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Skills for Jobs

Bosnia and Herzegovina is struggling with high unemployment, but people searching for jobs often find that they do not have adequate skills demanded at the labour market. The Skills for Jobs project aims to enhance employability and productivity of jobseekers, vocational training school students, and employees in need of new skills.

Strategic Domain:
Economy and Employment
Youth employment
Republic Agency for Small and Medium Enterprise
Project implemented in:
Republika Srpska, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Zenica-Doboj Canton, Una-Sana Canton, Tuzla Canton, Central Bosnia Canton, Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Sarajevo Canton, Bosnia –Podrinje Canton
Municipalities (31):
Zvornik, Zenica, Zavidovići, Vlasenica, Visoko, Velika Kladuša, Tuzla, Travnik, Tešanj, Teslić, Srebrenica, Srbac, Prijedor, Mostar, Modriča, Kozarska Dubica, Konjic, Ključ, Kakanj, Ilijaš, Gradiška, Grad Sarajevo, Goražde, Fojnica, Doboj, Čitluk, Bugojno, Bosanska Krupa, Bileća, Bijeljina, Banja Luka

Teaching skills relevant to the labour market

One of the major challenges for sustainable development in BiH is high unemployment, especially that of young people. Currently at 28%, with 300’000 people, the country has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the regions. Youth unemployment is as high as 62%, while every year around 25’000 young people enter the job market. At this moment it becomes evident they are not prepared for the demands of the labour market, because the education system lacks practical experiences and the skills taught to students are not always relevant on today’s labour market. Due to poor connections of the private sector and schools, the students rarely have an opportunity to conduct practical training in companies. On the other hand, workshops provided in schools are not adequately equipped.

Exchange of knowledge and practices between schools and businesses highly needed

The project focuses on expanding the skills of students in vocational schools, by improving the practical part of their education. This will be ensured through creative solutions of linking and establishing cooperation between the education and private sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Based on the connections, cooperation, and inputs from the business sector, the project will include practical experience for students within the vocational training schools, thus providing education on relevant skills for the labour market.

The direct impact of the project will be seen on the students of vocational schools with the best possible outcome of increasing their employability. Additionally, vocational schools will benefit for them improved curriculum, as well as companies in need of skilled labour force.

Support or existing formal and informal vocational training centres and orientation of education to the needs of the labour market

Skills for Jobs project aims to support adequate training for at least 6’000 unemployed and school graduates, out of which at least 50% are hired as a direct result of successfully finished trainings. For this to be achieved, the education provided for them must be in line with the business demands. Thus, close cooperation of business sectors and vocational training schools is highly important. Special attention will be given to the light metals industry, the wood processing industry, the footwear sector, food processing, hospitality and tourism. These are the sectors which require workforce and show potential for growth. Additionally, the practical side of training is being expanded to at least 20 state-run vocational schools (VET schools).

Development of labour-market oriented curriculums and work standards

The development of labour-market oriented curriculums and work standards will be done in close collaboration with various stakeholders from the supply and demand sides. The stakeholders on the supply side include both VET schools and training centres in the private sector, while the demand side is represented by firms and potential employers. The project thus generates needs-oriented modern training programmes which are driven by the actual work skills in demand.

Results from the first phase of the project confirm success

Within the first phase of the project a total of eight training centres have been given support in six dif- ferent industry sectors. So far more than 500 people have completed the training, including 312 unemployed young people. 102 school-leavers have found permanent employment or at least a temporary job after completing the training programme.

A total of 38 curriculums and standardised tests have been developed and introduced. Many educators have taken courses in skills enhancement and the pool of experts now includes 80 specialists.