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Document 52002DC0315

Report from the Commission - European Commission Interim Report on the Start of the Operational Implementation of the Second Phase of the Leonardo da Vinci Programme (2000-2006)

/* COM/2002/0315 final */

52002DC0315

Report from the Commission - European Commission Interim Report on the Start of the Operational Implementation of the Second Phase of the Leonardo da Vinci Programme (2000-2006) /* COM/2002/0315 final */


REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION - European Commission Interim Report on the Start of the Operational Implementation of the Second Phase of the Leonardo da Vinci Programme (2000-2006)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. From Leonardo I to Leonardo II

2. The Policy Framework

2.1. Overall Strategy

2.2. Complementarity between policies

3. Management Organisation and Procedures

3.1. Management Organisation

3.2. Functioning of the programme management

4. Activities 2000 and 2001

4.1. Procedure A: Mobility projects

4.2. Procedure B: Pilot Projects, Language Competences, Transnational Networks

4.3. Procedure C: Reference Material, Thematic Actions, Joint Actions

4.4. The Euroguidance Network

4.5. Project Participation and Targeting

4.5.1. Involvement of enterprises, especially SMEs

4.5.2. Gender equal opportunities

4.5.3. Participation of the Candidate Countries

5. Project Follow-up

5.1. Monitoring the Current Projects

5.2. Disseminating the Results of Leonardo da Vinci Projects

5.3. Valorising the output of Leonardo da Vinci projects

6. Conclusion and Further Steps

Annexes

Introduction

Leonardo da Vinci is the Community Action Programme for the implementation of a vocational training policy in Europe. It aims at developing quality, innovation and European dimension in vocational training systems and practices and is a key instrument for implementing lifelong learning at European level.

Because of its importance, all programme stakeholders agreed to examine plans for implementation at an early stage. Therefore, the Council Decision of 1999 in Article 13.5 asks the Commission to submit to the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the Economic and Social Committee and to the Committee of the Regions "a first interim report on the initial operational implementation of this programme by 30 June 2002". The present report fulfils this mandate.

The methodology applied here is that of an analysis of the activities undertaken by the programme stakeholders during the first two years of the programme. This activity report is not an evaluation of efficiency, effectiveness and impact, because it is too early in the programme's life-span. Rather, it serves as a basis for the forthcoming evaluations of the programme. This report draws on sources available in the Commission and on material provided by some of the participating countries.

1. From Leonardo I to Leonardo II

The second phase of Leonardo da Vinci is based on the experiences of its first phase from 1995 to 1999. The establishment of the second phase of the programme was an opportunity to remedy many of the structural deficiencies of the past:

* The number of programme objectives was reduced from 19 to 3.

* The number of programme measures was reduced from 23 to 5.

* Two of the five measures have been clearly prioritised: mobility measures (39 % of the budget) and pilot projects (36 % of the total budget).

* The total budget has been increased from 620 Mio. EUR for 1995-1999 to 1.150 Mio. EUR for 2000-2006.

* The programme now funds fewer projects of higher potential impact.

* The calls for proposals are now valid multi-annually (instead of one year), in order to increase reliability and predictability for potential users.

* A two-step application process with pre-proposals, followed by full proposals has been introduced in order to make the process more user-friendly and transparent.

2. The Policy Framework

2.1. Overall Strategy

The Leonardo da Vinci programme promotes co-operation in the field of education and vocational training with a view to encouraging lifelong learning. The overall orientation and structure of the programme are based on Article 150 of the Treaty, the primary legal base for the decision establishing the second programme phase. This article gives the European Community the mandate to implement a European training policy which supports and supplements the action of the Member States while fully respecting their responsibility for the content and organisation of vocational training.

In this context, the Leonardo da Vinci Programme has three main objectives:

1. improve the skills and competences of people, especially young people, in initial vocational training;

2. improve the quality of, and access to continuing vocational training, and

3. promote and reinforce the contribution of vocational training to the process of innovation.

In order to make these objectives more operational for the purposes of submitting proposals, the Commission, with the assistance of the programme Committee, set six priorities for the first call for proposals:

* Priority 1 - Employability

* Priority 2 - Partnership between training bodies and companies

* Priority 3 - Social inclusion for persons disadvantaged in the labour market

* Priority 4 - Adaptability and entrepreneurship

* Priority 5 - Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

* Priority 6 - Transparency of qualifications.

In contrast to the first programme phase, the second phase makes a clear reference to lifelong learning as a transversal objective. The programme is aimed at people in vocational training at all ages and all occupational categories. It incorporates elements of bridge-building between training and related policy fields such as, for example, the joint actions with education and youth programmes.

Heads of State and Government at the European Council of Lisbon in March 2000 confirmed the role of lifelong learning in making Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society in the world. Following a Europe-wide consultation in which 12,000 experts and citizens participated, the Commission in November 2001 adopted the Communication "Making a European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality" (COM(2001)678 final). Herein, six priorities for action were set out for implementation at all levels. The document also sets out a policy framework for the development of education and training in Europe, as well as the essential elements of coherent and comprehensive lifelong learning strategies at national level.

For the future, lifelong learning will be the guiding principle for all activities within the programme. The Commission will utilise the programme as a key tool to implement its lifelong learning strategy. Three of the six priorities for action proposed in the Commission Communication on "Making a European area of lifelong learning a reality" [COM(2001)678 final] were chosen by the Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee for the next call for proposals for 2003 and 2004, as they are principally intended to support implementation at the European level. All proposals submitted under the programme will therefore have to relate to one of these priorities:

* Valuing learning: Proposals may contribute to the identification, assessment and recognition of non-formal and informal learning, as well as to the transfer and mutual recognition of formal certificates and diplomas.

* New forms of learning and teaching and basic skills in vocational education and training: Proposals may contribute to the development of new learning methods for the improvement of basic skills, inter alia the foundation skills (e.g. learning to learn), the new skills (e.g. ICT skills) and mobility skills (e.g. foreign languages).

* Guidance and counselling: Proposals may contribute to improving the European dimension of guidance and counselling by exchanging experiences and standards.

The reduction from six priorities to three will further rationalise and clarify the programme for the benefit of the users. The intention is not to replace the existing three programme objectives but rather to make the objectives operational in the perspective of lifelong learning. The programme will benefit by this rationalisation in that it will be even better positioned to generate impact and added European value.

2.2. Complementarity between policies

A lack of complementarity with other related policy fields has been acknowledged as a weakness for the first programme phase (1995-99). Therefore, the Commission has developed a more strategic and systematic approach to ensure co-operation with other Community programmes. A concrete result of this co-operation will be higher visibility of Leonardo da Vinci in the policy development of other Commission services.

Lifelong learning has been taken into account as one research priority under the priority theme "Citizens and governance in a knowledge-based society" in the proposal for the Sixth Framework Programme for Research of the EU for 2002 to 2006. This approach will increase complementarity between Leonardo da Vinci and the new Research Programme at strategic and at project level.

Complementarity between Leonardo da Vinci and both the European Employment Strategy and the European Social Fund (ESF) is crucial because both contribute to the development of human resource potential in Europe. A paper presented by the Commission to the programme Committee in November 2001 outlined an overall approach and suggested a series of concrete actions to improve complementarity between Leonardo da Vinci and the ESF. It aims at reducing possible double-funding and opens a further opportunity for using Leonardo da Vinci results in the implementation of ESF. The same document was also presented to, and discussed by the ESF Committee in March 2002.

For the immediate future the Commission will strengthen co-operation with related policy fields, as foreseen in the Communication on lifelong learning.

3. Management Organisation and Procedures

The final report on the first programme phase (1995-99) acknowledged as a major weakness the management of the programme. To correct this weakness, the Council Decision reinforces the role of national structures - the National Agencies - as indicated in Article 5 and annex III. The scope of the activities of the National Agencies is wide: they play an important role all over the life cycle of the projects from counselling to selection and monitoring of projects until the payment of the last project balance.

3.1. Management Organisation

In terms of managing the programme, the triangular relation between the Commission, National Authorities and National Agencies has reinforced the partnership between these three actors. Following discussions between the Commission and the Member States, the Commission adopted a Decision on the "Provisions relating to the responsibilities of the Member States and of the Commission with regard to the Leonardo da Vinci National Agencies" (C(2000)402 final of 18.02.2000), thereby ensuring that clear Community guidelines and rules be drawn up, and precise and clear responsibilities be specified.

* The role of the European Commission

The Commission is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the programme in accordance with the Council Decision.

In order to fulfil this role effectively and efficiently, the internal organisation of the responsible Commission service has been adapted to the needs of implementing the programme.

The Commission contracted a technical assistance office following an open call for tender. In contrast to the first programme phase, this office assists the three programmes Leonardo da Vinci, Socrates and Youth. This is a positive rationalisation of the technical assistance at Community level. The Technical Assistance Office fulfils organisational and secreterial tasks in relation to the assessment of proposals as well as supporting functions on a number of issues (monitoring of projects, organisation of meetings, preparation of contracts,) necessary for the smooth running of the programme at Community level.

* The role of the Leonardo da Vinci Committee

The role of the programme Committee is to assist the Commission in the implementation of the programme. It is composed of two representatives from each Member State and chaired by the Commission. Also, representatives from the candidate countries participating in the programme are present. Representatives from the Social Partners from national and from European level participate in the Committee as observers.

The Committee has been and continues to be fully involved in the relevant decisions to be taken to implement the programme.

Since mid-2001, following the strict implementation of the Council decision on Comitology (1999/468/EC) and the subsequent agreement with the European Parliament, the latter has been fully informed about all activities concerning the management of the programme: all documents presented by the Commission to the programme Committee have been forwarded to the EP and a four week "droit de régard" period has been introduced between an opinion of the Committee and the related Commission decision.

* The role of the National Authorities

In accordance with the increased decentralisation in managing the programme, the role of the national authorities has been strengthened in contrast to the first programme phase.

According to the Commission decision of 18 February 2000 [C(2000)402 final] the national authorities, within their areas of competence, are now responsible for securing the co-ordination, the integrated management and the follow-up for the attainment of the programme objectives. In doing so, they involve all parties concerned by vocational training. They are also responsible for ensuring that relevant information about the programme is provided to the public, and they also adopt measures to remove obstacles to access to this programme. In general, they take the necessary steps to ensure the efficient running of the programme at a national level.

* The role of the National Agencies

Following the decentralisation of management, National Agencies administer ca. 83 % of the programme budget. Their specific tasks, which go beyond pure administration, relate to

- the organisation and publication of information on the calls for proposals,

- the organisation of the assessment of proposals for procedures A and B and of the selection for procedure A projects,

- the preparation, dispatch, monitoring, control and liquidation of agreements with promoters under the decentralised actions/measures of the programme,

- the information and advisory activities for the participants in the programme as well as the dissemination of project results.

3.2. Functioning of the programme management

The implementation of the second phase has focused on rationalising the management structure, and simplifying and accelerating the procedures. The findings of the final national evaluation as well as the external evaluation of the first programme phase (1995-1999) all pointed to complex management procedures that impeded the functioning of the programme in the past. The Commission in its final report on this first phase acknowledged this and proposed several measures to improve procedures.

* Interplay of the management structures

During the transition from the first to the second programme phase, the Commission and the national authorities co-operated to put the necessary management organisation in place. The Member States selected the appropriate national management structures and informed their public about the programme. The Commission with the assistance of the programme Committee published the call for proposals with its six priorities. Also, the Commission and the programme Committee took care that the guidelines for promoters and the Internet presentation were user-friendly.

It is above all the functioning of the National Agencies which is crucial for the implementation of large parts of the programme. National Agencies were established during the first half of 2000 in all participating countries. These structures were nominated by the respective national authorities. Their functioning contract is with the Commission. All the structures have been established in time to organise the first round of applications in 2000 smoothly.

The Commission and the national authorities both closely monitor the functioning of the National Agencies. The national authorities undertake audits inside the structures. The Commission organises regular meetings with representatives from the National Agencies in Brussels to discuss management matters of common interest. In addition, Commission staff visit the structures regularly to supervise their running. Monitoring of National Agenciees is also undertaken through audits.

The first two years of implementing the provisions on the National Agencies showed their gradual empowerment in terms of qualitative and financial management of the programme. Feedback has generally been positive, namely in relation to the consistency of these structures with the Community guidelines. Problems encountered in a minority of cases in relation to these new structures are not affecting the general management of the programme. It should also be noted that one main advantage of the management by a network of national agencies is that when a problem occurs in one country, this does not have a negative impact on the promoters/beneficiaries of the other participating countries.

The national authorities fulfilled their obligation to provide information to the public right from the start by organising launch or start-up events in early 2000 to make the programme known to potential user groups. The Community co-financed these events, which drew a large and relevant audience.

An in-depth evaluation of the implementation of the provisions on the National Agencies should be undertaken in 2002 in a co-ordinated way between Leonardo da Vinci, Socrates and Youth, as foreseen in the respective Commission Decisions.

* Management cost

The cost of managing the programme under the Leonardo da Vinci budget consists of the contribution to the functioning of the National Agencies and of the Commission's administrative expenditure for technical assistance. These cost were as follows:

>TABLE POSITION>

With this 8.6 % share, the management is more efficient than in the first programme phase (1995-99), when this share was 10.0 %.

* Payments to projects

The disproportionate delay in payments to projects during the first programme phase was a major problem. The Commission acknowledged this in its final report on the first programme phase. To remedy this, the Commission has taken several steps.

Firstly, with the decentralisation of the programme management, the National Agencies make payments directly to the project promoters. Unlike the central management structure during the first phase, the National Agencies are closer to the projects on the ground and are given appropriate flexibility in handling the payments.

Secondly, the Commission has introduced the decentralised financial management scheme called for by the internal Commission reform into those programme parts that are directly administered by the Commission. Payments are handled by those units directly responsible for managing the programme.

* Simplifying the procedures

Simplifying and speeding-up the procedures for the benefit of the users has been a key issue in the first two years of the programme. The following initiatives were taken by the Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee and were based on feedback from the National Agencies and the promoters on the ground.

As early as 2000, the formal eligibility criteria for applicants were rationalised. Some of the less relevant of these criteria have been abolished in favour of greater clarity.

The Commission reduced the length of the application forms to one third the length of the forms of the first programme phase (1995-99). The financial and administrative handbook was also considerably rationalised in comparison with the first programme phase. The amount of data demanded from the projects has been reduced to the necessary minimum.

The Commission, assisted by a group of experts named by the national authorities, performed a thorough review with subsequent simplification and rationalisation of all reporting and assessment documents to be used for the various activities relating to the life span of a project.

Standardised forms were produced for the assessment of interim and final reports and made available to all National Agencies. This guarantees a unified and rational approach to monitoring projects without unduly burdening the running of these projects.

A major concern has been reducing the time between the submission of a proposal and the final selection. The Council decision limited the selection duration to a maximum of nine months. Currently the time needed to process and select the applications stands at an average of seven months. For the mobility projects the situation is even more advantageous with an average selection time of three months.

4. Activities 2000 and 2001

An overview of the programme activities in terms of input (ex-post budget) and output (number of mobility beneficiaries and number of projects, global financing breakdown per participating country) is given in Annexes 1 and 2.

4.1. Procedure A: Mobility projects

The mobility measure's general aim is to give individual people in vocational training the financial means to gain a learning or working experience abroad within a mobility project. It is the single most important programme part with 39 % of the total budget to be allocated to mobility projects. Each project is dealing with a number of individuals undergoing mobility, within the same target group.

This "decentralised" procedure is managed at national level with the help of the National Agencies. Nevertheless, the global supervision and definition of specifications remains at Community level with the Commission and the Member States co-operating within the programme committee. Proposals for mobility projects are submitted under the rules defined in the Community call for proposals by organisations (not individuals) directly to the National Agency in the country of the project promoter. The National Agency, under specifications defined at Community level and acting on behalf of the Member States, proceed to select projects.

In line with the Decision, the Commission allocates annual global grants to each participating State on the basis of certain criteria. The detailed application of these criteria was decided within the programme Committee on the initiative of the Commission. Now, a reliable and commonly agreed basis for allocating the grants to each country is in force.

An overall 141.2 Mio. EUR EU funds have been allocated in the two years under analysis. In all, around 4,800 projects have been selected with a subsequent 75,500 grants committed to individual beneficiaries for a learning or working experience abroad. The figures on individual grants may be subdivided as follows:

* ca. 35,500 grants for people undergoing initial vocational training (placements of normally 3 weeks to nine months in training institutions or undertakings abroad),

* ca. 15,400 grants for students (placements of 3 to 12 months in undertakings abroad),

* ca. 14,000 grants for young workers and recent graduates (placements of 2 to 12 months in training institutions or undertakings abroad),

* ca. 10,600 grants for training professionals (i.e. human resource managers, training programme planners, trainers and guidance specialists, trainers and mentors in the area of language competences for transnational exchanges between 1 week and 6 weeks). In this target group, the candidate countries are particularly well represented.

Leonardo da Vinci is unique among EU Community programmes in offering mobility to these particular target groups. It is also to be noted that the programme includes 30 participating countries (15 Member States, 3 EEA countries and 12 candidate countries).

* The mobility measure was particularly successful among the public. In some countries the National Agencies received applications for three times the funds available. In order to better match demand and supply, the Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee decided to increase the mobility budget from 2000 to 2001 by 3.6 %. During these first two years the programme was able to fund ca. 37 750 grantees per year, which is an increase of more than 45 % against the first programme phase.

Building upon this popularity, the Commission, in co-operation with the responsible management structures will place more importance on the quality of the stays abroad. One among other instruments for achieving more quality is the "Europass -Training". It entered into force in January 2000 as the core of the Council decision on "European pathways for work-linked vocational training and apprenticeship according". The links between the "Europass-Training" and the programme are many-fold:

- Firstly, the "Europass-Training" originated from a Leonardo da Vinci project.

- Secondly, by issuing the Europass to the Leonardo da Vinci grantees, the programme helped to make popular this new European initiative. In 2000 and 2001, a good number of European pathways took place within Leonardo da Vinci, though its weight varied considerably from one country to another .This is partly due to the institutional link: many National Contact Points for the Europass-Training, are also National Agencies for Leonardo da Vinci.

- Thirdly, the stays abroad of Leonardo da Vinci participants gain in quality by utilising the Europass. With the "Europass-Training" individual people can document their concrete achievements gained during a working or learning experience abroad.

For the next call for proposals valid 2003/2004, the Commission will strongly recommend documentation of individual stays, either by the "Europass-Training" or by other instruments recognising or certifying the experiences abroad.

4.2. Procedure B: Pilot Projects, Language Competences, Transnational Networks

This "semi-decentralised" procedure consists of a two-step selection process whereby the participating states assess and select the pre-proposals and the Commission, with the assistance of independent experts, is responsible for assessing and ranking the full proposals. Each country and the Commission consult on their findings, and the Commission then establishes the final selection list. This procedure applies to the following actions:

* Pilot projects

The pilot projects are the second largest part of the programme with 36 % of the total budget. The programme supports the design, development, testing and assessment of transnational pilot projects to develop or disseminate innovation in vocational training. Community support of up to 75 % of the eligible project expenditures with a ceiling of 200.000 EUR per year and per project is available for up to three years.

In order to generate European added value, transnationality is a must for all projects: all projects must bring together partners from at least three participating states working together towards a common aim. The average duration of these projects is three years.

In 2000 and 2001, 373 pilot projects were selected under this measure. This measure has also been particularly successful among the public. Therefore, the Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee decided to raise the available budget by 8 %.

>TABLE POSITION>

>TABLE POSITION>

During the entire first programme phase an average of 514 comparable pilot projects per year (2 569 for 1995-99) received an average of 120 000 EUR per project (310.06 Mio. EUR EU funding for 1995-99). Thus, the second phase of Leonardo da Vinci put into practice what had been envisioned at the outset: to fund fewer projects with a higher amount. The advantages are clear: a smaller number of projects is easier to manage, but more importantly, bigger projects are more likely to generate higher impact.

* Language competence

These projects cover three major fields: language and communication audits, language learning or training tools, and dissemination projects in the field of languages. In 2000 and 2001, 45 projects were selected with a total EU grant of ca. 13.6 million EUR. In 2001 the number of full proposals decreased while their global quality increased.

The language measure should lead to a greater diversification of the languages taught and the promotion of less widespread languages. Each project targets an average of 3 or 4 languages. Less widespread languages are represented, although English, followed by German and French, are very predominant.

As to the partnerships, even though bilateral partnerships were eligible, the selected projects involve, on average, partners from 5 different countries. This strong transnational dimension should lead to valuable results for many countries. Moreover, the partnerships seem to be well anchored at national level with an average of 10 partners per project, i.e. nearly two partners per participating country. This fact should guarantee an impact of the project results on national systems.

Later this year, the Commission will launch an evaluation study on the impact of the education and training projects on language learning and multi-lingualism in Europe.

* Transnational networks

These networks regroup multiple players in vocational training to carry out three specific activities: a) to pool knowledge in a specific domain at a regional or sectoral level and to share experience, b) to identify trends and skills requirements and c) to disseminate the results of the work undertaken by such networks. In 2000 and 2001, 27 networks were selected with a total EU grant of ca. 8.1 million EUR (4.0 million EUR in 2000, 4.1 million EUR in 2002). Since EU funding for projects under this measure is, according to the Decision, limited to 50 % of the eligible costs and the general objectives of this measure are considered complex, a comparably low number of proposals was submitted. In order to differentiate this measure from the others and to simplify matters, the Commission in October 2001 issued an "explanatory note" which focussed the measure on its primary aims and replaced the former special guide for transnational networks. This note was shared with all National Agencies. The Commission has some indications that for the selection round 2002 simplification and clarification will result in proposals of a higher quality than before.

4.3. Procedure C: Reference Material, Thematic Actions, Joint Actions

This "centralised" procedure consists of a two-step process where the Commission selects both the pre-proposals and the full proposals, the latter with the assistance of independent experts. Contracting, management and follow-up of these projects is assured by the Commission. Procedure C also applies to projects submitted under all measures by organisations with a European outlook (the so-called EUR organisations). In 2000 and 2001, 19 EUR projects with a total EU budget of 6.0 Mio. EUR were selected. Procedure C applies to the following actions:

* Reference Material

This measure supports actions undertaken on a transnational basis on priority themes of common interest. The main goal is to establish comparable data on training systems or arrangements as well as to produce quantitative and qualitative information, analysis and best practices in support of policies.

In the first two years, 26 projects were selected (19 in 2000, 7 in 2001). The total EU funding is 9.9 Mio. EUR (7.2 Mio. EUR in 2000, 2.7 Mio. EUR in 2001). A general trend has been that the number of proposals decreased while the overall quality of the proposals increased. Concerning statistics projects however, the number of projects submitted has been below expectations and needs.

The Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee will implement a statistical work programme optimising the procedures for the statistics projects. The aim is to better coordinate statistical projects under Leonardo with activities carried out by Eurostat and the OECD.

* Thematic Actions

This is a sub-measure under the pilot project measure. Its aim is to support a small number of projects on themes of particular interest at Community level. In 2000 only 2 projects had sufficient quality to be selected out of 14 eligible full proposals. In 2001, 3 projects have been selected. Of the five projects one operates in the area of social inclusion, two in transparency and certification, and one in the area of valorising results. The total EU funds for the two years were 2.6 Mio. EUR, which represents 0.75 % of the total budget. So far, the quality of many of the applications has been below expectations. This may be due to a lack clarity in the Council decision provision on this measure.

The Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee will clarify further the scope of this measure.

* Joint Actions

The Joint Actions between the Leonardo da Vinci programme and the Community programmes in the fields of education and youth are considered to be a first concrete step towards a consistent lifelong learning approach.

After the formal adoption of the Socrates and Youth programmes in 2000, the Commission launched the first specific call for proposals in early 2001. In order to manage these actions properly, a joint committee has been established with members of the three programme committees.

The first selection round was completed by the end of the same year, with the following result:

- 3 projects were selected under the theme 'transfer and accumulation of training credits',

- 3 under the theme 'guidance and advisory services', and

- 1 under the theme 'multipurpose centres and e-learning'.

A total EU grant of ca. 1.8 Mio. EUR has been allocated (of which 0.6Mio EUR from Leonardo da Vinci).

For the future , the Commission will substantially increase the scope of the Joint Actions, by including other dimension and programmes, and the budget. For the 2002 selection round a total of 3.5 Mio. EUR (1.2 Mio EUR from Leonardo da Vinci) has been allocated.

4.4. The Euroguidance Network

Euroguidance is the European network of the National Resource Centres for Vocational Guidance. The network, which was set up in 1992-93, currently includes more than 50 centres in all participating countries co-financed by Leonardo da Vinci and the relevant national authorities. For the first two programme years, Community co-financing amounted to 3.1 Mio. EUR (2000: 1.5 Mio. EUR, 2001: 1.6 Mio. EUR).

In 2000 and 2001, the Commission rationalised the objectives of the network. Euroguidance now primarily promotes mobility in Europe through a) providing information on education and training opportunities mainly for guidance practitioners, but also citizens, companies and institutions, and b) supporting the exchange of information on education and training systems and on qualifications in Europe. As a concrete output, numerous seminars have been organised as well as publications, books, information packages.

The Commission intends to utilise the Euroguidance network for implementing lifelong learning. In the Commission's initiative to set up an Europe-wide Internet portal on learning opportunities, the resource centres will act as local portal teams helping to launch a pilot version in October 2002. Also, the network will play a crucial role in the European Guidance Forum starting in 2002, which will contribute to a lifelong learning approach to guidance.

4.5. Project Participation and Targeting

4.5.1. Involvement of enterprises, especially SMEs

The Commission final report on the first programme phase (1995-99) acknowledged that the participation of enterprises, especially small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), had been below expectations. Since involvement of the private sector is crucial for the economy, job creation and training in Europe, the intention was to increase their participation for the second programme phase.

The following table shows the number and percentage of all project promoters and partners participating in the pre-proposals of procedure B in the selection year 2001 (according to self-assessment in the application forms):

>TABLE POSITION>

These data indicate that about 20 % of all project promoters and partners assess themselves as enterprises (see the first three rows). The small and medium enterprises are the third most common type of organisation participating in the programme (16 % of all promoters and partners). Also, SMEs are the most common type of organisation participating in projects concerned with gender equality, and rank second in the number of projects targeting people with disabilities (see below). The reason may be that these type of projects are strongly employment-oriented, which necessitates the involvement of enterprises.

It must also be noted that although enterprises participate as partners, they rarely figure as project applicants or promoters. The Commission acknowledges that the reason seems to be that the application procedures are still too cumbersome for enterprises. Therefore, further simplification will most likely enhance their participation also as promoters.

In order to further clarify the actual participation in pilot projects and mobility alike, the Commission will launch a study on this particular issue in the near future. The findings of these studies should contribute to further encouraging enterprises, especially SMEs, to participate more in the programme.

4.5.2. Gender equal opportunities

This issue was one objective under the first programme phase as well as a priority field for action in Community policies. The Commission in its final report on the first programme phase acknowledged that the results in terms of data, projects and impact had been modest. In the second phase, gender equal opportunities is highlighted as a transversal programme objective.

Available data suggest that the mobility projects in particular show strong participation of women. The share of female participants in mobility measures 2000-2001 in the programme Leonardo da Vinci has been consistently high:

>TABLE POSITION>

(Source: Commission calculation based on data provided by the National Agencies on 25.02.02)

The situation is somewhat different when it comes to the pilot projects addressing gender equality. Leonardo da Vinci projects, in general, address the needs of more than one target group and thus gender equality is often included in projects targeting disadvantaged groups at large. 10 projects (out of 496 procedure B and C projects) with EU funds of 4.7 Mio. EUR address equal opportunities per se.

However, the number of projects must be assessed against their potential for generating impact. Generally, these projects promote the employability and access of women to jobs, by enhancing the participation of women in training towards employment in job-growth areas or in traditionally male-dominated sectors, e.g. through target setting. The projects contribute to overcoming the training gap and/or gender balance in specific sectors. These sectors include traditionally female-dominated areas such as the health and care sector, administration and customer service but also male-dominated sectors such as IT and transport. The projects will provide a review of best practice of women in scientific careers, which through dissemination will have an impact in the context of continuous training/retraining practices in SMEs. These projects are developing real opportunities to challenge gender stereotypes.

Partners in these 10 transnational projects are some 125 organisations from 19 participating countries. Generally, SMEs take the lead as partners in gender equality projects, followed by training organisations and research centres.

In 2000 and 2001, several Commission activities aimed at raising awareness for the importance of gender equal opportunity. The goal was to make equal opportunities a quality issue for the whole programme. In January 2000, guidelines were issued on how to treat equal opportunities in the programme. On a special web-site, the Commission published a guide to gender impact assessment methods for projects and links to a special project partner search database.

In order to further highlight this issue, the Commission will, in the frame of its evaluation activities for 2002, treat gender equal opportunities as a priority. More specifically, the Commission will launch a study on the impact on gender equal opportunities of the Community education and culture programmes.

4.5.3. Participation of the Candidate Countries

Beyond the EU Member States and the countries of the European Economic Area, the Council decision opened the programme to the associated central and eastern European countries as well as Cyprus, Malta and Turkey. In 2000, the Association Councils adopted the necessary agreements with almost all the candidate countries. A new feature vis-à-vis the first programme phase is that the financial contribution to be paid by these countries for participating (the "entry ticket") is no longer matched by a "just return".

All candidate countries contributed an "entry ticket" of ca. 47.1 Mio. EUR in 2000 and 2001 (excluding "administrative expenditure"), which is a share of 14 %. Among the 496 procedure B and C projects of 2000 and 2001, 71 projects were submitted by promoters from the 12 candidate countries. A special priority of candidate country promoters are the language competence projects with 16 out of 45 projects. These data suggest that their degree of participation is generally comparable with their overall weight and that the promoters follow certain priorities. However there are imbalances, especially in procedure C where only one candidate country project was selected among 55.

The Commission plans to address these imbalances. As a first step, the forthcoming evaluations and special studies will analyse the participation of these countries and provide recommendations to improve access.

The sole candidate country not yet participating is Turkey. Its participation was still in a preparatory stage at the time of drafting this report.

5. Project Follow-up

5.1. Monitoring the Current Projects

Two types of monitoring exist: individual project monitoring and collective thematic monitoring. Individual monitoring is an ongoing process and concerns all contractual and administrative matters related to each project right from the start. This monitoring is undertaken by the National Agencies (procedure A and B projects) and the Commission (procedure C projects).

As regards collective thematic monitoring, the Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee decided in 2001 to launch this dynamic process in order to allow for cross-fertilisation between projects, to follow-up the progress of the projects, and to allow for the experiences coming from the projects to improve the implementation of the programme.

Thus, collective thematic monitoring effectively started at the end of 2001. In accordance with the programme priorities and the current development of policies in vocational training, five themes were chosen by the Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee:

1. Labour market integration for problem groups

2. Developing skills in businesses, particularly SMEs

3. Adapting training supply and new training methods -- the quality of training

4. Transparency, evaluation and validation

5. E-Learning

In addition, language projects have been followed up more closely. Besides their participation in the collective thematic monitoring, language projects were also invited to ad hoc seminars to discuss issues specific to their activities.

In January 2002, the Commission in co-operation with the National Agencies decided on a two-year workplan in respect of these five themes. This work will be carried out jointly by the lead National Agencies and the associated agencies under the supervision of the Commission. CEDEFOP or other "fora" will also be associated as appropriate.

For 2002, the following work is planned:

- identification and clustering of all B and C projects by theme,

- establishment of a thematic database accessible by Internet,

- collaboration with various "fora" at national and Community levels (social partners, decision makers, experts, etc.),

- development of an information sheet to demonstrate the projects.

5.2. Disseminating the Results of Leonardo da Vinci Projects

The Commission in co-operation with the programme stakeholders has developed a strategic approach to dissemination relating to the results of the first and the second programme phase. Dissemination is to be made a condition for all projects. Each application must contain a dissemination plan. Thus, dissemination is a quality criterion for selecting projects.

The first programme phase (1995-99) left a heritage of experiences and products:

* ca. 7 300 mobility projects with 127 000 participants containing a wealth of mobility experiences, and

* ca. 3 300 transnational pilot projects in all measures, each providing a concrete product in form of training modules, curricula, analyses, etc.

Dissemination of these results has been identified as a weakness for the first programme phase (1995-99). Following the announcement in the final Commission report on the first phase, the Commission has undertaken several concrete steps to improve the dissemination of results from projects under the first programme phase.

As a first important step, the Commission collected the available material and created an internet-based product database. This database can be searched according to relevant search criteria and is open to the public. Furthermore, the Commission is currently preparing several brochures destined for distribution to a wider public. This material, published on paper and on the web-site in several languages, contains information about best practice projects in a given field, such as for example "Women and technical professions" or "Training and Healthcare".

Work on the completion and the improvement of the results database will continue.

From 2003 onwards, the selected projects will be required to create a web-site presenting progress and (interim) results on the Internet. Links will be established between these sites and the Community database.

5.3. Valorising the output of Leonardo da Vinci projects

Valorisation has been defined as the process of enhancing or optimising project outcomes through experimentation and exploitation with a view to increasing their value and impact.

An analysis of around 800 of the outcomes of the projects started in 1995, 1996 and 1997 has already been made. Analysis of the results of projects started in 1998 and 1999 is continuing as and when they become available.

A discussion document prepared by the Commission and containing a number of ideas that are intended to shape the future strategy for the valorisation of the products of Leonardo da Vinci has been discussed at a conference under the Spanish Presidency (Madrid 29-30 April 2002).

Some concrete proposals are made with a view to improving the conditions surrounding project development and increasing the transferability of project results into education and training systems and enterprise practices. The importance of creating links between monitoring, assessment and valorisation activities is highlighted.

A number of recommendations are made with a view to ensuring that project outcomes find their way into mainstream practice and that the lessons of the programme are transferred into policy development. Among the valorisation measures proposed are the establishment of links with other Community initiatives, the use of networks to exploit results, and the setting up of a co-ordination mechanism. Moreover it is stressed that responsibility for valorisation must be shared between the Commission and the Member States.

Two prior conditions for valorisation are identified: the development of clear quality criteria to be applied throughout the life cycle of a project and the active dissemination of its results. Effective information systems must be introduced at both European and national levels to broadcast the results of the programme, with the Commission taking the lead in establishing a proactive information policy.

A valorisation action plan will be drawn up by the end of 2002 and a thematic analysis of the first phase of the programme will be finalised.

6. Conclusion and Further Steps

The Council Decision of 1999 establishing the second phase provides a solid basis for remedying many of the structural deficiencies of the past. At the start of the second phase, all necessary programme structures were put in place by the Commission and the participating states for the benefit of the programme users.

* The policy framework provided by the Council decision and the 2000 call for proposal contributed to the development of European training policy in the perspective of lifelong learning. Thus, the programme provided a coherent and clear framework for the project promoters to develop their project ideas.

In the future, the Commission in co-operation with the Member States will further rationalise the programme objectives. The Commission will strengthen complementarity between Leonardo da Vinci and other related Community policies in the perspective of lifelong learning.

* The roles of the programme management structures have been clarified with the centralisation of political functions and the decentralisation of management functions. The Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee took the necessary measures to implement the programme. The national authorities with the help of the National Agencies managed the majority of the funds for the benefit of the end-users on the ground.

* The Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee has taken a number of decisions targeted towards the rationalisation, simplification and acceleration of management and procedures. Thus, the overall management costs remained modest, the payments to projects have been considerably accelerated, formal eligibility criteria have been simplified and the duration of the selection procedures, especially in the mobility action reduced.

The Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee will further rationalise procedures. The forthcoming programme evaluations, and in particular the findings of the external evaluation foreseen for 2003, will provide the elements for further optimising the procedures in accordance with the Council Decision.

Programme activities throughout 2000 and 2001 were particularly successful:

* The demand for mobility exceeded (in some cases three times) the available funds. Nevertheless, the programme was able to fund ca. 32 000 grantees per year, which is an increase of 40 % against the first programme phase.

* The procedure B pilot project measures were popular, demand exceeded supply here as well. Fewer but bigger projects were selected compared to 1995-99. Thus, all 496 procedure B and C projects selected promise to generate valuable results.

The Commission in co-operation with the programme Committee will take measures to strengthen the quality aspect of the projects. This is particularly relevant for the mobility measures, where an effort towards better documenting individual achievements will be made later in 2002. Lifelong learning will especially be strengthened in the procedure C projects.

As for project participation and targeting, available data suggest that

* the involvement of enterprises currently stands at 20 % of all partners and promoters with the SMEs being the third largest single type of organisation.

* the gender equal opportunities aspect is particularly relevant in the mobility measure with 55 % of all grantees being women.

* the legal conditions for the candidate country promoters is progressively equalising with those of the other countries; their participation in the different measures reflect their particular interests.

The Commission will in accordance with the Council Decision contribute to increase the participation of particular target groups and the candidate countries. As a first step, the forthcoming evaluations and studies will analyse appropriate measures to further enhance access to the programme for enterprises, women and candidate countries promoters.

* The dissemination of results from the first phase of the programme (1995-99) is currently underway. Several initiatives, among them a comprehensive database, have been launched and a strategic approach to dissemination with the Commission and the National Agencies closely co-operating.

* The collective thematic monitoring of the current projects has just started with the establishment of five thematic groups.

* The concept of valorisation of the output of all projects has been clarified by the Commission in co-operation with the Member States and is understood to mean the enhancing of project outcomes though experimentation and exploitation.

The Commission will in the near future increase its efforts to transfer programme outcomes into policy development. In the specific area of valorisation, an action plan will be drawn up by the end of 2002.

In summary, the first two years of implementing the second phase of Leonardo da Vinci has generally been efficient and effective. For the future, the Commission will, in close co-operation with the programme Committee, further optimise the potential of the programme in the perspective of lifelong learning and for the benefit of the user.

ANNEX 1

The following table is an overview of the programme activities in terms of input (ex-post budget) and output (number of mobility beneficiaries and number of projects):

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ANNEX II : Breakdown of financing (in EUR) per participating country and per measure (AGN = co-financing of National Agencies)

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