economic recovery in Europe following the long-term effects of the 2008 financial crisis, high levels of unemployment remain a persistent and major problem. The EU28 unemployment rate stands at 7.5% (18.2 million people) and the Euro area 8.8% (Eurostat Nov. 2017). Youth unemployment is even worse at 16.5% in the EU28 (18.6% in the Euro area). There are also striking unemployment differences between the partner countries in Northern and Southern regions.
The need for new solutions is seen in accelerating public sector financing reform, including performance management regimes for VET and PES providers, who are increasingly assessed on their success in achieving - and sustaining – suitable job placements for young people, apprentices and job seekers by effectively ensuring that their provision is relevant to the needs of employers.
This complex and accelerating situation is radically impacting upon the role of labour market advisers and intermediaries, giving rise to an emerging occupational role of the ‘Job Broker’ - a professional who works in publicly-funded VET and labour market programmes that are aimed at unemployed, and typically disadvantaged, job seekers.
This occupational role extends beyond, for instance, employment counsellors in that it involves direct and sustained engagement with employers to achieve the required outcomes. It differs from the work of private employment agencies in that it is concerned with the provision of in-depth support to unemployed job-seeking clients who are being supported in publicly-funded active labour market, social inclusion and VET programmes.
The aim of Certification and Qualification for Europe’s Job Brokers is to develop, register and pilot a work-based, Job Broker qualification, aligned to EQF Level 6 and certificated to ISO 17024 (Certification of Persons) and ECTS (University professional certification) requirements.
There is presently no work-based professional certificate for Job Brokers.
By rooting its reference points in Indicators 5 and 6 of EQAVET, it will also provide a new evidence -based framework within which VET authorities can seek to demand new and relevant forms of accountability from VET providers.