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Evaluation: Employment Market Integration in the Region of Aargau Süd

Background and aims

Globalisation and rationalisation lead to an increase in the qualification requirements of employees and a reduction in low-threshold employment positions. Individuals with disabilities, poorly educated individuals, foreigners lacking language and cultural skills and young people with no professional training are the most affected by these developments. There are various authorities currently responsible for integrating these people into the labour market. The hypothesis is that present-day provisions for labour market integration in the region are poorly coordinated and transition between integration areas is insufficiently adapted to allow these integrative aims to be attained systematically.Nine communes within the district of Kulm (Birrwil, Burg, Gontenschwil, Leimbach, Oberkulm, Schmiedrued, Reinach, Unterkulm, Zetzwil) and the 'aargauSüd' economic association launched a project at the end of 2007 under the motto “Work for all who can work”. The project aims to convey awareness about the current regional situation and thus identify duplications and loopholes in the integration programme. It also delivers methods of resolution, which then serve as the basis for decision-making by the communes.


Various forms of enquiry were employed using the triangulation technique. This allowed both qualitative methods (guided interviews) and quantitative methods (written questionnaires) to be engaged. A total of 63 people were questioned. These represented the nine commissioning communes, the schools around Homberg and Mittleres Wynetal, the cantonal Office for Economy and Labour, the regional employment centre, the Aargau institute for unemployment insurance funds, the Helsana insurance company, the canton's vocational training college, the vocational training and secondary school division of the Aargau Department of Education, Culture and Sport, the careers and training advisory service, the 'Wendepunkt' foundation and the 'Stollenwerkstatt' and 'HEKS LernWerk' associations. Particular attention was paid to the questioning of business and industry representatives from the region.


The majority of those questioned saw possible hindrances in searching for training or employment positions in the following areas: age of the applicant (adolescents and those over 50), socio-demographic background (particularly migration), educational qualifications (type of certificate, type of school) and the degree of physical or psychological impairment. With respect to successful integration into the labour market, those questioned graded employee motivation and the social competencies of applicants more important than an actual physical / psychological impairment. The results also show that the current offer of simple employment and low-level training & employment positions in the primary labour market falls considerably below that of demand.Inter-institutional collaboration in the region is considered worthy of improvement. Collaboration with the regional employment centre and the invalidity insurance office was described by many of those questioned (particularly the communes) as being difficult. The reason for this dissatisfaction was the invalidity insurance office's often long decision-making process and the regional employment centre's inability to transfer case information due to the data protection act.Economic cooperation is also considered worthy of improvement. The wish for a regional coordination office as a point of contact for job placement in the region was expressed repeatedly. An existing regional vessel such as the 'aargauSüd' economic association would be a suitable organising institution.Questioned representatives from the business and industry sector reacted positively to the integration of persons with special support needs into the labour market. There was, however, considerable insecurity expressed with regard to the treatment of people with disabilities and impairments in the work place. There is a wish for support during the training period and with the accompanying of the special support needs employee. There is also a wish for support when dealing with those special needs employees who will be absent from work for long periods of time due to illness-related issues.

The results of the project support the thesis that there is a need in the region to improve the labour market situation for people with particular difficulties. The project's advisory group recommends that the communes review their social policies with a view to integrative labour market incentives and implement provisions to actively support practical integration.




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