Munich’s innovative approach to combat long-term unemployment

11 February 2020

The Munich Employment and Qualification Program (MBQ) is the city’s main policy instrument for combatting long-term unemployment, safeguard the supply of skilled labour and contribute to the development of knowledge and expertise of the city’s companies and industries. The MBQ program supports people who face disadvantages regarding employability and structural obstacles for them to be part of the labour market.

Every year, the Munich city council invest about €29 million in the MBQ Program, which funds about 1,200 job opportunities, qualification programs for 3,000 people and plenty of consulting and advice sessions. The program consists of multiple projects, for example the “power_m” project, which since 2009 has advised more than 4,800 women and men on re-entry to the labour market with a two out of three-success rate. Two large-scale MBQ projects is the “Social Enterprises” and the “Work Prospects Project (VPA)”. In total, these two projects will support approximately 6,700 people in 2019.

Within the Social Enterprises project, 32 social enterprises provide work, training and educational counselling to clients of the Munich Job Centre who are not integrated into the labour market, such as long-term unemployed migrants, disabled, and people over 50 years old. The project aims to increase the participants employability by improving their social and vocational skills. The social enterprises therefore offer new employment opportunities, on-the-job training and apprenticeship placements, which means that the participants are being trained under realistic working conditions. This is done in a variety of market segments, including skills crafts, recycling, office work, catering/housekeeping, administration, social services and environmental services.

The Department of Labour and Economic Development is responsible for the implementation of the project and contributed with € 9,8 million to the funding of social enterprises. In 2018, the social enterprises helped about 2,200 participants, 91% of these were long-term unemployed, and about 13% of the participants moved into gainful employment on the primary labour market. About 20% were placed in further employment and training.

The VPA project gives the participants a 360-degree support, which means that the project focus on both the participants existing work and personal situation, by improving the participants life situation, help them develop their skills and find gainful employment. The project focus on the promotion of sustainable, social, vocational and personal improvements through individual support to long term-unemployed, in particular low-skilled individuals with social, health-related and personal barriers to job placement, migrants, refugees, single parents and women re-entering the labour market. The project also focuses on combating discrimination and prejudice within the labour market.

In 2018, the Munich Job Centre referred approximately 2,100 people to Integration Advice Centres for vocation (IBZ). As part of the VPA project, around 1,400 of these were placed in qualification activities. Beyond this, around 1,400 people were also referred to the Integration Advice Centre for Language and Vocation, and put in suitable language courses. Additionally, the IBZ centres also advise long-term unemployed on vocational prospects, to improve their self-esteem, and find language courses. Approximately 30,5% of the participants in 2018 gained socially insured employment, and reduced or stopped receiving unemployment benefits.