KEEP ascii version

Belgium (nl)

DP Managing organisation : nv Vso Werkholding / t-groep
Other national partners : UNIZO Vorming
Unie van zelfstandige ondernemers
EQUAL theme :Adaptability - Life long learning 
Type of DP :Sectoral - Industrial 
DP Legal status :Association without legal form 
DP identification :BEnl-31 
Application phase :Approved for action 2 
Selection date :21-06-2005 
Last update :18-08-2006 


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In 2002, 209,749 private companies were registered in Flanders and Brussels. 97.15% of these were small and medium-sized companies with less than 50 employees. Of these 203,777 SMEs 144,998 companies had less than 5 employees (69% of the total number). Employment in SMEs increased by 7,050 jobs during 2000 to 2002. During the same period, the number of jobs in large companies decreased by 16,598. We can say without doubt that employment in Flemish and Brussels SMEs plays an important role on the labour market.
In 2000 5% of the Belgian population was between 60 and 64 years old and 16.8% was older than 65. We can predict that the percentage of persons over 65 years of age will increase to 17.6% by 2010 and even to 26.1% by 2040. That means that one fourth of the Belgian population will be older than 65 within the next 35 years. These demographical reasons alone will cause the financial pressure on social security to increase strongly. Moreover, there are other reasons why Belgium should not wait to react.
In the European Employment Strategy (EES) particular attention is paid to the question of the increasing the employment rate: “The three major objectives of the EES from 2003 onwards are full employment, quality and productivity at work and social cohesion and integration. The objective of full employment is closely linked to increasing employment rates as agreed on at the Lisbon and Stockholm summits (employment rate of 70% by 2010, 60% for women and 50% for older persons). In order to realize these major objectives, structural reforms are required.”
In the new Flemish Action Plan for the European employment guidelines 2003 of the Flemish government and with the support of the social partners, a Flemish contribution to the European employment strategy is initiated.
General employment rates for persons over 45 years of age are dramatically low. Beside Luxemburg, Italy and Austria, Belgium is an EU member state with an employment rate of less than 30% among the population group between 55 and 64 years of age. The European average was 40% in 2002. For Belgium it was only 26%. Moreover, recent studies by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that the average retirement age in Belgium was 58.3 years for men and 56.9 years for women. Compared to other EU countries these figures are remarkably low.
Furthermore, the Belgian political climate is not ready for the full legal and structural reforms that are required to deal with this problem. That is why we need to look for alternatives such as e.g. the experimental skill pooling experiment. Since SMEs cannot afford the early retirement schemes large companies are eager to use, they are particularly enthusiastic to contribute to a solution.
In order to change the current large outflow of persons over 55 years of age, it is necessary to examine and deal with motivational factors during the ten preceding years, in other words to work with persons over 45 years of age. Research revealed that monotonous jobs and rigid working hours are the main factors that discourage older people to continue to work. To deal with this problem, we need to experiment with enrichment of the job content by job rotation, skill pooling and other techniques that will be inquired into during this project. Persons over 45 years of age also increasingly act as a 'godfather' or 'godmother' of younger employees. This formula also – provided there is professional guidance - appears to be successful.

During action 1 preparations are made to continue the development of
1. the planned actions: SME employers and employees must be provided with tools that allow them to adjust to an increased employment rate of older employees; these tools will be developed through a combination of investigating the legal framework and developing and conducting practice experiments linked to training.
2. the Flemish partnership
3. the transnational partnership

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1. Identification and research of the special conditions of the employment and ageing trend + exploration of the possibilities of new forms and/or preservation of long-term employability in SME s :
Legal studies (VSO Werkholding) will examine the legal framework within which a new tool to keep older employees on the job (Skill Pooling) can be developed.
It will be examined whether Skill Pooling provides sufficient guarantees to the candidates who participate in the project that their rights will remain to exist – as far as labor legislation (working conditions, accident insurance, seniority, extra-legal conditions, employment regulations etc.) and social security are concerned.
Study of literature, survey in the SME’s must result into a clear view on age structure, working conditions and career policy of the older worker in the SME.

2. Awareness raising and training for the employer and older employees in SME s :
In order to obtain a concern in the ‘age’-issue the employers and employees must be informed ( workshop, round tables discussions, training sessions, mailings, website, …).

3. Development of strategies for the improvement of personnel development /personnel recruitment processes in SME s with the special orientation to the preservation of employability of ageing work forces and the setting up of age-compatible work place.

4.Development and adaptation of instruments and tools for supporting HRmanagement of the SME :
Tools, such as Skill Pooling ( lend out older workers to other employers ) will be redesigned for use in SME’s. The specific needs and structures of the SME’s ask for specially adapted tool. In order to succeed change of attitude and awareness raising of the SME is essential. The collaboration of the partners : expertise and HR know how ( VSO Werkholding) and SME framework and knowledge ( UNIZO) must lead to a successful project
personnel development / personnel recruitment processes including the working out of a conception and testing of qualification schemes for coping with new demands made on age-compatible working conditions in small businesses.

5. Achievement of European added value : on the basis of the close co-operation between the
transnational project partners by means of mutual exchange of experience, joint development of strategies and concepts as well as the adaptation of the project results to the conditions and
possibilities in the respective other countries

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Nature of the experimental activities to be implemented Rating
Guidance, counselling ****
Training ****
Job rotation and job sharing ****
Employment aids (+ for self-employment) ****
Integrated measures (pathway to integration) ***
Employment creation and support **
Training of teachers, trainers and staff ***
Improvement of employment services, Recruitment structures **
Conception for training programs, certification ***
Anticipation of technical changes **
Work organisation, improvement of access to work places ***
Guidance and social services ***
Awareness raising, information, publicity ****

Type of innovation Rating
Process-oriented **
Goal-oriented ***
Context oriented **

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Binnen het project situeren de innovaties zich op verschillende niveaus.
Iedere subdoelstelling op zich bezit innovatieve aspecten:

1. Kennis verwerven over eindeloopbaanproblematiek bij de KMO werkgever en werknemer: specifieke cijfers, onderzoeken of literatuur over de deze problematiek bij de KMO werkgever en werknemer zijn tot nog toe onvoldoende aanwezig of onbestaand.

2. KMO-werkgevers bewust maken van de problematiek:
KMO Werkgevers en werknemers bewust maken van de problematiek: Hoewel debatten rond eindeloopbaan niet nieuw zijn, dringt zich in Vlaanderen een nieuwe urgentie op: mensen langer aan het werk te houden, in eenheid met de EU richtlijnen en om het voortbestaan van het sociale zekerheidsstelsel te garanderen. Alle sociale partners nemen hun verantwoordelijkheid hierin op via hun samenwerking via de adviesgroep. Ook de KMO's moeten op zoek gaan naar aangepaste methodes om deze doelstelling te kunnen bereiken. Gezien de kenmerken van het klein en middengroot bedrijf vraagt dit een innovatieve aanpak om maatwerk te kunnen aanbieden en om bepaalde typische KMO karakteristieken mee in rekening te brengen.

3. Aanbieden van concrete oplossingen aan KMO-werkgevers en werknemers: HRM tools en oplossingen worden vaak gemaakt op maat van grote bedrijven waardoor ze om verschillende redenen niet toepasbaar of minder efficiënt zijn op KMO niveau. HRM tools ontwikkelen vanuit een wetenschappelijke doelgroepstudie en testen bij de doelgroep moet de inzetbaarheid en efficiëntie van de aangereikte tools verhogen.

4. Aanbieden van voorstellen aan het beleid
De kwalitatieve en inhoudelijke opvolging van de innovatie zal gebeuren door middel van een stuurgroep die op geregelde en vaste tijdstippen samenkomt.

De stuurgroep zal zich laten bijstaan door een adviesgroep waarin plaats is voor experten op het vlak van human resources management en afvaardiging van werknemers.
Het UNIZO HRMM team zal eveneens zijn inbreng kunnen doen in de stuur- en adviesgroep: het HRM team is een denktank binnen UNIZO met interne en externe medewerkers waar men op zoek gaat naar aangepaste ontwikkeling van nieuwe HRM technieken voor KMO's. Op die manier ontstaat er een continue uitwisseling en worden de ideeën die binnen Keep zijn opgebouwd tevens gemainstreamed binnen het reguliere HRM team.

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Budget Action 2

250 000 – 500 000 €

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Assistance to persons 
Unemployed  0.0%  0.0% 
Employed  50.0%  50.0% 
Others (without status, social beneficiaries...)  0.0%  0.0% 
Migrants, ethnic minorities, …  0.0%  0.0% 
Asylum seekers  0.0%  0.0% 
Population not migrant and not asylum seeker  50.0%  50.0% 
Physical Impairment  0.0%  0.0% 
Mental Impairment  0.0%  0.0% 
Mental Illness  0.0%  0.0% 
Population not suffering from a disability  50.0%  50.0% 
Substance abusers 0.0%  0.0% 
Homeless  0.0%  0.0% 
(Ex-)prisoners  0.0%  0.0% 
Other discriminated (religion, sexual orientation)  0.0%  0.0% 
Without such specific discriminations  50.0%  50.0% 
< 25 year  0.0%  0.0% 
25 - 50 year  0.0%  0.0% 
> 50 year  50.0%  50.0% 

Assistance to structures and systems and accompanying measures Rating
Support to entrepreneurship *
Age ****

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 With beneficiaries

Promoting individual empowerment
Participation in the project design
Changing attitudes and behavior of key actors

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De KMO werkgevers en werknemers worden inherent in het project betrokken omdat zij basis zijn van het onderzoek en van het skill pooling concept. De implementatie en uitvoering van het skill pooling programma draagt in alle geval bij tot individuele empowerment van de werkgever en werknemer door middel van informatieoverdracht en bewustwording, coaching en begeleiding.

In de rapportering doorheen de verschillende projectfasen en over de projectresultaten zal steeds aandacht worden besteed aan de inbreng, feedback of opmerkingen vanuit het doelpubliek, de KMO werkgever en werknemer.

De KMO werknemer is duidelijk vertegenwoordigd door afvaardiging van de representatieve vakbonden in de adviesgroep. De projectpartners zetelen mee in de adviesgroep waardoor de informatie-doorstroom van projectresultaten naar werknemersvertegenwoordigers optimaal zal gebeuren. Idem voor de adviserende input die vanuit de werkgeversvertegenwoordigers wordt gegeven.


 Between national partners

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Alle betrokken projectpartners zetelen in de stuurgroep. Beslissingen omtrent het verloop van het project worden gezamenlijk genomen en houden rekening met :
- de ontwikkeling en resultaten van de verschillende projectfases en de vooropgestelde subdoelstellingen
- de input die zij krijgen vanuit de verschillende projectgroepen
- de adviezen van de adviesgroep

De stuurgroep komt op vastgelegde en geregelde tijdstippen samen.

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 Percentage of the budget for transnational activities

  • 10.0%

 Transnational Co-operation Partnerships

Transnational Co-operation Agreement DPs involved
3692 Power of Generations DE XB4-76051-20-BE/215
IT IT-G2-LOM-040
PL 54

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 Involvment in previous EU programmes

  • Two and more partners involved in A&E

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National Partners

Partner To be contacted for
nv Vso Werkholding / t-groep Co-ordination of experimental activities
Design of the project
DP managing organisation
Monitoring, data collection
Transnational partnership
UNIZO Vorming
Unie van zelfstandige ondernemers

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Agreement Summary

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De Vlaamse samenwekringsovereenkomst en de raamovereenkomst zijn consulteerbaar op het ESF-agentschap.

Development Partnership Agreement

Last update: 18-08-2006 dot Top

nv Vso Werkholding / t-groep

Gasthuisstraat 31 bus 2
1000 Brussel


Responsibility in the DP: Co-ordination of experimental activities
Design of the project
DP managing organisation
Monitoring, data collection
Transnational partnership
Type of organisation:Other
Legal status:Private
Date of joining / leaving:30-06-2004 /

Contact person(s)

Name First name Phone E-mail Responsibility
Van Herreweghe Els +32092438859 project coordinator

Last update: 18-08-2006 dot Top

UNIZO Vorming

(New Partner 1)
Spastraat 8
1000 Brussel


Responsibility in the DP:
Type of organisation:Employers' organisation
Legal status:Non-profit private organisation (including NGO...)
Size:Staff 10-50
Date of joining / leaving:30-06-2004 /

Contact person(s)

Name First name Phone E-mail Responsibility
Boulogne Jan +32022380716 directeur

Last update: 18-08-2006 dot Top

Unie van zelfstandige ondernemers

spastraat 8
1000 Brussel


Responsibility in the DP:
Type of organisation:Employers' organisation
Legal status:Non-profit private organisation (including NGO...)
Size:Staff < 10
Date of joining / leaving:04-02-2005 /

Contact person(s)

Name First name Phone E-mail Responsibility
Castryck Karen +32022380716 projectverantwoordelijke

Last update: 18-08-2006 dot Top



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