An intersectoral skills passport with gamified skills assessment to train unemployed people for the new jobs market

Edited on 09/01/2024

Project proposal by

  • Institution : Municipality of Eindhoven
  • City : Eindhoven
  • Country : Netherlands
  • Type of region : More developed
  • Population : 243 723

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In the Netherlands, particularly in the Brainport Eindhoven region, a unique growth paradox exists. Despite high economic growth, there is an increasing gap in the labour market, particularly affecting the employability of the lower-educated workforce. Both supply and demand agencies have identified an urgent need for a structural transformation of the labour market.


In Eindhoven city alone there are over 6 000 people classified as unemployed, not including those with potential talent who do not rely on social assistance. The region faces a significant labour market challenge: a shortage of qualified personnel in low carbon technology development and installation. The region is in need of several thousand medium-educated professionals to work on transitioning to a hydrogen and electrified economy and to contribute to greening the urban environment. Additionally, there is a demand for workers in healthcare and industrial sectors. One of the region's strengths lies in design thinking, in product design and in process design.  


What SOLUTIONS did the Urban Innovative Action project offer?


The P4W (Platform for Work) project provides an innovative solution that applies proven principles to redesign the journey to (re)employment for the lower-educated workforce. This platform facilitates intersectoral transformation of the labour market, synergising with existing urban innovations like natural gas-free neighbourhoods and robotics. P4W ensures efficient collaboration among employers, job seekers, and the government through a user-friendly, cross-sectoral platform. P4W is an innovative platform that integrates 3 key solutions: 


  1. Developing an intersectoral skills passport, featuring a gamified assessment process. 

  1. Restructuring educational programmes to enhance skill development. 

  1. Enhancing the efficiency of time-to-employment and fostering employability. 


P4W has contributed to several significant changes: i) job seekers who are distant from the job market now possess a completed skills passport; ii) this skills passport is recognised and utilised as a recruitment foundation by employers; iii) job seekers have embarked on new, personalised educational pathways; and iv) job seekers are matched with employers in urban projects. 


P4W prioritises soft skills as a critical metric for evaluating employment potential. This approach has opened new avenues for matching individuals with specific job roles. The project’s focus was primarily on Intermediate Vocational Education levels in the Netherlands, aiming to optimise their integration into the workforce.  

What DIFFERENCE has it made at local level?


The 'Passport for Work' platform currently connects over 40 companies, with this number steadily increasing. The platform lists various job vacancies, and more than 600 job seekers have completed their 'Skillsprint'. The platform is now operational, and it has led to established partnerships with several educational institutions. The pilot phase is set to conclude this year, but the initiative will continue as a social business case. This model involves collaboration between private companies, the municipality, and operational partners in the labour market, such as the regional 'Huis naar Werk' institute, an employee insurance agency (UWV), and various social enterprises. 


The impact of the project is expanding. However, it should be recognised that the process is challenging due to its complexity and the multifaceted issues faced by the target groups. Addressing these challenges requires a nuanced understanding of their unique circumstances and the provision of tailored solutions.  

What PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES have been put in place for the project?


The P4W project was initiated with over 10 partners to ensure substantial involvement and a robust support base. Throughout the development and implementation phases, there was an active co-creation period with the engagement of all these partners. During this phase, they tested and integrated the platform within their own organisational services, thus benefiting their clients. The success of this collaboration was achieved by fostering close relationships and building a strong network of actors and stakeholders. This network was unified by shared interests, transcending the limitations of organisational silos. 


By capitalising on these relationships and common goals, the project team successfully navigated through challenges, enriching the outcomes. This approach also maximised the impact of this integrated and innovative project. The collaborative framework not only facilitated seamless execution but also ensured that its benefits were amplified and effectively distributed across all involved parties.

How does the project tackle different aspects with an INTEGRATED APPROACH?


The Municipal Urban Authority (MUA) is deeply engaged in an extensive labour market agenda, which includes a range of projects and initiatives. Maintaining the relevance and urgency of these efforts within the MUA is paramount. While these organisational structures present challenges, they also offer opportunities. Initially, there were difficulties in launching experiments that involved target users. However, these were effectively addressed with the city's support, anchored in the rationale of an integrated approach.


A coherent vision, endorsed by the city's various departments, is essential. This process demands considerable time and effort, particularly when key contacts undergo changes. The project’s vision emphasises the importance of aligning job opportunities with the needs of the local/regional economy, with a focus on roles critical to the energy transition, healthcare, and modern industries. This strategy has garnered the backing of several Brainport partners, aiding in the filling of relevant job vacancies. This approach also contributes positively to environmental objectives, by finding personnel for jobs related to the sewer system and the installation of new heat pump systems, solar energy systems, and hydrogen networks. These roles are instrumental in enhancing the region's visible environment, a key priority. Additionally, there is a growing recognition in Dutch society that a skills-based methodology can significantly enhance an integrated approach.


Why should other European cities use the solution the project explored?

Other European cities can adopt the project’s approach and utilise the P4W platform, although it will require certain modifications, such as language adaptation. Additionally, the project team are prepared to share their insights, encompassing the initial stages, development process, implementation, and the subsequent period of operational use. They are collaborating with various other projects across the Netherlands, each bringing their own valuable experiences that could benefit other European cities.