Commissioner Padraig Flynn announced on 25 May 1995 that the Commission had approved 14 operational programmes under the new ADAPT Community initiative for the adaptation of the workforce to industrial change. The programmes will cover the period 1995 to 1999. The programmes will attract European Social Fund assistance of over ECU 1,400 million. They concern all Member States with the exception of Austria, Sweden and Finland. It is expected that programmes for these countries will be adopted in September. Launching the new programmes, Commissioner Flynn said that Europe's industries were now facing new methods of production and work practices. Trading patterns and future success would hinge on the ability to adapt to those changes. According to Mr. Flynn, about 80% of current productive technology will be obsolete by the end of the century while 80% of those who will operate the new replacement technologies are already in employment. The ADAPT initiative is specifically aimed at encouraging a pro-active approach to improving the adaptability of the labour force by anticipating the changing skills and qualification needs arising from industrial change. It is targeted at workers who risk unemployment due to industrial change, who have been given notice due to imminent restructuring, or are temporarily unemployed. Nearly 600,000 people will benefit from ADAPT. The four interrelated objectives of ADAPT are: - To promote the adaptation of the workforce to industrial change: Anticipating future trends, and training the workforce accordingly, will ensure that workers in employment have the necessary job skills to keep pace with current and future industrial change; - To increase the competitiveness of industry, services and commerce: Adapting workers to the new needs arising from industrial change will help to strengthen the competitiveness of firms. The net result of introducing new technologies and production systems will be a better use of resources, lower costs and improved product quality. Since innovation cannot take place without suitably trained personnel, successfully adapting the workforce to change is an important way of increasing competitive advantage; - To improve qualifications, increase flexibility and mobility in order to prevent unemployment: The aim of the ADAPT initiative is to safeguard existing jobs. If companies fail to introduce the necessary changes, ensure adequate skill levels for the workforce and increase their competitiveness, their very existence is threatened; - To anticipate and accelerate the creation of new jobs and new activities, especially among SMEs: ADAPT seeks not only to safeguard existing jobs but also to stimulate the creation of new jobs. It is essential, particularly for SMEs, to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by the emergence of new markets and the development of new activities in order to increase employment potential. To meet these objectives, the projects developed and supported under ADAPT must be transnational (reflecting the fact that ADAPT is a policy instrument with a genuine Community dimension) and innovatory (in terms of their technical content, and also in terms of outcomes) so that the lessons learned can be applied elsewhere and be incorporated into mainstream programmes or other national policies. In practical terms, Commission approval of the operational programmes enables the Member States to invite the submission of projects over the coming months (closing date: 15 September) leading to the launch of projects in November.