The Human Capital Operational Programme is one of the operational programmes aimed at the implementation of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007-2013. The programme covers all European Social Fund interventions in Poland. It is a response to the challenges that the renewed Lisbon Strategy poses to EU member states, including Poland. Those challenges include making Europe a more attractive place for investments and work, development of knowledge and innovativeness and creating more permanent jobs. The Lisbon Strategy and the objectives of the EU cohesion policy are based on the assumption that the development of human and social capital contributes to better utilisation of labour potential and to increasing the competitiveness of the economy.
OBJECTIVES OF THE HC OP
The objective of the Human Capital Operational Programme (HC OP) is to enable full realization of human potential by increasing employment and enhancing the adaptability of enterprises and their staff, raising the level of education in the society, reducing areas of social exclusion and supporting the development of state administrative structures. The programme focuses on the following areas: employment, education, social inclusion, enhancing the adaptability of employees and enterprises as well as issues related to human resources development in rural areas, development of efficient and effective public administration at all levels, good governance and workforce health promotion. The main goal of the HC OP is to increase employment and social cohesion. This will be achieved by implementing a number of objectives, i.e.:
- Improving the level of professional activity and the ability to find employment by persons who are unemployed or professionally passive,
- Reducing areas of social exclusion,
- Enhancing the adaptability of employees and enterprises to changes in the economy,
- Promotion of education in the society at all education levels, combined with improving the quality of education services and ensuring that they more effectively address the needs of knowledge-based economy,
- Enhancing the public administration’s potential to develop policies and deliver high quality services as well as strengthening partnership mechanisms,
- Increasing territorial cohesion.
ESF SUPPORT UNDER THE HC OP
Support under the HC OP is designed to aid the expansion of programmes enhancing employment and social integration. The Programme will include the implementation of measures aimed at mobilizing the unemployed and the economically inactive, preventing social exclusion and ensuring equal access to jobs for people and groups suffering discrimination on the labour market. Measures aimed at adjusting Polish enterprises to the modernization of the economy are also planned; their adaptability will be enhanced. The HC OP is to fund activities targeting enterprise employees, particularly those with low or obsolete professional qualifications. These activities will be aimed at improving their potential and qualifications and will include transfer of knowledge between enterprise employees on the one hand and research and development centres on the other.
HC OP priorities related to education will support projects aimed at ensuring efficient management of the education system, improving teaching curricula and incorporating innovative elements into them, and at improving the effectiveness of education staff training and development both at university level and at lower education levels. Other areas of support will include adapting teaching programmes to the needs of the labour market, increasing the competence and knowledge of students in the fields of science of key importance for the economy, enhancing cooperation between education institutions on the one hand and enterprises and R&D sector on the other. Measures aimed at developing the teaching potential of universities and supporting the development of faculties related to technology, mathematics and natural sciences will be another very important area of focus.
Activities aimed at strengthening the potential of the Polish administration will also be supported under the Programme. Both government and self-government bodies will receive financial support to strengthen legislative procedures and improve the quality and accessibility of public services (particularly for entrepreneurs) as well as to promote cooperation between the public administration and partners representing business and the third sector.
HC OP PRIORITIES
Priorities implemented at the central level:
- Priority 1 – Employment and social integration;.
- Priority 2 – Development of human resources and business adaptation potential and improvement of workers’ health;
- Priority 3 – High quality of the education system;
- Priority 4 – Higher education and science;
- Priority 5 – Good governance;
Priorities implemented at the regional level:
- Priority 6 – Labour market for all;
- Priority 7 – Promotion of social integration;
- Priority 8 – Regional human resources for the economy;
- Priority 9 – Improvement of education and skills in the regions;.
In addition, Priority 10 (X) – Technical assistance will be implemented in order to ensure proper management, implementation and promotion of the European Social Fund.
FUNDS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HC OP
The implementation of the HC OP will be financed from EU funds (European Social Fund – 85 %) and domestic funds (state budget and local self-government budgets – 15 %). The amount for the entire Programme is approximately euro 11.4 billion, of which euro 960 366 839 is allocated to the implementation of Priority 4 “Higher education and science”.
Cross-financing: The HC OP Managing Authority has allowed cross-financing, i.e. the possibility of extending the catalogue of expenditure items eligible for co-financing from the European Social Fund to include costs eligible under the European Regional Development Fund.