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The European voice for informal carers

ZAINLAB: employment and training opportunities in the care sector

ZainLab project, promoted by the Department of Labour and Employment of the Basque Government, aims at responding to the challenges that the care sector is facing in our society. Launched in 2021 as part of the Basque Employment Strategy 2030, it focuses on the growing demand for long-term care from a comprehensive and innovative perspective.

In collaboration with Grupo SSI, ZainLab seeks to make visible and dignify the profession of carers, the majority of whom are women. The quality of the employment and the attention to those in need of care are central points.

In 2021, ZainLab carried out an analysis of the context and prospective to 2030. More than 80 organisations from the Basque Country collaborated in a process of consultation and constructive dialogue. A final proposal for intervention in employment was presented, focusing in four key challenges. This proposal was deployed and implemented during 2022 and 2023:

  1. The professionalization of care work: The aim was to articulate a training system (with mixed methodology), as well as a guidance, support and monitoring service in the care sector that would contribute to valorise and dignify a highly feminised and invisible profession. It represented an innovation to resolve the obstacles identified to access ordinary training programmes and dignified employment.
  2. Upskilling of professions: The aim was to develop specialised and strategic competences to address current and future challenges of care organisations and for the silverisation of other professions, incorporating the concept of learnability throughout the working life. Eight advanced competencies were developed, considered essential for its transformation, from an ethical, sustainable, technological and people-centred approach.
  3. Piloting new services/programmes: The objective was to experiment with new professional profiles and roles though innovative projects in technological, urban, health and social fields.
  4. Support for entrepreneurship in the silver economy: The objective was to promote the creation of business projects related to the needs of older adults by means of awareness-raising, group training and individual mentoring.

In 2024 ZainLab Hub has been created to continue contributing to the improvement, development and promotion of the care sector via the design, experimentation and implementation of innovative actions, from the perspective of employment and training, and through the activation of expert communities.

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