More labour participation in Limburg
Marleen van Rijnsbergen (member of the Limburg Provincial Executive), Martin Paul (UM Executive Board chair) and Theo Thuis (director) launched the ambitious programme 4Limburg. Economic growth in Limburg is starting to take its toll on the labour market. While the Brightlands campuses form a powerful growth engine that generate new employment opportunities, the province is experiencing a profound shortage of highly trained staff at all levels and many people are without work. For this reason, five professors from four faculties at Maastricht University launched the large-scale and multi-year programme 4Limburg. Much like the Social Agenda for Limburg, this programme aims to break the labour participation trend and inject some much-needed vitality into the province. Limburg has been involved from the start and will support 4Limburg with a one million euro investment in the first year.
4Limburg aims to improve vitality and labour participation in Limburg by assessing ongoing socioeconomic projects and developing them further through experiments and activities carried out in collaboration with various partners. In concrete terms, this means the project will identify and track 20,000 young people who are not currently working or enrolled in a training programme. These young people will be offered real job opportunities through existing projects like Talent in Bedrijf. To further support the existing methods used to address early school leavers, a research model will be used as an early detection method to identify young people with an increased risk of leaving school early and measures will be implemented to prevent this. In addition, a scientifically proven approach will be used to reduce prolonged illness-related absence by 25% in Limburg SMEs and the health care sector. Researchers are determining how to help people with limited job opportunities find work by creating relevant jobs at 200 Limburg companies. Finally, the goal in Limburg is to broaden the concept of 'labour' and to empirically determine the social impact of prioritising volunteer work and caregiver roles over job applications for people with limited job opportunities.
The Province of Limburg has linked its economic and social agendas. Not working and not participating in society has a negative effect on health. Limburg therefore aims to break this trend by 2025 in order to reduce unemployment and adverse health effects. To do so, the 4Limburg project is joining forces with expertise centres like Academische Werkplaats, ROA, ExpertiseCentrum Inclusieve Arbeidsorganisaties, CAPHRI, and ITEM in the fields of health and labour participation. The four core themes are young people, employed people, unutilised labour potential and people who are unable to participate in the labour process. Of particular note is that the five professors from the faculties of Law, Medicine, Economics and Psychology have joined forces in a multidisciplinary programme council. This is in line with Maastricht University's ambition to strengthen the interdisciplinary nature of its research and education and it also offers an integrated approach to addressing problems.
Video: Project Director Theo Thuis at L1
4Limburg Project Director Theo Thuis appeared on Avondgasten - a television programme produced by regional broadcaster L1. This video is only available in Dutch.