Youth unemployment at a record high, more effective measures needed
Throughout the years the youth unemployment situation is changing for the worse. There is a significant lack in job positions, accompanied by the government’s limited capacities to deliver appropriate measures for the problem of unemployment. While 13 institutional bodies are involved in managing the employment issues at the national, entity and cantonal level, the Public Employment Services (PES) are limited in developing efficient services to meet the needs of young unemployed people. As the time passes, those young people are feeling hopeless, passive, without any trust in the system and the institutions which should support young people.
New models to transform the impact of public employment services
The focus of the Youth Employment Project is on improving the work of the Public Employment Services (PES) by introducing new methods of work, which will enable them to provide better services to young people, to match them with prospective employers and to encourage self-employment. Additionally, the project will contribute to raising general public awareness of youth employment issues.
So far, the PES staff members were primarily focused on administering social benefits to the unemployed, such as health insurance coverage. To establish more effective services with a proactive involvement of PES staff, the project established several model offices and introduced counselling services for the unemployed. Within these, counsellors devote more time to motivate unemployed assisting them to actively look for jobs. The other staff members cater to the passive users, ensuring their right on insurance. This model can be easily replicated to all other offices in the Federation of BiH and Republic of Srpska.
Also a network of 25 Job Clubs was established within the PES, where young unemployed people can improve their job search skills and are encouraged by club leaders to explore different opportunities on the market, as well as self-employment prospects. This type of service has helped to in- crease access of disadvantaged youth to employment services.
Ground breaking success of the previous phase
”Reform Package”1 has been gradually designed and implemented in 2 PES pilot Model Offices. Group counselling services introduced as PES active labour market measure for young unemployed are taking place in established network of 25 Job Clubs. Additional three cantons joined, RS PES amended the Rulebook to integrate it throughout the entity. 4 cantons expressed the interest to join the process as well as District Brcko.
Cumulatively 4,444 young people received Job Club support, out of which 1661 are placed into employment. Comparing the figures from 2012-2014 it is visible increase of 240% in the participation of young people in the group counselling. At the same time placement ratio increased 290%.
11 local initiatives implemented by local civil society organisations and PES offices or Job Clubs were supported. First social enterprises registered as a direct result of that support.