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Promotion of employment

Specific challenges

In addition to the ongoing pandemic and its effects, other challenges faced the economy and especially the labor market in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg region in 2021. For example, the severe flood disaster in July 2021 on the River Ahr and in the Rhine-Sieg district on the left bank of the Rhine affected many people directly or indirectly.

Situation for apprentices

The pandemic-related school closures, the lack of vocational guidance programs, the impossibility of company internships and the complete absence of training exchanges are also having a massive impact on the regional training market. Never before has it been so difficult for companies to find trainees. Overall, the labor market in the region has changed as a result of the pandemic. Sectors of the hospitality, leisure and retail industries, which have been particularly hard hit, are recovering only slowly. Thanks to short-time work as a stabilization factor during the crisis, the employment situation remained comparatively stable overall. Many companies, organizations and administrations used the crisis as an opportunity to modernize their structures. Digitization experienced a surge in development in many areas. In this context, there was increased demand for the corresponding consulting and support services offered by the regional agency. Almost all event formats could be held in digital form and increasingly also in presence again. The trend toward mobile and hybrid working is gaining ground, particularly in public administration and the service sector.

Skilled workers wanted

The shortage of skilled workers and rising long-term unemployment continue to be the key challenges facing Bonn's labor market. Forward-looking personnel policies and the active design of organizational and work processes have been adopted with commitment. In-company qualification and further training are gaining strongly in importance and are developing into central issues of securing skilled labor in many areas. 

Bonn/Rhine-Sieg Regional Agency

The Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Regional Agency represents the objectives and funding instruments of NRW's labor market policy and the European Social Fund, in the new funding phase 2021ff. As a transfer office between the EU, NRW and regional interests, the Regional Agency networks the economic and labor market policy actors in order to launch sustainable projects to strengthen the regional labor market. The focus here is on the topics of "training and continuing education", "securing skilled workers" and "digital, social and ecological transformation"

Alliance for Skilled Workers Bonn/Rhein-Sieg

In the 10th year of its existence, the regional network for securing skilled workers has been confronted with the crises mentioned above for the economy and the labor market. It has been shown that the networked action of the players also works in "crisis mode". Important labor market policy challenges were jointly tackled in a proven manner and solutions were developed. Since 2012, this regional network has stood for the bundling of know-how on the topic of securing skilled labor. Under the leadership of the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg Regional Agency, the region's key labor market players have come together to develop and implement binding responses to the region's labor market challenges.

Companies and employees

The promotion of personnel development processes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is a focus of the state's labor market policy. In addition to supporting individual employees in their professional development, this also involves creating future-proof structures in the companies in order to be competitive and crisis-proof. Strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and providing support for the further training and education of employees are fundamental cornerstones of labor market policy. In this respect, the regional agency advises on the funding offers of the state, federal government and EU. This creates innovative and competitive companies and competent and flexible teams. In 2021, a total of 1,239 employees in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg region benefited from a Bildungsscheck NRW. The option of in-house training for entire teams was requested more frequently by companies. 

The potential consulting NRW as well as the support programs "unternehmensWert:Mensch", "unternehmensWert:Mensch PLUS" as well as "Gestärkt durch die Krise" were actively used by 39 companies in 2021. 

Youth and profession

Young people with support needs are professionally accompanied on their way to training by the EU-funded "NRW Training Program". At the same time, training companies receive a financial subsidy toward training pay for additionally established training places - with 180 places since 2018. 
For people with family responsibilities, part-time vocational training is a good start to working life. The "Part-time Vocational Training - Accompanying Entry - Opening Perspectives" (TEP) program, funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the European Social Fund, supports this. A total of 20 places were available in the region in 2021. Despite the pandemic, 12 participants were placed in part-time vocational training. The regional agency coordinates these programs, provides technical support and ensures results-oriented networking among all stakeholders.

Target group support

During the pandemic, too, it became apparent that the "advice centers for work" play an important role in combating poverty and social inequality. Here, people who are unemployed or threatened by unemployment can obtain neutral and independent advice. The issues of precarious employment and labor exploitation have increased sharply at the counseling center in Bonn-Tannenbusch since the beginning of the pandemic. In particular, there is demand from service and cleaning workers as well as courier drivers, some of whom have adventurous employment contracts. The counseling center is supported by a legal counseling pool set up by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Another counseling service in Bonn is aimed at people who are in working life and want to - or have to - reorient themselves professionally. This service is called "Perspektive im Erwerbsleben" (PIE) and offers individual coaching by qualified specialists at independent institutions of further education and the Volkshochschule Bonn.

Martina Schönborn-Waldorf
Head of Regional Agency Bonn/Rhein-Sieg, Project management Alliance for skilled workers