UOCRA Foundation, institutional linkage and international cooperation

Within the framework of an active policy of institutional linkage and international technical cooperation, with a view to generating and sharing critical knowledge influencing the design of public and sectoral policies that benefit workers as a whole, the UOCRA is promoting a series of initiatives with a range of trade unions and academic institutions, both at national and international level.

By Marita González, CGT Argentia - @Maritagonzal1

The main lines of action responding to the above objectives in academic and international cooperation circles are detailed below:

- Technical cooperation between the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje de Costa Rica, the UOCRA foundation and IERIC: During the first phase of the work, in 2012, the Núcleo de Tecnología de Materiales of the INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE APRENDIZAJE was visited by two Argentinian experts from the INSTITUTO DE ESTADÍSTICA Y REGISTRO DE LA INDUSTRIA DE LA CONSTRUCCIÓN (IERIC) and the UOCRA foundation of the UNIÓN OBRERA DE LA CONSTRUCCIÓN DE LA REPÚBLICA DE ARGENTINA (UOCRA), to offer technical assistance with the Construction Productivity Project, within the framework of the cooperation agreement.

Architect Fernando Paoletti of the IERIC, architect Alejandro Tesoro from the UOCRA foundation and Raul Massarini from the IERIC took part in the visit. The technical team from the INA was composed of engineer Jimmy Sanabria Coto and engineer Silvia Campos Zarate. The aim of the visit was to share experiences in the field of vocational training and its impact on the productivity of construction firms, as well as to show the cooperation partners the construction systems most commonly used in Costa Rica.

The meeting also sought to strengthen links between the COLEGIO FEDERADO DE INGENIEROS Y ARQUITECTOS, the ASOCIACIÓN DE MAESTROS DE OBRAS, and the COLEGIO DE ARQUITECTOS and the INSTITUTO COSTARRICENSE DEL CEMENTO Y CONCRETO, with a view to exploring initiatives enabling the joint development of the products developed under the project. The INA team subsequently conducted a technical visit to Buenos Aires, where they observed various examples of skills assessment and certification developed by the IERIC team.

Phase 2 of the cooperation project took place in 2015 in Costa Rica within the framework of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the INA. Environmental and alternative energy specialist from the UOCRA foundation, Jazmín Feliú, took part in an exchange of good practices regarding the certification of green skills and for the development of green employment profiles and projects. Jazmín Feliú was invited to deliver a speech on Sustainability in Construction within the framework of a seminar held as part of the events to celebrate the INA’s 50th anniversary.

The project foresees the development of:

  • A pilot project on skills certification to be conducted between October 2016 and May 2017.
  • A work method for the management and recovery of construction waste, including plans to exchange the two institutions’ respective Construction Waste Management Programmes.

- Technical cooperation between Chisholm TAFE and the UOCRA foundation: This technical cooperation initiative stems from the sustainable construction training proposal, an educational project that will coordinate occupational training (non university middle and tertiary technical level), founded on different, interconnected levels of training and accreditation.
This proposal is being developed with the support of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR), established by the government of Australia, in 2001, to improve political, social and economic relations between Australia and Latin America, together with the Chisholm Institute, an Australian education institution providing a wide range of vocational training and higher education covering a variety of sectors.
The project began with training in 2016, provided by a specialist from the Chisholm Institute. The UOCRA foundation technical team is continuing to work on the development of comprehensive and coordinated training in sustainable construction management, and intends to finalise the proposal’s development over the coming months.

- Training and institutional linkage: As a member of the TrEES forum, the UOCRA has taken part in international events in Portugal and Spain on educational inclusion for employability, offering technical assistance and training to 12 European civil society organisations. It also made progress with inter-institutional integration through the design of a unique project aimed at offering professional technical services at international level.

In addition, thanks to the agreement reached with the Embassy of Taiwan, a workshop was held on the development of renewable energies as well as a seminar entitled “Vocational Training: School of Work”, together with FLACSO and UMET.

The Observatorio de la Díada Educación-Trabajo (ODET), in cooperation with local academic actors, has formed an interdisciplinary team with the Centro Interdisciplinario de Estudios Avanzados - Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (CIEA-UNTREF), in charge of drawing up a quarterly dossier on “The Quality of Employment and Socioeconomic Structure”. Within this framework, an indicator has been developed of structural informality, which systematically generates information on a quarterly basis on the employment market, based on the figures of the Permanent Household Survey, linking the problems in the socio-productive structure with the composition of the labour market.

- Research and documentation: The UOCRA promoted the creation of the working group “Education and Work: historical context policies and methodologies”, within the Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO). Within the framework of the VII Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Social Sciences, held by CLACSO in Medellin, Colombia, we took part in a colloquium on “Trade Union Challenges and Perspectives in Latin America: the relationship between education and work.”

- Agreement signed between the UOCRA foundation and the Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Laborales (CEIL) of the CONICET: Three two-year research projects have been drawn up and approved by CONICET.

The three research projects bring together members of the foundation and the CEIL, forming an interdisciplinary work team to take an in-depth look into different labour, educational and trade union issues from different perspectives. Both the CEIL and the UOCRA foundation are jointly monitoring the projects’ development through various presentations of the progress made by each team composed of experts from both institutions.

As regards their content, the first of them is on the “Proposed pathways and actual career path of vocational training students. Comparative employment impacts and perspectives.” This study, based on research using secondary sources and qualitative and quantitative techniques, examines the training processes of workers attending the UOCRA foundation’s vocational training centres as students across the country. The study focuses on the linkages between work and training and the use of a multiplicity of focuses and disciplines. The key focus will be on career development and employment and training pathways. It highlights the proposed pathways of the VT students within the UOCRA network of centres; the knowledge and skills profiles acquired; the relationship between the courses and the jobs on offer on the labour market; and the linkages between education and work in the context of decent work for decent life.

The second study focuses on “Young people work and the trade union over the last decade. Study on the employability conditions of a new generation of workers and its relationship with trade union practice.” Based on a qualitative and quantitative approach, the aim is to highlight the relationship and the representation established by the students at the training centres across the country undertaking courses offered by the UOCRA, through its foundation, with regard to the trade union, the activity and the vicissitudes imposed on them by the labour market itself. The aim is to know the socio-occupational biography of the young people attending UOCRA vocational training courses; their educational qualifications and occupational skills and to what extent they improve their employability; the general characteristics of the employment process; the working conditions and environment; the young people’s representations with regard to history, political relevance and the role of trade unions; their level of knowledge of the trade union structure and how they perceive it from their individual linkage.

Finally, the third study is “Occupational paths, working conditions and the health of workers in construction and agriculture.” Based on a mixed qualitative and quantitative approach, it seeks to show the attributes and working conditions of agricultural and construction workers in the province of Buenos Aires and the Federal Capital. It describes how labour skills are acquired and relate them to migration and labour history; employability and working conditions; the workers’ health, the presence of occupational illnesses, occupational hazards and the search for medical care; it gathers the subjects’ opinions and outlook on the value of the work in their sector, on decent work, upward social mobility and future plans; their opinions and perspectives on the representation of gender, age, migration status and class associated with work in construction and agriculture.

Based on the above and by way of summary, the active policies of the UOCRA foundation, its institutional linkages and international cooperation are framed by the process of strengthening its institutional profile, generating continual initiatives providing technical assistance, skills development and research on employment and training both at national and international level.