The 10th meeting of the ESF Transnational Thematic Network on Partnership took place in Bruges, Belgium from 27-28 September 2018. Organised by ESF Flanders, the meeting looked specifically at the involvement of social partners (employers and trade unions) in the ESF and at some of their partnership arrangements with public authorities.
The meeting began with a presentation from representatives of the Social Economic Council in Belgium-Flanders (SERV) on the social dialogue structure in Flanders and how partnership is represented in ESF-funded projects. Partnership-based projects on digitalisation and social innovation were highlighted.
Participants at the meeting also had the opportunity to hear about social responsibility initiatives managed in partnership from two enterprises in Flanders – the vocational training centre ‘Group Syntra West’ and ‘Volvocars’. Another initiative, ‘Business Parks’, was presented as an example of a partnership between companies concentrated in one location that are engaged in a variety of local collaborative arrangements. A representative from one of the main trade unions in Flanders (ACV) also provided an example of an ESF-funded project that has promoted transnational coordination between social services and trade unions to ensure the rights of mobile workers.
The meeting included a session on ‘appreciative inquiry’ and its use as a methodology for supporting inclusive and future-oriented models of working based on collaboration and positive values. Participants were also given follow-up training on building resilience and finding strategies for facing interpersonal and professional difficulties though support from the network.
At the end of the meeting, participants agreed upon the following work plan for the next 9 months: