Productive employment and decent work are crucial to realising an economy that works for the people, achieving sustainable development, poverty reduction, and social cohesion. At the same time, the EU recognises that a severe decent work deficit persists worldwide, especially in global supply chains in many parts of the world, ranging from serious violations of freedom of association to poor working conditions (EU Trade Strategy, 2021).

The global crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic further underscores how access to sustainable jobs, living wages and decent working conditions is important. In 2021, the worldwide shortfall of employment increased by 144 million jobs. The crisis has also affected more disproportionately certain groups of workers, particularly informal workers who represented. According to the, roughly 2 billion workers, or 60.1 per cent of the globally employed in 2019, according to the nternational Labour Organisation (ILO)). Second, women have suffered disproportionate job losses while seeing their unpaid working time increase. The crisis threatens to jeopardise progress on gender equality. Third, the crisis has affected many young people at a critical moment in their lives, disrupting their education and transition from school or university to work.

In parallel, global trends are rapidly transforming the world of work. Technological advances, the environmental and climate crisis, demography, as well as globalisation are drivers for this development. These transformations have the potential to generate economic growth and create new job opportunities, but in some instances, they can contribute to lowering labour standards or decline in working conditions.

The ILO defines decent work as "the productive work for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity”. Expanding the number of decent jobs worldwide is an objective, in parallel to combating child labour and forced labour.

EU Strategic Priorities relative to decent work and vocational education and training in partner countries

The New European Consensus on Development recognizes that "creating decent jobs, particularly for women and youth is essential for inclusive and sustainable growth", in line with the EU's global commitments to the 2030 Agenda. The EU and its Member States also “promote education at secondary and tertiary level, technical and vocational training, and work-based and adult learning, including in emergency and crisis situations”.

The above strategic priorities regarding employment and skills development build upon EU long-term support to promoting decent work and vocational education within its development agenda. The 2006 Communication from the Commission regarding Decent Work, states that “action must be taken to create an environment which is conducive to national and foreign investment in the creation of jobs at the local level, improve governance, including the social dialogue, establish a legal and regulatory framework to protect workers and ensure equality between men and women, establish viable systems of social protection, education and lifelong learning, ensure legal certainty for businesses, reduce corruption and establish fair rules for competition".

Sector Guidance

The results chain for EU-funded interventions on Employment and VET contributes to attaining SDG 4 and 8 and the ILO Decent Work Agenda. It is also in line with the rights-based approach of the EU. In particular, gender equality, the fight against child labour and forced labour and the inclusion of the rights of young people, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups such as Indigenous Peoples, migrant workers and informal workers, are embedded as cross-cutting themes. Gender Equality also has a dedicated outcome in the chain in line with the provisions of the EU Gender Action Plan III. This approach responds to EU pledges that:

The results chain diagram links job creation and employment to the support for a better-skilled workforce, linking skills development to the needs and demands of emerging economic sectors, thus harnessing the support provided for VET to the EU's ambitions to foster the green and digital transitions. In this respect, the 2019 Communication "European Green Deal" recognises that "the circular economy offers great potential for new activities and jobs" while at the same time "pro-active re-skilling and upskilling are necessary to reap the benefits of the ecological transition". This logic also applies to the EU external actions in its partner and neighbourhood countries, where "the EU's international cooperation and partnership policy should continue to help channel both public and private funds to achieve the transition" (ENP).

The 16 outputs in the results chain diagram encompass four areas of work:

  • "policy development and implementation",
  • "entrepreneurship, business development and public investment",
  • "institutional capacity building, skills development and dialogue", and
  • "compliance" with labour standards.

They directly contribute to nine medium-term outcomes in line with the pillars of the ILO Decent Work agenda: standards and rights at work, employment creation and enterprise development, social protection and social dialogue.

The results chain diagram for Employment and VET avoids duplications, while at the same time promoting synergies with the guidance defined for the sectors of Social Protection, Jobs and Growth (Business Environment Reform and Education), Green Deal (Circular Economy and Green Economy), Digital Transition (Digitalisation) and Gender Equality. We hope it will be helpful to you in the design of logframes and intervention logic.


Policy and Strategic Documents

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