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Milivoje Miletić, President of the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce

Harmonising Education With Market Needs

The Belgrade Chamber of Commerce’s Education Centre holds a substantial number of training courses. In 2015 alone, the Centre held over 160 different seminars and workshops on various topics, with over 2,000 people attending

The Belgrade Chamber of Commerce is known for encouraging and promoting different forms of cooperation among business people through the establishment of bilateral and multilateral contacts and cooperation both in the country and abroad.

As a professional business organisation which communicates to some extent with businesses, what do you think about the trends in the area of HR management, among Belgrade companies?

– The economy of our capital participates with almost 38% in the GDP of the Republic of Serbia, and it can be thus considered as a good indicator of the economic situation and trends of the country. Human resources are definitely the biggest potential of Belgrade. However, there is a discrepancy between demand and supply in terms of work profiles. The majority of unemployed persons are high school graduates and their know-how is simply not attractive enough for today’s employers.

There is on the market a constant demand for IT specialists, computer programmers, experienced managers, experts with the broad education, as well as for certain specialists both from service and production sectors. It is of great importance that all labour market stakeholders actively participate in networking, entrepreneurial spirit development, implementation of new, creative ideas, and teamwork and business culture promotion. Human resource management should be committed to further education, knowledge upgrading and training of employees.

It is highly important for everyone in the labour market to work actively on their own networking, developing an entrepreneurial spirit, adopting new and creative ideas, improving teamwork and raising the overall business culture

The Belgrade Chamber of Commerce has organised quite a few seminars and other forms of professional training for companies’ employees. How much attention is given to the effective engagement of the workforce and new trends in this segment?

– The Belgrade Chamber of Commerce’s Education Centre holds a substantial number of training courses. In 2015 alone, the Centre organised more than 160 different seminars and workshops on various topics, with more than 2,000 attendees. Our programmes are innovative, competitive and we are showing a great responsibility in choosing highly qualified teachers. As a result, our attendees become more effective at work and 97% of them are satisfied with our services.

We certainly expect further demands from companies for our training, within our continuing education programs, in different economic sectors. Companies’ motive is to improve their position in the demanding market. Continuous professional education is the best way to maintain the quality of HR and have more efficient employment at all levels.

The Chamber also organises meetings among business people from Belgrade and other towns in the country and abroad. How much attention do your clients pay to HR management as a means to increase efficiency?

– The Belgrade Chamber of Commerce encourages and promotes different forms of cooperation among business people by establishing bilateral and multilateral contacts and cooperation both in the country and abroad. 

Belgrade Chamber of Commerce

In that sense, we all agree that human resources present the most important resource in an organisation, and they should be treated with the utmost care and interest.

The fact remains that people, their development, capacity and motivation, as well as the way in which they are managed, are the key factors of competitiveness and development for any organisation. Exchanging experiences in this area is certainly invaluable, and the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce will persist in doing its best to continue with this practice of organising meetings among business people.

How do business leaders react to this, and do you think they are willing to apply new HR management solutions in the companies they manage?

– Our business leaders are aware of the growing importance of HR. They know that the efficient management of these resources is of strategic interest to the organisation itself. This is something that can provide them with a competitive edge because it is one of the main prerequisites to develop a strong, competitive company.

The able, competent and skilful workforce is ready to respond to all the challenges and changes in the business environment. HR management uses innovative strategies and policies, with an emphasis on education of the employees their capacity building. Formal and informal types of education are carried out simultaneously in Serbia.

There are many public and private enterprises operating on the territory covered by the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce, and some of these companies employ hundreds, even thousands of workers. What is the overall situation regarding labour skills?

– Belgrade’s share in the overall number of companies and employees in the Republic of Serbia is 45% and 23% respectively. Several decades ago, the Serbian educational system used to produce high-quality workers and internationally recognised experts who, unfortunately, had been unable to find jobs in national companies and subsequently left the country.

The current structure of our workforce is such that it requires continuing education and acquisition of know-how. The lifelong learning concept has become imperative for the current generation of employees, and this is implemented through informal education. At the same time, formal education is being reformed with the goal of producing a highly qualified workforce.

The modern chambers of commerce present a driving force of change in developed economies, providing as well the support to the science and business community, through a dual education model and efficient communication. The Serbian chamber of commerce system is currently being modernised, in order to be able to respond to the economic challenges, support businesses and reinforce the partner relationship with the government in the EU accession process.

Are businesses in Belgrade satisfied with the level of high school and university education among young people and their willingness to work?

– There is no doubt that our educational institutions are solid, but the problem is that, for a very long time, educational programmes have been lagging behind technology and market requirements. According to our information, employers are only partially satisfied with the knowledge that young people get from high schools and universities.

The biggest complaints are related to the lack of practical knowledge, as opposed to theoretical. Also, businesses have problems when new employees take too long to start work independently, and their lack of creativity and motivation, often a result of job insecurity, small salaries or an inability to progress.

Improving our educational system, that is to say, making our educational programmes more modern and flexible, properly implementing the programmes and making them more attuned to market needs, is certainly something that needs work.

What seminars and educational gatherings for HR managers and workforce are you planning in the near future?

– The Belgrade Chamber of Commerce’s Education Centre regularly holds seminars covering various topics – commerce and finance, project management, writing EU projects, IT training, legal, management, quality management, and HR. And we are constantly expanding.

I would also like to single out the innovative education model that we began to offer late last year, following our two-day business seminar, held in April that was attended by the 10 most prestigious Serbian companies. We used the seminar to promote our Case Study Business Simulation where we successfully presented educational opportunities offered by this platform. Soon we will hold a Simulation for different sectors – banking, pharmaceutical, telecommunications and other.

We are constantly researching economy’s needs for new educational formats, and our task is to successfully implement these formats in cooperation with the top lecturers and to further position the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce as a widely recognised and reliable partner.

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