Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Community initiative on employment and development of human resources: "Employment-INTEGRA" (improving access to the labour market and employability of vulnerable groups), 1996-1999

Programme funding

EUR 385 million

Official Journal Reference

C 200 of 1996-07-10
To promote measures to improve access to the labour market and the employability of those who find themselves excluded from it.


At its meeting on 8 May 1996, the Commission decided to establish a fourth strand of the EMPLOYMENT initiative aimed at improving access to the labour market and employability of vulnerable groups. The other three strands concern EMPLOYMENT-NOW (promoting equal opportunities for women), EMPLOYMENT-HORIZON (improving employment prospects for the disabled) and EMPLOYMENT-YOUTHSTART (promoting the integration of young people into the labour market.

INTEGRA promotes measures to improve access to the labour market and employability of those who find themselves excluded from it. It is aimed at the vulnerable groups who are at a severe disadvantage on the labour market due to lack of education, training or sufficient work experience and who require substantial support for their effective social and economic integration or reintegration.

A particular emphasis is to be given to actions which focus on the special needs of migrants, refugees and other similarly vulnerable groups. Greater emphasis is also placed on actions targeted at disadvantaged urban areas, where community-based approaches to the revitalization of neighbourhoods could be appropriately combined with job creation initiatives.


Eligible measures:

- Development of models, in particular on a transnational basis, for improving the accessibility and quality in the provision of the full range of public services for vulnerable groups and disadvantaged people and for developing grassroot capacities and community-based approaches to promoting the empowerment and full inclusion of these target groups. Activities include:
. Support for the creation or development of tailored advisory services and local development agencies to help create jobs for disadvantage people, particularly in the sectors where employment growth appears high;
. Occupational integration of disadvantaged people with the help of community infrastructure, information, advice and development of services;
. Support for the development and delivery of integrated community-based services targeted at vulnerable groups and disadvantaged people;
. Support for labour market actions aimed at public services personnel and the social partners with a view to promoting tolerance and combating discrimination in access to the labour market;
. Support for labour market-focused actions to build confidence and empower local groups to play an active part in the decision-making process related to training and support in project development and management, business communication skills, organization of community activities and other activities aimed at simulating dialogue between key actors in the public, private and voluntary sectors;
. Support for the implementation of flexible learning and training systems such as distance and interactive computer learning;
. Strengthening the cooperation and interaction between vocational schools, vocational training and enterprises for the implementation of new forms of on- and off-the-job training;

. Setting-up reception/guidance and employment centres, including places of transit, for multiple use, intended for the initial integration of refugees;

- Delivery, in particular through transnational cooperation, of training, including:
. Training of disadvantaged people in new skills and qualifications, especially for sectors where employment growth appears high and in areas of RTD and innovative technologies;
. Training of disadvantaged people (psychological and social rehabilitation, pre-training, upgrading of basic skills, retraining) preceded and accompanied by on-going assessment and counselling;
. Training or upgrading of skills and qualifications of all those active in this domain in order to improve their understanding and awareness in matters concerning the integration of disadvantaged people into sectors where employment growth appears high;

- Job creation and support, particularly on a transnational basis, for the start-up of enterprises, cooperatives and public-private partnerships, including:
. Job-creation measures designed to exploit local potential for developing new types of employment based on innovative approaches to the organization of work;
. Innovative approaches to reducing the labour costs for employers of groups with lower productivity in the labour market;
. Development of supported employment places and new employment schemes (through, for example, sheltered employment and cooperatives);
. Job-creation actions to facilitate integration into the labour market and to offset possible loss of benefits in the transition from a protected environment;
. Support to local employment initiatives including public-private partnerships and involving local communities in particular in sectors where employment intensive growth appears high;

- Information dissemination and awareness actions, including:
. Support for the wide dissemination of information on employment and training opportunities in a format accessible to disadvantaged groups;
. Actions to raise the awareness of the general public, the social partners and education, training and employment services personnel with regard to the employment potential of vulnerable groups and disadvantaged people, in particular through the publication of codes of good practice;
. Development and promotion of networks for peer support and self-help activity among vulnerable groups and disadvantaged people.


The activities under the INTEGRA programme are implemented as part of the Community initiative on employment and development of human resources (EMPLOYMENT), 1995-1999.

Actions under INTEGRA are jointly financed by the Member States, the Community and by enterprises and other bodies as appropriate. Where employees of companies take part in the various operations covered by the programme, the enterprise concerned is required to finance an appropriate portion of their participation costs. The programme is applicable to the whole territory of the Union, although particular emphasis is placed on the needs of the less favoured regions. A number of measures, therefore, only apply to priority regions (Objectives 1, 2 and 5b).

Proposals for support under INTEGRA are submitted by the Member States in the form of operational programmes or global grants. In accordance with the rules covering the Structural Funds, these proposals must include a general appreciation of the situation indicating the objectives to be attained and should include a timetable, criteria and procedures for implementation, monitoring and assessment. The proposals submitted by the Member States are approved by the Commission.

Community assistance to selected proposals under the EMPLOYMENT initiative is in the form of subsidies funded from a budget of ECU 1.835 billion, of which ECU 385 million is reserved for the implementation of actions under the INTEGRA programme.

The distribution of the resources between the Member States under the programme is based on the relative severity of structural problems including, in particular, relevant unemployment levels, as well as the quality of the proposals submitted for operational programmes and global grants. To encourage transnational operational programmes, two or more Member States may, on their own initiative or on the initiative of the Commission, present a single application for financial assistance.

Technical assistance under the programme may include the dissemination of information and other awareness actions, the provision of constancy and expert services, the creation or development of Community-wide networks to facilitate innovation and transnational cooperation, the development and sharing of databases on training and employment services and other aspects of labour market organization, etc.

Responsibility for implementing actions under the programme is entrusted to a single Monitoring Committee in each Member State. During and at the end of the planning period, the Commission will evaluate, in partnership with the Member States, the results of the programmes submitted. The Commission will use the targets specified by the Member States in their proposals as the main benchmark against which progress is to be assessed. The European Parliament, the Management Committee on the Community initiatives and the national Monitoring Committees must be fully informed of the results of these evaluations and the action taken in response to them.
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