The first phase of the “Youth Employment Initiative” lasted from October 2015 to October 2016 and amounted to 500,000 Swiss francs. The main activity of the project was the “Program of Local Initiatives for Youth Employment”. The program was conducted through open competition “Support for Innovative Approaches to Increase Employment and Employability of Young People” with a total budget of 150,000 Swiss francs.
It was launched on 1 February 2016 and completed in late July 2016. The program supported ten innovative approaches and solutions through three different models of support, depending on the degree of maturity of the innovations.
In addition to the Programme, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, in cooperation with the Belgrade Open School in Ruma, organized an exchange of experiences, where eight teams presented different models of internships with a focus on programs that occur after the completion of formal education (apprenticeship programs and internships). The main conclusions are that it is necessary to define the minimum standards of program quality for apprenticeships and internships, and improve the legislative framework in accordance with the Quality Framework of the European Union.
The project included the ex-post impact assessment package of services for young people and active labour market measures aimed at young people, providing guidelines for improving the effectiveness of active labour market policies and raising the quality of services provided to unemployed youth. It also produced an assessment of public expenditures from the budget of the Republic of Serbia during the period 2013-2015 for policies aimed at increasing the employability and employment of young people.
The process of planning, implementation and monitoring of policies for youth employment has been recognized at the level of many EU member states as a key element of the success of countries that have reduced the rate of youth unemployment. The document “Proposal for a platform for the promotion of national dialogue to increase the employability and employment of youth” is based on research literature from the Republic of Serbia and the European Union on existing solutions and practices regarding the coordination of the process of implementation of youth employment policies. The document adopted by the European Parliament in early October 2016, The Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative Three Years On (Strasbourg, 10.4.2016 SWD (2016) 323 final) was also used during the final stage of development.
With the support of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, the Junior Achievement organization has made it possible for high school students to have their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills tested. The system used was the “Entrepreneurial Skills Pass”, an international instrument for acquiring qualifications and obtaining a certificate. Additionally, the best student company in Serbia “Plantagenet” took part in the European competition in Lucerne (Switzerland) in July 2016, and Serbia will host the competition next year.
As part of the promotion of “Youth Employment Initiative” we supported LiceUlice, presented the EU initiative “Youth Pact” organized in Serbia, as well as the 35th Belgrade Ignite event where young active people presented their inspiring experiences of their struggle for an inclusive society.