The institutions of Panevėžys cooperate in creating an even more friendly city for new residents
After the city’s businesses have loudly announced that the lack of a qualified labour force affects their competitiveness, Panevėžys is taking initiatives to encourage the city to attract new residents who can fill the ranks of the missing workers. The Panevėžys Development Agency, the Panevėžys City Municipality Administration, and four other institutions operating in the city have agreed to cooperate in creating an even more friendly city for new residents and to implement the initiative “Panevėžys is Friendly for New Residents” together.
“The impact of the pandemic on the labour market, which has affected many business sectors around the world, may also become an opportunity to encourage emigrants to consider the decision to return to Panevėžys. We find that both businesses and public institutions are creating new job opportunities and implementing great initiatives for new residents. We believe that by joining forces in improving the services provided to newcomers while promoting the uniqueness of the city, career development opportunities, and positive changes taking place in the city, we can become more visible to those who consider the return to Lithuania or even encourage them to make this decision,” says Jūratė Raukštienė, the representative of the Panevėžys Development Agency.
Other organizations to have joined the initiative of Panevėžys Development Agency include Panevėžys City Municipality Administration, the Panevėžys Territorial Health Insurance Fund, the Panevėžys Customer Service Department of the Employment Service under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania, the Panevėžys Branch of the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Internal affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, and the public enterprise the “Science and Technology Park of Panevėžys”.
The acceding institutions have agreed to join forces and set up a network of collaborating professionals to address the obstacles faced by newcomers by enabling quality service and efficient dissemination of information. The aim is to contribute to the successful integration of newcomers on a one-window basis.
Representatives of Panevėžys businesses encouraged the Agency to take this initiative by emphasizing the lack of a qualified labour force, which affects their competitiveness. The Agency also relied on the insights of the public enterprise “Invest in Lithuania,” which is engaged in attracting new investors to the country, on the action plan that can help Lithuanian municipalities attract and retain talented people.
The Panevėžys Development Agency was also interested in the opinion of the newcomers, such as what motivated them to return to Panevėžys, and what fears and expectations they associate with our city. Panevėžys residents who studied both abroad and in major Lithuanian cities and left the city in seeking a higher salary or gaining professional experience also took part in the interviews. Having already become residents of the city today, the former emigrants stated that they were not disappointed with their choice to return to Panevėžys, and most of the fears about the long administrative process, job opportunities, children’s adaptation in school or kindergarten, or leisure opportunities turned out to be unfounded.
The first inter-institutional meeting on the development of the initiative took place on the 4th December. Vaidotas Ilgius, the head of the Migration Information Centre “I Choose Lithuania", emphasized the importance of the harmonious work of city institutions in creating a uniform system of services for residents arriving in Lithuania.
“It is very important to cooperate and provide coordinated assistance to the newcomer by solving various issues related to their integration, thus optimizing and shortening the path to the solutions they need,” said V. Ilgius.
Karolina Audickienė, a representative of the “Automatikos sistemos” (name in Lithuanian; in English: “Automation systems”), a company which is established in Panevėžys, also said at the meeting that such initiatives are very necessary for the city because attracting human resources is critical for companies that are planning to develop.
During the meeting, the representatives of the institutions operating in Panevėžys who joined the initiative shared their experience in serving the new residents who are coming to the city. The discussion revealed that there are various issues related to the uniqueness of the situation of each newcomer; therefore, there is no single straight path to a solution. The participants of the meeting said that they pay a great deal of attention to the dissemination of relevant information and the introduction of electronic services; although, not everyone who intends to come knows about this or makes use of the resources.
The business itself also has a great responsibility in attracting new residents to the city. “In the meeting, a case was introduced in which, despite a positively evaluated curriculum vitae, a Lithuanian living abroad and having intended to return to Panevėžys was excluded from the employee selection process because the company would not agree to organize a job interview remotely before the first quarantine. We hope that our initiative, in which we will seek to involve local businesses, will help to avoid such cases in the future,” says J. Raukštienė.
It is expected that in the future, other institutions and community organizations of the city will join the initiative, which can contribute to the faster integration of newcomers, thus continuing to draw people to Panevėžys. The next meeting for planning further joint steps between the institutions will take place in January.
The initiative is organized in the framework of the implementation of the project for improving the conditions of business development “Improvement of the business environment in Panevėžys,” which is financed by the Panevėžys City Municipality.