Dynamic business environments and constant global challenges require countries and economies be alert and continuously seek out ways to improve their business environment and prospects. On its road to becoming a society of democratic values, as well as to achieving a stronger economic position on the market, Serbia has had the stable support of the Swiss Government. Through numerous initiatives, Switzerland has implemented good business practices locally, including the “Education to Employment” project that’s focused on youth employment and stands out with its success and results
For a full eight years, this successful Swiss-Serbian project has been investing actively in the youth, enhancing their capabilities to better position themselves on the labour market through an exceptionally well-developed system of career guidance and counselling, as well as through training in work-based learning with a known employer. Via this programme, nearly 27,000 young people have so far been empowered, with more than 250 companies engaged in the project. More than 1,600 programme participants have successfully completed work-based learning training, 77% of whom have succeeded in landing their first job. By applying modern technologies, such as VR simulations of work operations in the training process, as well as establishing a strong bond between educational institutions and the business sector and business connections, the project has had a positive impact on the youth employment climate by offering an exceptionally valuable advantage to them: a career opportunity.
Having recognised depopulation, migration and the lack of a qualified workforce as ongoing challenges across the region, with support of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia and the Chamber Investment Forum of the Western Balkans (WB6), the “Education to Employment” project has taken a step further and initiated the organisation of the regional conference entitled “Relevance of Work-Based Learning (WBL) and Social Inclusion for the WB6’s Economic Development”. By bringing together representatives of successful businesses from the six economies, businesspeople from various sectors received the opportunity to share their perspectives on the challenges they encounter and identify common goals they should strive towards. Exchanges of expertise and ideas on formal and non-formal education, as well as conditions for establishing an inclusive working environment, have created new cooperation prospects, the aim of which is for the entire region to enter the European market better prepared and more competitive.
A constructive discussion among conference participants and panellists was complemented by a VR welding simulation, which was presented publicly for the first time.
In a constantly evolving world that brings new challenges that don’t recognise borders, regional cooperation and youth opportunities are becoming key factors in creating a successful and sustainable future. The “Education to Employment” project, which is supported by the Swiss Government, represents an inspiring example of how investing in knowhow, work-based learning and a fairer and more inclusive environment generates results and is recognised and appreciated.