Zaječar: Timok Club Citizens’ Association organised, in the middle of April, in the meeting-room of the Regional Development Agency for the development of Eastern Serbia in Zaječar, a presentation of the call “Employees to Fit Your Business” which is implemented through the “Education to Employment” programme.
“Through the participation in the programme, entrepreneurs get the opportunity to improve their business, simplify the selection of the newly-employed who have suitable skills, as well as facilitate the youth employment process,” Snežana Pavković, director of the Timok Club, said at the presentation.
“If you have your own business and think that it would be useful to have technical and financial support: to, through training and mentorship, train young people in accordance with the needs of your business, then this on-the-job training programme is the right opportunity for you“, Pavković said.
The call “Employees to Fit Your Business“ is intended for the entrepreneurs from the territory of Zaječar County who will have the opportunity to get technical and financial support to, through practical training and mentorship, train young people in accordance with the needs of their business – we heard in Zaječar.
The “Education to Employment” programme in Serbia is implemented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Government of the Republic of Serbia, in partnership with local self-governments, NGOs, and the National Employment Service.
Text and photo: Liljana Pavlović / Edited by: Sandra Vlatković
Knjaževac: The Timok Club Citizens’ Association is a new broker in the “Education to Employment” programme in Knjaževac.
The Timok Club Citizens’ Association was founded more than two decades ago. In the meantime, they organised a large number of regional, national, even international, transnational, projects, with the aim to contribute to overall social and economic development.
“We were the first in Serbia to, in 2005 already, set up a business incubator. That was a largely unknown facility at the time. Very early we started to promote SMEs and encourage entrepreneurial initiatives among our people. In the hard period of transition, when people were made redundant, they needed support, they needed someone to help them get a better understanding of business and the market, to manage better. We are also working a lot with the youth”, director of the Timok Club Snežana Pavković said.
Last year a project was organised within the “Education to Employment” programme. It was intended for young people who lived in rural area and had no skills or work experience.
“We managed, although we did not have that as an obligation, to find employment for seven out of 21 trainees. They have proven themselves to the employers in the course of their practical training. This means a lot to us in Knjaževac since young people are abandoning it and the age structure is extremely unfavourable“, Pavković said.
Timok Club started the promotion of the “Education to Employment” programme, or the call “Employees to Fit Your Business“, with the presentations and direct contacts with the business sector.
“We showed the employers what the programme offers and were surprised to see that, in only twenty or so days of field work, we managed to make a large number of contacts with business people. The “Employees to Fit Your Business Needs“ project offers to the entrepreneurs a possibility to, on-the-job, through work-based training, shape up the interns, their future members of staff, in accordance with the needs of their respective companies. Our business community is predominately oriented towards the metal industry. However, there is a demand for assemblers – locksmiths, welders, operators of transport vehicles in factories, etc. I was really pleasantly surprised to see how many employers are looking for good workers. They are open to the Programme and thankful to it. We were often told that ‘Money is of secondary importance. What we want is a good and skilful worker’ “, Pavković stressed.
The activity of the Timok Club is not reduced to the presentation of the programme only. The needs of the business community are also looked at. For example, Fabrika kablova in Zaječar needs carpenters, and Telekabl urgently needs milling machine operators. The factory which produces measuring transformers in Zvezdan needs winders, and in Sokobanja, which is a place of tourist interest, they have a need for chambermaids and the room service people.
“Although we often think that room service and waiters are one and the same thing, it turned out that it is not so. When they finish school, waiters are mostly unable to meet the needs of room service. Namely, it is a specific profession that requires better fluency in languages considering that such services in our spas are mostly required by foreign tourists”, they say in Timok Club and stressed that these are the profiles absent from our school. Consequently, there are no new, young workforce.
In Timok Club they believe that pupils in our schools are not adequately, or not suitably, informed about the possibilities inherent to specific professions. That is why they intend to talk with them and tell them what they expect from specific crafts, in terms of expressing their talent and starting their own business.
“Career counselling needs to be ‘brought down’ to primary schools. The impression is that career counselling is nowadays reduced to orienting young people towards colleges and universities. That is all very well but 90 percent of people in the labour market are people who finished secondary school. This means that children need career counselling when they are much younger, before they chose secondary school. That is why we plan to intensify our work with primary schools, their expert teams, and with the National Employment Service which is a partner in this project,“ director of the Timok Club concluded.
Text and photo: Ljiljana Pavlović / Edited by: Sandra Vlatković
Novi Pazar: Several hundred people from Novi Pazar and nearby towns presented themselves to employers at the traditional Employment Fair in which 30 companies looked for more than 200 prospective members of staff of different profiles this year.
Staff for textile and construction industries were in highest demand, followed by the production of footwear and furniture, as well as catering, trade, and administration.
The Fair was opened by the director of the National Employment Service Zoran Martinović who stressed that the events like this one have a huge impact on decreasing the unemployment.
“The data show that one fourth of jobseekers who come to the fair find a job quickly either with the employer with who they have made contact and to whom they have given their CV or with somebody else. We are pleased to see that Novi Pazar has 30 employers who will employ about 200 people,” Martinović said.
The major of Novi Pazar Nihat Biševac pointed out that, due to the absence of FDIs, local companies and sole traders are main factor of economic development and main employers.
“Through different subsidies and with the help of the National Employment Service, local self-government is trying to help our employers expand their capacity and employ new staff, primarily young people,” he said.
This event was also used by the Youth Office and Novi Pazar Association of Psychologists as the partners of the “Education to Employment” programme in this part of Serbia, to present this project, the activities they are implementing, including on-the-job training and training programmes to acquire different skills.
“The visitors of this Fair were presented training possibilities for 20 vocational profiles, the same as it was organised, within the E2E programme, in other towns of Serbia. The jobs involved are not very present in our labour market at the moment. These include, for example, training for sommeliers, locksmiths, CNC operators, different programmers. We noted that our youth is most interested in the job of a bookkeeper”, director of the Youth Office Džemaludin Paučinac said.
He said that they will try to organise some of training programmes in Novi Pazar in future.
With the support of the Swiss Government, through the “Education to Employment” programme, 15 girls started a couple of days ago their on-the-job training form personal care assistant. The same number of trainees will start their training for waiters in May.
Both training programmes will be implemented in Novi Pazar, Tutin, and Raška, and a half of all trainees come from the socially marginalised groups.
Text and photo: Nikola Kočović/ Edited by: Sandra Vlatković
Kragujevac: First two-day training for career counsellors from the National Employment Service and the members of the team for career guidance and counselling in secondary schools was held on 11–12 April in Kragujevac. This training was attended by 20 counsellors from Jagodina, Čačak, Kraljevo and Kragujevac.
Training participants were presented new tools in career counselling of the youth, developed within the “Education to Employment” programme and used by the career centres operating within this project.
Different types of questionnaires for the assessment of young persons’ competences were presented, as well as the guidance interview techniques to make the best quality assessment, the tools relating to how to collect data about specific profiles in the labour market, intermediation in employment, etc.
With education to better quality of youth counselling services
“Main idea behind the training was to improve the competences of people who are involved in career counselling in the NES and in the school career guidance teams, to offer to them new tools which they can use in their work. On the other hand, our intention was to establish cooperation between these two sectors since there is a lot of room and logic for it to exist, although we seldom see it in practice,“ a trainer in this training Sandra Jovanović Belotić said.
According to her, it is necessary to enhance counsellors’ competences so that they would be able to offer even better services to the youth in the career guidance and counselling process.
Surveys have shown, as Sandra said, that most of them did not undergo any training in the past five years, and this is particularly the case with the counsellors in the NES.
“They are really motivated but they are self-taught. That is why it is very important to have their competences improved.“
For the employment of young people, as Sandra said, it is critical to have cooperation in the triangle of school, employment system, and businesses, so that a good flow of information is ensured.
“In the course of this training we had talks and found out how the counsellors from the NES and school see the cooperation possibility. It is surely possible to establish cooperation in the process of disseminating information about the labour market requirements, considering that the relevant data is available to the NES. We also looked for the ways to make this information accessible to counsellors in schools and, consequently, to the youth.“
The critical issue in the career counselling process for young people is to contribute to their employability, to have them find a good position in the labour market. It is also important to work with the youth on their career paths, considering that a job is very important for everybody and a major determinant of the quality of life.
“Career guidance and counselling ensures that we can do that in which we are good, what we ‘love to do’ and know how to develop ourselves further in it.“
Sandra said that European practice shows that “career counselling and guidance should start in primary school already“. However, in Serbia this has to date happened only at the project level.
Improvement of the career counsellors’ work in school and in the NES
Sanja Milojević was one of the training participants. For five years she has been career guidance team coordinator in the Secondary Vocational School in Kragujevac. School team for career guidance and counselling in this school has been operating for more than a decade. Even though the new law no longer imposes such obligation, this school has maintained career counselling for its students.
In this school we are informing the students, carry out career counselling for vulnerable groups, organise “The Girls’ Day” since they are less represented in a number of profiles in our school: mechanics, transportation, and mechatronics. We also organise “Open Days” when primary school pupils can learn about the profiles as well as try working on the machines in our school. We are in touch with university schools which present their programmes. Also, we have cooperation with employers since we want the youth to, in school already, learn about the needs of the employers“.
The school counsellor team also provides assistance to young people who have chosen ‘wrong’ occupation and did not find themselves in it. Young people are to acquire ‘self-knowledge’ so that they could find the right career path.
“In the first year, self-knowledge is acquired, and in the second a personal career plan is being developed. In the third year, decision is being made, and in the fourth the choice of university studies is being brought. We arrange that young people get to know the employers, the profiles, we organise Real Encounters, talks, etc.“
Although they already have well-established mechanisms in the Secondary Vocational School, we expect that, applying the new tools under the “Education to Employment” programme, they will improve their skills for career guidance and counselling of students.
“For instance, we learnt in this training that we can use the start method for the information of students. If a person comes and says that he would like to become a policeman, for example, we will use the interview technique to place him in some critical situation so that we can see his reactions, whether they are calm or impulsive. If he reacts impulsively, the profession of a policeman is not for him. In such event the student will be advised to think again, informed that this profession requires some specific competences; he would be recommended to maybe consider some other profession. This is, for instance, one part of the assessment of young people’s competences which we will carry out using the new tools.“
Psychologist Senka Rvović is a member of the school team for career guidance and counselling in the First Gymnasium in Kragujevac. She found the training invaluable since she has only recently started on this job.
“I came to the training so as to improve some of my competences. It is really useful for me since I am only a beginner in this job. I am now informed about new instruments which are quite applicable, such as youth competency-based interviews. I believe that I will also make a lot of use of career cards which we were handed out on this occasion. They help us see all the competences that are required for a specific profession in which young people are interested.“
Senka said that they carry out group and individual counselling, and that students are predominantly very interested to hear the information about different professions, employers, university studies.
“When a student comes to us in our pedagogical-psychological service wishing to obtain some information about a specific profession, we try to identify his competences, to see whether he has any, whether he is capable of working on them, developing them, considering that they are much connected to the personal development, such as communication or organisational skills, for example.“
Employment counsellor in the NES Čačak branch office Nikola Nikolić stated that the training was very useful and that the tools presented are very relevant for the counsellors’’ day-to-day work.
“We have heard many new information here. We have shared experience from the NES branch offices and schools and talked about how we can interconnect and provide young people with as many information as possible. Thus far, cooperation at local level has been only sporadic and much depended on the willingness of schoolmasters.“
Text and photo: Gordana Mirović / Edited by: Sandra Vlatković
Kruševac: Within the second cycle of on-the-job training which is a part of the “Education to Employment” programme, training for a job in the production of cardboard boxes will be attended by 22 young job seekers from the Ras County. Last month, the contract on the training of trainees was signed with three companies, two from Kruševac and one from Ćićevac, all of them active in the same manufacturing sector. Training curriculum will be developed at the workshops to be held in the course of April and the first cycle of applicant selection will take place at the same time. The training as such will be implemented from the middle of June to the middle of July.
In the three companies, 22 young people should attend training for the vocational profile of operator in cardboard box production. They will be trained in “Dunipak“ and “Big“ companies which have their manufacturing plants in Kruševac where they manufacture the packaging cardboard boxes. The third company, “Bin graf“ Ćićevac has a plant in Pojate and manufactures luxury boxes for a known buyer – Sanja Nikolić from the Youth Council of Kruševac said. She is the “Education to Employment” project’s coordinator for cooperation with business community.
She added that all three companies expressed strong interest and need for staff.
They are in need of trained staff considering that they want to complete their existing production. The company from Pojate “Bin graf“ plans to introduce shift work; that is, they plan to expand their production. All three companies would like to keep these young people in employment after they finish the training, provided they are successful and prove themselves as being good workers – she said.
Nikolić noted that contracts with these companies were signed during the previous month, that the training curriculum will be developed in April and that interested young people are to apply for training during that same month. Then the first cycle of selecting the trainees for this training will follow.
In the Kruševac branch of the National Employment Service, and its Varvarin and Ćićevac offices, we had organised info sessions for young job seekers to whom we have presented this programme. Those who are interested in taking part in the training will then come to the Youth Council for an individual interview with our career advisors so that they would find out whether this vocational profile suits them or not. We are shortlisting the applicants and the companies implementing the training will make a final decision on who will be chosen – she explained.
Training for career counsellors
Training for operators in the manufacturing of wooden elements should also be implemented in Kruševac within this programme. Seventeen young people should attend training in two companies.
Considering that public call for the implementation of on-the-job training will subsist until end of May, there is a possibility to organise training for additional vocational profiles, such as for salesmen – she added.
As opposed to last year when on-the-job training was implemented only in Kruševac, the entire Ras County will be covered in the current year.
Nikolić stressed that good cooperation has been established with all municipalities and that the municipalities of Trstenik, Aleksandrovac, and Ćićevac have delivered the lists of companies which could potentially be the partners in this project. This has already borne fruit when the company from Pojate entered the project.
Text and photo: Jelena Božović / Edited by: Sandra Vlatković