Knjaževac: The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) delegation visited Knjaževac businesses which are involved in the implementation of the “From Education to Employment” Programme that  is meant to increase the employability of young people in this municipality in Eastern Serbia. Concurrently with visitors from the Belgrade SDC Office, Knjaževac was visited by the representatives of the projects which SDC implements in Kosovo and in Macedonia which came to provide the from-the-horse’s-mouth examples of positive practice in the organisation of on-the-job training.

In the course of one-day visit, the delegation from the region visited two companies participating in the Programme and one factory which, after hearing about positive experience of other businesses, expressed a wish to get involved in the activities of the “From Education to Employment” Programme.

Recika Company in Donja Kamenica village accepted 12 young and unemployed men and women from Knjaževac for training and transferred to them skills and knowledge necessary for them to get employment as makers of leather products. Knjaževac is a town with long shoe-making tradition and some of the largest employers in this town are the makers of footwear. The appertaining skills will therefore be critical for the trainees to ensure they have advantage over their competition when looking for a job.

Oliver Jelenković, Director of this Company, said that, after they have successfully completed the training, two trainees got a job in his factory. He also said that he would be very happy to continue participating in the Programme and offering young people a chance to acquire skills and knowledge which will ensure they get their employment sooner.

“Beba kids”, a company producing children’s clothes, is also participating in the “From Education to Employment” Programme. It is training as many as 30 young unemployed men and women, future textile workers.

„None of them should worry what will they do after they complete the training; we will employ all of them,“ – our host, Ivica Vidojević, Deputy Director, said.

The training in Beba Kids Company takes place after working hours, in the second shift. Mentors, who are normally working in the first shift, willingly stay after hours to help these young people learn the secrets of their trade. The trainees are really happy with this experience and, although the training is hard and demanding, they look forward to getting employment in this company.

“SCS plus” furniture company exports more than 95% of their products to the EU market. It is one of the most desirable employers in Knjaževac and the key for economic survival of Podvis village. They currently employ 100 people, half of whom live in Podvis, and they plan to expand their production capacity.

Miloš Nikolić, a Manager in this Company, who learnt about positive experience of other Knjaževac companies which take part in the “From Education to Employment” Programme, expressed  interest to have their company soonest possible join the Programme and organise the training for CNC machine operators.

In the course of 2017/2018 the “From Education to Employment” Programme supported the on-the-job training in three Knjaževac companies, which will be completed by 47 young people and  in which the amount of 85,000 francs were invested from the  funds provided by the Government of Switzerland. Further funds, amounting to 39,000 francs, were allocated for the enhancement of employability of young people living in different villages within Knjaževac Municipality; the relevant training will be attended by 150 young people in 2017/2018.