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International Relations

Posted By Heather Ette, 23 June 2017
Updated: 21 June 2017

Sharing Best Practice Across Europe – Work Ability

Sabina Trankmann, Chief Specialist at the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs said; “We are visiting the UK to acquire experience and new ideas regarding bringing people with reduced Work Ability to the job market and supporting them even better.

In 2016 the ‘Work Ability’ reform started in Estonia, which meant extensive changes for us in the field of appraising peoples' Work Ability, the payment of Work Ability support, and assisting people with reduced Work Ability in finding a job and being a larger part of society and their local community.

We are experts working in the Ministry of Social Affairs responsible for designing and developing Estonia's Work Ability policies, our current primary task is to ensure the successful implementation of the Work Ability reforms.

Since the UK made similar changes to its employment policies over the past few years, and Estonia partially based its approach to this element of social policy on UK experiences when launched in 2009, we would like to hear about the experiences of experts in the field regarding both good solutions as well as any mistakes made, difficulties in introducing changes, as well as handling setbacks and communicating the changes to those people that use the services.

We will meet with representatives of the Department of Work and Pensions to hear about their experiences, and we will also visit Jobcentre Plus to talk to their employees and listen to their view from the frontline.

We are also highly interested in the UK's practices in transferring some of these services over to the private sector, as we believe this to be one of the possible solutions in Estonia. With the assistance of the IEP we will be meeting several service providers from the private sector, all who are Members of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP), and we hope to gain valuable ideas for starting to develop this practice in Estonia. Our job in setting policy is often more theoretical, yet we find that practical experiences can be very valuable to us for the purpose of creating a functional system and avoid possible mistakes and learning from any challenges, issues faced and successes in the UK so far is invaluable as we start the next phase of our journey toward social and welfare reform.

The IEP and the Learning and Work Institute have also invited us to participate in the IntoWork Convention 2017, where many topics that are relevant and interesting to us will be discussed. We look forward to seeing you there.

We will be very busy on our visit with a full diary schedule planned but we expect to return home richer with really valuable knowledge gained.”

David Imber FIEP, PVRA said “I have had the privilege of working with colleagues in Estonia since the early years of their independence, helping them shape practice in employment support, and making some good friends among the very professional people there. For the IEP to extend this collaboration to include more experts from more sectors can only enhance our contribution, and, equally valuable, the learning we gain and the opportunities that we can create.”

Scott Parkin FIEP, Chairman of the Institute if Employability Professionals said; “We are really pleased to be welcoming colleagues from Europe to share their best practice and for us to be able to organise for them to meet interesting and knowledgeable professionals from all areas of policy and service delivery here in the UK. We expect to learn much from the experience and believe this will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship with experts from Estonia.

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Patrick Hughes says...
Posted 09 July 2017
This has been a great initiative by IEP. Interest declared: I was one of those invited to meet our Estonian colleagues. the dialogue was very positive, and it was truly striking how we found we had issues in common. In this case a large number of people on incapacity benefits for whom any positive help was seen as threatening. So it was good to talk about a more sensitive and positive assessment system, and the wider spectrum of help employment support can provide.
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