The BMZ funded and GIZ implemented project “Youth Employment Promotion” in Serbia (YEP) is now in the fourth year of implementation. Since the project start in 2015 Serbia has been making progress in reforming its economy and in reducing unemployment. Yet challenges remain: the youth unemployment rate in Serbia is still nearly double of the overall unemployment, the perspectives of young Serbians to acquire decent jobs especially in rural areas is poor, with the consequence that many young people migrate to the capital Belgrade or further on.
The aim of the project is to support youth between 15-35 years of age to be better positioned on the labor market. This is achieved through an integrated approach of youth employment promotion. Core strategies are (a) to identify, design and support the most effective youth employment measures relevant for different contexts – e.g. urban vs. rural areas; (b) to improve the cooperation of the youth employment actors at local and national level, and (c) to develop reference models four youth employment promotion that can be upscaled in future.
- VET schools as multi-purpose training providers: supporting the cooperation between VET schools, local enterprises and municipalities for developing VET school capacities aiming at both: (a) offering more relevant formal vocational education programmes and (b) short term skills training measures that address specific labour requirements of the enterprises. This effort resulted in two public private partnerships in the municipalities of Kragujevac and Prokublje currently under implementation
- Initiating a multi-stakeholder business start-up scheme for graduates of agricultural VET schools, with the Serbian NGO “DIVAC Foundation”, three municipalities and agricultural VET schools as well as an internship programme in partnership with a national association of organic farmers
- Capacity development of 21 social enterprises promoting employment of especially vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities through a tailor made programme consisting business consultancy services, training seminars and public events aiming at increasing public awareness. This programme, backstopped by FAKT was implemented by the Serbian NGO “Smart Kolektiv”. By the end of 2018 60 new jobs have been created for vulnerable groups by these enterprises.
- Implementing good practices in “local employment action planning” that better considers the needs of vulnerable groups and of employment potentials in the respective locations
In 2019, the final year of project implementation, we will focus our work on four core areas:
- Continuing capacity development for social enterprises in cooperation with Smart Kolektiv
- Supporting a network of agricultural VET schools in developing a new training programme for micro-scale food processing in line with new national regulations for small scale producers
- Formulating a sound reference model and policy recommendations for youth employment promotion in rural areas
- Further strengthening the multi-stakeholder cooperation of VET schools – private sector/civil society actors and municipalities for improvement of skills development and business start-up initiatives
- Developing and implementing strategies for capacity development and multi-stakeholder cooperation in selected districts and municipalities
- Assisting selected Serbian partners in the design and effective implementation of youth-friendly and target group specific active labour market measures (ALMPs) that will have a better outreach to young people, who are not employed, not in education nor i
- Developing local actors’ capacities for taking a proactive and coordinating role in the multi-stakeholder approaches
- Developing and supporting implementation of an effective project monitoring system that provides reliable data on employment effects and other impacts.