Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


Portugal’s secretary of state for the economy, Pedro Cilínio, on Monday announced new support for companies totalling €150 million, of which €60 million for international promotion and almost €90 million for training workers.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a visit to a delegation of 36 Portuguese companies taking part until Wednesday in Milan, Italy, in the world’s largest footwear fair – MICAM – the official said that by the end of the first quarter of next year new lines of international promotion will be launched, already with funds from Portugal 2030.


He said that ” €60 million will be available for the various sectors of activity, in joint projects, projects to promote sectors and individual company projects”.


As for the support for external promotion, for which contracts have already been signed but which have yet to be paid, Pedro Cilínio assured that “in the next few weeks, the advance payments will be made”.


In addition, the secretary of state announced new support for training workers in competitiveness cluster companies, with a total budget of €89.5 million and the first two calls for tenders will be launched at the end of October and will provide €20 million.


He explained that this is “a training programme to allow companies, during periods when they don’t have orders or are idle, to put their workers through new training to get more skills”, avoiding redundancies.


Pedro Cilínio explained that this is a measure “included in the statutory tripartite talks between the government, employers and unions, in the income agreement”, which will be “continuous” and with “great flexibility depending on the availability of orders” from companies, and will not depend on the existence of a drop in turnover.


In other words, he explained, it is complementary to the Qualifica Industry Programme, which provides companies in the industrial sector with financial support of up to €10 per worker per hour for training and retraining, but is only aimed at companies with a drop in turnover of at least 25% in a quarter, due to a lack of orders.


“We have to realise that we often can’t have one instrument to support all needs. What we have to have are instruments that adapt to specific needs,” he said, explaining that, to this extent, companies will only have to have “a training plan that contributes to [their] transformation”.


“Because it’s important to realise that competitiveness isn’t just about putting people through training so that they’re occupied for a certain period of time. This training will be focused, for example, on green technologies and digital technologies, to take advantage of these periods of downtime so that workers can be retrained for more qualified jobs,” he emphasised.


According to the government official, the training support now announced “is only applicable to sectors that are part of competitiveness clusters”, such as the automobile, textile and clothing or footwear industries, as well as other sectors where it is considered “important to preserve competitiveness, qualifications and productive capacity”.


“The companies covered will be SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] in the case of joint projects. In the case of individual projects, they may also be companies of other sizes,” he explained.


Emphasising that “the future is automation, digital technologies and sustainability”, Pedro Cilínio stressed the importance of companies having a “workforce adapted and adjusted to these needs”, so that the necessary transformation “doesn’t come at the expense of anyone”.


“All workers will be needed. Just a few months ago the [footwear] sector was struggling with a lack of human resources and this is what will happen in the future. The near future will be a future of labour shortages,” he concluded.


In Macau Business