Organizing participative learning processes and vocational trainings aimed at personal capacity building and empowerment is one of the foundations of social economy organizations. Social economy organizations are very often considered, at EU level, as mere instruments aiming at integrating less skilled workers into the labor market. If this is indeed an important task of many social economy organizations, espcacially the so-called “wise’s” (work insertion social enterprises), this cast a shadow on an important dimension of many social economy enterprises, which are delivering high quality goods and services. When both objectives are pursued, then the only way to reconcile them is investing in training and life long learning. Further exchange and knowledge building on non formal learning systems is needed.
The Lisbon insistence on “knowledge” economy has been replaced by another insistence on “smart” growth. Keeping pace with innovation requires indeed not only knowledge, but also research and training. However, the focus on “intensive” (academic, high tech) knowledge and on high-skilled jobs should not refrain from also developing “extensive” (practical) knowledge, aiming at promoting basic skills for the many. Only then can we more fully tap into our human potential.
In the new EU strategy and in the recent single market act, training, including vocational training, and life-long learning are seen as means towards growth and employment rather than as essential ways towards social cohesion. In the present demographic context, a better balance should be struck between economic and social objectives. Social economy enterprises are key players in this respect. To be successful, further initiatives are needed to transfer and export knowledge, based on the values of the social economy.
Social economy enterprises must work on their visibility that will lead to recognition at different institutional level as well the other actors of the economy
The WS proposes the creation of a joint working group SPC EMCO, asks for the integration of social economy in NAP and integration in structural funds
Innovation should be promoted within the sector, for example through specific fundings as social innovation could lead to a better achievement of the social objectives and empowerment of the citizens, better research and development strategy and more local sustainable job creation and innovation in the innovation in governance represents a model for regular enterprises
Social clauses are possible and should be promoted through exchange of practices and learning programs intended for civil servants and social economy enterprises