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From long-term unemployment to a matching job: The role of vocational training in sustainable return to work

Skill deficits are a major bottleneck in sustainable activation of the long-term unemployed. Those managing to get back to work often end up in less complex and skill-intensive jobs and have fewer opportunities to develop their potential. Those long-term unemployed not successful in making a transition to work are likely to face even more severe and complex skill deficits, among other problems. This report makes the case for a more forward-oriented, skills matching approach to activation that aims at sustainable labour market reintegration. Drawing on evidence and diverse practices from around Europe and the views of practitioners and experts, it presents approaches that put sustainable skills matching centre stage. The report shows how at different steps of the journey towards a job – engagement, programme interventions, and job placement, matching and follow-up – innovative principles, policies and tools can make the return to work of the long-term unemployed a long-lasting outcome.