BSLF Sustainable Working Life Project

The overarching aim of the project is to improve working life conditions and lifelong learning provisions, systems and policies for an elderly labour force in order to promote active ageing and employability.

Baltic Sea Labour Forum for Sustainable Working Life Project started its preparation phase in January 2019 and entered implementation phase in June 2019. The project addresses three issues, crucial for the socio-economic development of the countries in the Baltic Sea Region: demographic challenge, active ageing and lifelong learning.

The BSLF-SWL project relies on the core mechanism of Thematic Working Groups. Each group is a multi-skilled, cross-sectoral and transnational team of professionals in the field of active ageing, comprising experts and policymakers, public authorities and organisations, research institutions, private sector and social partners from countries in the Baltic Sea Region. The members of the working groups meet and work towards identifying good practices and synthesizing policy recommendations that can be implemented in their own and/or other organizations. They are supported by policy relevant research on forecasting and analyzing demography and economic/labour market issues, including a “future work” and “qualifications needed” perspective, technological developments and trends in the region. Socio-economic and socio-cultural differences between the Member States concerned are particularly taken into account. Currently, seven EU countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland) are represented in the thematic working groups and through additional funding received from the Swedish Institute.

BSLF-SWL is anchored to the European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Policy Area Education and its Flagship Baltic Sea Labour Forum, the platform for tripartite dialogue among social partners.

There are two thematic working groups dealing with:

  1. Working conditions and age management;
  2. Job opportunities for an ageing labour force, including entrepreneurship;

Lifelong learning and skills upgrade is a cross-cutting theme for both groups.

The thematic working groups have the following tasks:

  • Identify other projects and policies that already exist among the countries in the Baltic Sea region that claim to clarify challenges and offer solutions to improve those conditions that foster a sustainable working life for older persons.
  • Assess the usefulness and relevance of these projects and policies in various contexts, including different countries, sectors and in relation to fulfilling the European Union’s Pillar of Social Rights and the ESF Horizontal Principles of gender equality, non-discrimination and accessibility.
  • Identify shortcomings in current policies and practices and suggest collaborative projects and initiatives that address these issues.
  • Through a process of co-creationexplore how these projects and initiatives can be further improved and made relevant in a broader context and develop new methods and cooperation initiatives.
  • Formulate recommendations, based on the assessments made and developments proposed, to both policy makers and practitioners.
  • Encourage decision makers in different Baltic Sea region countries, at various levels of decision making, and across different sectors, to take note of successful initiatives and sound policy recommendations and to let them influence the way in which they develop the way they work to improve the sustainability of working life for older persons.

BSLF-SWL works towards the following outcomes:

  • By developing and using the specific tools and mechanisms supporting the project – the Flagships, Knowledge/Learning platforms and the thematic working groups – BSLF- SWL contributes to awareness rising and skills development of the community of project/ESF actors and stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region in relation to the EU funds and the macro regional strategies.
  • CBSS/Baltic Sea Labour Forum Coordination Group on Labour and Employment and BSLF members (social partners) provide the project with direct access to decision-policy makers of Baltic Sea Region. It will allow for immediate policy impact and contribute to a long-term holistic approach in strategic planning process in the future.
  • The established thematic working group members form a network of professionals for future joint actions in the field of active ageing and an ageing labour force in the region, which will also ensure an effect of the project beyond its project duration.

Important guiding principles for the implementation of the project:

ESF Horizontal principles:

  • Preventing any kind of discrimination
  • Ensuring gender equality
  • Ensuring accessibility

European Pillar for Social Rights and its three main categories:

  • Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
  • Fair working conditions
  • Social protection and inclusion

Final outcomes of the project

Policy brief series

Throughout the project, 10 policy briefs on the ageing workforce have been released in the Sustainable Working Life series. The policy briefs compare the situation in the countries and cover the most important areas of the sustainable working life: 

  • digital and ICT skills development,
  • age discrimination, 
  • early retirement due to poor health and working conditions,
  • influence of the academia working environment,
  • future work and technological change,
  • public employment services,
  • senior female entrepreneurship,
  • lifelong learning, 
  • impact of Covid+ on workers 50+.

Policy recommendations 

The main outcome of the project is the ”Policy recommendations for a longer working life” final report which contains 94 policy recommendations on prolonging working life in the Baltic Sea Region. The report looks at the challenges regarding an older workforce in a holistic manner, and also provides specific policy recommendations for groups of countries with similar national contexts. The policy recommendations are divided into four major thematic areas, namely working conditions and health, employment and lifelong learning, equality in terms of age and gender, and socio-economic measures.

Country reports

As a complement to the project documentation, seven individual country reports have been produced to highlight how different the working life situation is depending on each country. They present a short overview of the national policies of the countries involved in the project: DenmarkEstoniaFinlandGermanyLatviaLithuaniaPoland.

Project period: 2018-12-01 – 2022-06-30

Project implementation phase: 2019-06-01 – 2022-06-30

Financed by the Swedish Managing Authority for the European Social Fund, with support from Swedish Institute for third country participation.

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