- response to COVID-19
- Fostering mobility
The Competence Development Fund in Industry
This measure is available to employees with 12 months of work experience in a company under the Industrial Agreement concluded by the Central Organisation of Industrial Employees (CO-industri) and the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI). Once a company agrees to the collective agreement regulating the training fund, it is obliged to contribute to the fund. The amount is DKK 520 (€70) annually per employee.
To face the COVID-19 pandemic, The Regional Labour Market Councils (RAR) and the Danish Agency for Labor Market and Recruitment (STAR) launched the 'Job-VET-model', an instrument providing companies with funds to pay the wages of workers attending e-learning courses.
The instrument was first launched in the service, tourism, hotel and restoration industries, and then the construction and offshore industries were added. At the same time, several other industries are on their way to be included.
An education course may be taken by employees at the request of the enterprise or as part of an education plan made in the enterprise. Employees with nine months of experience in the company are entitled to full pay (often for two weeks per year) while attending the training. The companies involved pay the salary of the employee and cover the training fees. In addition, the individual employee is entitled to participate in an individual 'clarification of competence' course.
Collective agreements provide for the establishment of a Competence Development Fund for Industry, to which employers will contribute. The funds will be used to finance the employees' wages while they complete two weeks of training.
The 'job-VET-model' consists of e-learning programmes targeting specific industries, and implemented by social partners, educational institutions and The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment.
Companies that join the programme receive up to 100% of the wage costs while employees participate in distance education. The salary is covered by the VEU-allowance and may be supplemented by funds from the collective agreement on Competence Development Fund.
- National funds
COVID-19 response: the instrument is funded by the national VEU-allowance.
Employer or employee organisations
Based on a social partner agreement, the pace-setting Industrial Agreement, agreed between the Central Organisation of Industrial Employees (CO-industri) and the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI).
COVID-19 response: the resources available for the instrument can be supplemented by funds from the collective agreement on Competence Fund.
Funded by the companies in the sector.
The fund was introduced in the Industrial Agreement concluded between CO-industri and DI in 2007. The lack of knowledge about the fund resulted in very few applications to the fund during the first years. Since 2010, the number of applications has increased and peaked so far in 2013 and 2015, with 16,000 applicants in both years.
This number was exceeded by around 20% in 2017 (20,178 applicants), which was the new year of record for the use of the fund. In relation to this a surprising decline by 25% took place in 2018 where only 14,576 employees applied. (CO-industris Årsrapport 2018).
At the renewal of the collective agreement in 2020, it was agreed that the pilot scheme in force during the 2017-2020 period, with the possibility of supporting the companies from the Industry Competence Development Fund (IKUF) for the employees' agreed training, is now permanent.
The scheme targets workers with rights to upskilling; it strengthens both internal and external functional flexibility and mobility (author's comment). The scheme got renewed attention in relation to the serious effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the labour market. There is a strong focus on competence develeopment through education. Thus, the social partners in industry behind the Competence Development Fund are part of an initiative called 'COVID-19 the job-adult and further training model' (Covid-19 Job-VEU modellen) that focuses on retention of employees through qualifying education and increased competences. The other partners behind the initiative are the Regional Labour Market Councils and The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR).
It took a long time for the scheme to be known - and used - by the companies in the industry sector although skills development has always been a hot topic among social partners.
However, in 2019 the social partners behind the Competence Development Fund in Industry (The Central Organisation of Industrial Employees (CO-industri) and the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) established a new consultancy service with the aim to help the companies covered by the Industrial Agreement get started with training supported by the Development Fund. The consultancy service consists of three consultants that visit industrial companies across the country and talk about the possibilities of agreed training in accordance with the Development Fund. The project runs for two years and DKK 3.55 million (€ 0.48 millionHowever, ) is set aside to finance the project.