Interview with Evagoras Prokopiou
The country's Human Resources Development Authority is going through a new creative period, with the expectation that it will meet its mission for the development of the domestic human resources. In the interview he gave us & nbsp; Giannis Mourouzidis, General Manager of HRDA, states that the authority is running quite & nbsp; programs and is expected to announce new plans in the near future under the “th.al.e.ia” 2021-2027 and & nbsp; the recovery and resilience plan. He also makes special mention of “Hermes” who gives wings to the process of digitization of the Authority.
What is the mission and the main goal of HRDA? When was it created and how many employees does it employ ?
The HRDA is a legal entity under public law. & Nbsp; Reported to the Government through the Minister of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance. & Nbsp; The total number of its vacancies is 95, of which 20 are vacancies. & Nbsp; In addition, 9 employees are employed with an indefinite contract. The mission of the HRDA is to create the conditions for planned and systematic training and development of the human resources of Cyprus, at all levels and in all sectors, with the exception of the self-employed and civil servants, to meet the needs of the economy within social and economic policy of the state. The strategic goals of the HRDA for the three years 2022-2024, in order to fulfill its role and achieve its mission, are the following:
Upgrading the human resources of the place with the continuous and lifelong learning of the employed, the unemployed and the inactive potential, with emphasis on the young, the older and less qualified and the long-term unemployed.
Improving productivity , strengthening the competitiveness and developing the resilience of Cypriot companies through the improvement of adaptability and the better utilization of their human resources.
Enhancing the quality assurance and effectiveness of the training and human resource development system through the evaluation and certification of the training provided, the strengthening of control systems and procedures, as well as the knowledge, skills and professional qualifications of the local human resources.
What are the HRDA funding sources to provide these grants?
The main source for financing the training and development activities of the human resources is the Human Resources Development Fund. & Nbsp; Every employer, except the Government, is obliged to pay to the Fund a fee amounting to 0.5% of the earnings of its employees. & Nbsp; In addition, the HRDA utilizes funds from the European Union in the case of co-financed projects. operation the digital portal of HRDA, “Hermes”. Is there a response to its use by citizens?
In order to modernize and improve the way it operates as well as to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the services it provides, the HRDA has developed and put into operation the new digital portal “Hermes”.
The digital portal “Hermes” provides easy access with simple procedures, to all Plans and Systems of HRDA, satisfying the increased needs of our time and the demand of other factors of vocational training as well as all its partners, such as companies, Vocational Training Centers (KEK), Vocational Training Structures (VET), the employed and the unemployed, for easy submission of requests, timely information, efficiency, speed and prompt service.
The digital portal “Hermes” guides the user in each step, first for the processing of his registration and then for the easy and fast submission of requests, their management as well as the monitoring of their evolution.
At this stage, the digital portal “Hermes”, to which users have access both through the HRDA website (www.anad.org.cy) and directly at the website https://ermis.anad.org.cy , provides the opportunity to register as an entity as well as to acquire the available roles (Employer, ECJ, KEK, Professional Qualifications Assessment Center (KAEP) etc.). & nbsp; Additionally, from January 1, 2022, the “Business Staffing Plan with Higher Education Graduates” and the “Long-Term Unemployed Training Plan in Businesses/Organizations” have joined and started operating through the digital portal.
In 2022, all the Plans and Systems of HRDA are expected to be included in the digital portal “Hermes” and all interested parties will be informed in a timely manner. The public responds to the invitation of the HRDA to subscribe to the digital portal “Hermes”. & Nbsp; Indicatively, it is mentioned that, by the end of January 2022, 3,135 natural persons, 626 legal entities, 191 KEK, 218 DEK and 127 employers have been registered. & Nbsp; In addition, 31 applications have been submitted for the approval of a training program within the two Plans that were put into operation.
BRAKE FOR A LITTLE SEP
How much is the Qualifications System (SEP) evolving well, what are the biggest challenges and what are the next steps?
The evolution of PCT, which is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ECB) during the programming period 2014-2020, has been steadily increasing until today, although we want more people to participate in the system. & Nbsp; There has been increased interest from centers for the certification of professional qualifications of interested parties, with the exception of the last two years due to problems from the coronavirus pandemic. & Nbsp; To date, the professional qualifications of 3,300 people in various fields have been certified. & Nbsp; As expected, a large number of certifications concern the field of vocational training, a field very important for the activities of HRDA. & Nbsp; A recent PCT assessment by the HRDA found that a very large percentage of PCT participants were particularly satisfied with their participation and the benefits they gained.
One of the challenges facing PCT is the increase of certifications and the greater recognition of the importance and value of PCT certificates in the Cypriot environment, so that their holders have better employment prospects and opportunities for development. & Nbsp; The effort to include PCT certificates in the criteria for obtaining a license to practice in regulated professions is a step in this direction. & Nbsp; In some professions, PCT certificates have been defined as the only qualification for a license to practice the profession.
Updating existing and developing new professional qualifications (RF) standards, on the basis of which the assessment for certification is made, so that they meet a wide range of economic needs, is an equally important challenge for HRDA. & Nbsp; To this end, the HRDA has already developed 167 RDPs, which will be made public in the coming months.
THE PROGRAMS AND ACTIONS OF THE AUTHORITY
What programs is the HRDA currently running and what can we expect in the future?
The HRDA, based on its Strategic Plan for the period 2022-2024, operates a significant range of activities. With the aim of integrating the unemployed into employment, the HRDA implements focused training actions for active employment support, as follows:
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Special Vocational Training Plan for the Unemployed in Organizations of the Public and Wider Public Sector, Local Authorities, Non-Governmental Organizations and Non-Profit Institutions
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Business Staffing Plan for Higher Education Graduates
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Long-Term Unemployment Training Plan in Businesses/Organizations
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Unemployed Training Programs
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Multi-Business Training Programs – Usual: & nbsp; Unemployment participation
The HRDA Plans that are in force and can be utilized by employees with the approval of their employers, are the following:
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp ; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Single Operational Training Programs in Cyprus/Single Operational Training Programs in Cyprus (State Aid)
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Single Business Training Programs Abroad
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Multi-Business Training Programs – Typical
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Multi-company Training Programs – Vital
In addition, as I have already mentioned, the HRDA operates the PCT, which provides the opportunity to those who wish to assess their knowledge, skills and abilities on the basis of a Standard, regardless of how they are acquired, in real working conditions and/and simulation conditions, in order to certify their professional qualifications. & nbsp; The Professional Qualifications Standards (RQ) define the framework for the training and development of the individual. & Nbsp; The PCT is an integral part of the National Qualifications Framework (CyQF) of Cyprus, which has been linked to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
In addition to the continuation and enrichment of the existing Plans, the design and implementation of new Plans is planned, which have been included in the Recovery and Sustainability Plan 2021-2026 (SAA) and in the Cohesion Policy Program “TH.ALEIA” 2021-2027.
The projects included in the SAA are:
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp ; & nbsp; Training programs for the employed and unemployed for the acquisition of digital skills
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Training programs for the employed and the unemployed to acquire knowledge and skills related to the green economy
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Training programs for the employed and unemployed to acquire knowledge and skills related to the blue economy
• & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; Unemployment training programs for acquiring entrepreneurial knowledge and skills
The projects of HRDA that have been included in the Program “TH.ALEIA” 2021-2027 concern the Individual Learning Accounts (ALM) and the Training Programs for young people aged 15-29 who are out of education, employment or training (NEETs) to acquire basic knowledge and skills.
Is there a response from citizens, both employees and employers to participate in the Authority's programs? Is there evidence or feedback on the success or failure of the programs in the long run? 3 million, and the participation in actions for the integration of the unemployed in employment amounted to about 2,000 with expenses of € 7.1 million.
The Plan with the largest participations of employees, is the Single Business Training Programs in Cyprus, with the number of participations reaching approximately 26,800, while from the Plans which are addressed to the unemployed, the largest participations are found in the Business Staffing Plan with Tertiary Graduates with 800 about entries. & nbsp;
A high priority activity for the HRDA is the evaluation of its activities, aiming at accountability, accountability and transparency regarding the effects of its interventions on human resources, companies, but also on the economy and society of Cyprus in general. & Nbsp; For this reason, the HRDA has developed a system for documenting its contribution as well as assessing the impact of its interventions on participating companies and trainees. & Nbsp; In this context, it conducts on a regular basis studies evaluating the impact of its activities, which include field research on participants and businesses. & Nbsp; Based on the results of the evaluation studies, actions are promoted aimed at improving, enriching and upgrading its activities.
What are “Individual Learning Accounts”. What is the purpose of such a policy?
The new European policy for the period 2021-2027 has set ambitious quantitative targets, among which is the participation of 120 million citizens in learning annually. & Nbsp; To this end, it is necessary to develop the necessary tools that will enable everyone to acquire skills throughout their lives. & Nbsp; The development of a culture of lifelong learning is possible, inter alia, through the creation of “Individual Learning Accounts (LLLs)”. Θ.Αλ.Ε.Ι.Α »2021-2027.
ALM will provide credits to eligible groups of employed and unemployed people to attend training programs to acquire new knowledge and skills and/or upgrade existing knowledge and skills. & Nbsp; They aim to promote lifelong learning by providing opportunities for flexible promotion of knowledge and skills upgrades while preventing social exclusion.
Through ALM, individuals will gain access to training programs on a wide range of topics within the Multi-Operational Training Programs – Regular of the HRDA. & Nbsp; Emphasis will be placed on training programs that lead to the acquisition of knowledge and skills for specific occupations based on the needs of the labor market, especially in the green and blue economy as well as the development of digital skills.
FLEXIBILITY AND KNOWLEDGE IN PANDEMIC OVERSEASING
How did the pandemic affect the HRDA, what were the biggest challenges and how did you deal with them?
Among the biggest challenges facing the Cypriot economy, in the difficult conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic, is the maintenance of employment. & Nbsp; Government emergency measures have helped maintain employment, reduce unemployment, improve productivity and business resilience, and create the right conditions for sustainable and green growth. & Nbsp; The HRDA also plays an important role in this effort by developing a modern and flexible training system, which adapts to the rapid changes and developments in the labor market.
The HRDA, aware of the difficulties created by the coronavirus pandemic in Cyprus and in order to contribute, within its responsibilities and activities, to the effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, but also to continue the implementation of training activities, promoted the use of distance learning e-learning from training program organizers. In addition, the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance (YEPKA) through the HRDA, in the context of the Government's policy to reduce unemployment, promote employment, through the creation of new and sustainable jobs and training of the unemployed, and facilitating young people access to employment, October 2020 two Special Plans.