In Moldova, decreasing activity and employment rates for all age groups, especially young people, are characteristic features of the labour market. The NEET (young people neither in employment, education or training) rate was as high as 27.1 per cent in 2018. Employment in the informal economy remains pervasive among youth, affecting approximately one-quarter of them. Young people living in rural areas are more likely to be unemployed or to work under precarious terms of employment.
The Cahul district of Moldova is a predominantly agricultural region bordering Romania with 30,000 inhabitants. It faces complex labour market challenges. Informal and domestic work is typical among the population and young people as well as women are especially affected by precarious jobs. Employment opportunities and education or training opportunities linked to the needs of enterprises are scarce. The situation led to massive immigration from Cahul.
Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs) is an innovative job creation model created by the European Union and successfully adapted and implemented by the ILO in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where 550 new jobs were created by 2019. LEP is based on “negotiated” planning: multiple local players concerned with labor market challenges in their community forge partnerships to come up with solutions adapted to local circumstances.
LEPs are piloted for the first time in Moldova. The main goal of the project is job creation and transition to formal employment for young people at risk of social exclusion, and the unemployed.
The LEP will aim at creating and formalizing approximately 260 jobs and launching about 100 start-ups in sectors with job-creation potential such as beekeeping, creative industries and crafts. Local producers welcome the initiative. Dumitru Zaporojan, a local craftsman and LEP beneficiary, says: "With this partnership, we will be able to diversify our range of products according to customer needs and find new outlets."
The LEP in the Cahul district is designed and implemented by the tripartite Territorial Commission for Consultation and Collective Bargaining (TCCCB), a social dialogue platform that brings together local public authorities, trade unions, and employers’ associations. This platform acts as a catalyst to convene players, identify the territory’s employment challenges and suggest concrete actions that address the barriers to job creation and transition from informal to formal employment.
Additionally, the LEP in Cahul works with about 20 public and private partners at the national and local levels, including civil society organizations, financial institutions, educational and training institutions, the employment service, producers’ associations, enterprises and investors. The total budget is 400,000 USD, with a contribution of 180,000 USD from the ILO and 15,000 USD from local actors. The Moldovan Small and Medium Enterprises Agency (ODIMM) will contribute another 205,000 USD in form of grants. This amount will support business development and enterprise creation by young people from vulnerable environments.
The President of the TCCCB, Mr. Vlad Casuneanu, explained that the reduced opportunities for economic development and employment, migration and poverty led to problems on the labor market in Cahul. “Through this partnership, we will create better conditions for the social-economic development of the district, with an important impact on employment and formalization of the labor force”.