The leading initiative within the project was the “Programme of Local Initiatives for Youth Employment”. The programme was implemented by way of the public call “Support to Innovative Approaches for Increasing Youth Employment and Employability” with a total budget of 150.000 Swiss francs. It was initiated on 1 February 2016, and completed in late July 2016.
Ten innovative approaches and solutions were supported during the programme, through three different support models, depending on the degree of development of the innovation.
MODEL 1, encompassing the early development of innovative ideas, included:
- Association for Local Development Kamenica – “Youth Development Service” – an innovative model of professional internships has been developed, based on networking students from local faculties and businesses, combining diagnostic and practical elements of professional internships, as well as joint work and life of young people in the same space.
- Enthusiasts of Kučevo – “To Make Youth Land Worth More” – a proposal was developed for a model collecting all local resources from the public, private and civil sector for successful business (organic food, rural tourism, etc.) and to provide support for youth to effectively utilise the available resources.
- Timok club Knjaževac – “Digital Inclusion” – a proposal was developed for the model of “learning by observing”, applicable to the students of the gymnasium in Knjaževac. As part of this concept, young people have the opportunity to spend several days in select companies and learn more about the specifics of a given occupation.
- Roma Association Novi Bečej – “Do You Know? Can You?” – by developing the profile of unemployed Roma persons, a considerable database was developed to more efficiently define local public policy measures for this target group. The proposed innovative model is based on the activities of the joint working group and on bridging the gap between the knowledge and skills of the unemployed and employer needs.
The associations under MODEL 2 had the task of testing or improving innovative solutions:
- Development Business Centre Kragujevac – “Local Partnerships for Youth Employment” – a new model of professional internships for youth was developed and tested, based on overcoming the gap between the existing competences of the target group and the needs of employers from the metalworking sector.
- Regional Educational Centre Banat, Zrenjanin – “Research Your Business” – the solution envisaged by this project provides an opportunity for unemployed youth to develop their own business ideas, improve their skills and knowledge and be ready to become entrepreneurs, with the assistance of an adequate training and mentorship programme.
- European Movement in Serbia Leskovac – “ACTIVATOR: Cluster Model of Support for Youth Employment through Internships” – multisectoral model, unifying resources from the public, private and civil sector, improved to elaborate previously developed training programmes for the development of entrepreneurship and mentorship programmes for entrepreneurs.
- Association “Fenomena” Kralјevo – “DAFF Agrobusiness Start-Up for Youth” – the project designed and tested a special approach to securing sustainable support for youth (predominantly female) entrepreneurship in the agriculture sector through non-formal education, the development of business ideas and financial incentives.
- Foundation for the Development of Economic Science, Belgrade – “N@PRED: Networking of the Economic and Educational Sector” – an online platform was developed and deployed, available as an instrument for networking for young people (secondary school and faculty students), researchers, university professors and business,. Using the platform, young people would gain the opportunity to publish their resumes and express interest for internships/professional internships/research work or employment in a given area, while businesses would gain the opportunity to advertise vacancies in research projects, jobs (short-term or permanent), internship opportunities, etc.
The association that had the goal of expanding the application of innovative approaches belonged to MODEL 3:
- Timok Youth Centre – “POMAK Transformation” – this project proposed a mechanism for transforming civil society organizations into social enterprises. The developed Manual for Civil Society Organizations is a very useful guide for all civil society organizations aiming to grow into social enterprises on the market.
Signing of the contracts with the winners of the public call (Impact Hub, Belgrade)
Social innovation workshop with the winners of the public call (Impact Hub, Belgrade)
Some of the main effects of the programme are:
- Increased employability of more than 100 end users
- 26 young people employed
- 10 young people in the procedure of opening their own business
- Local public policy measures improved
- More than 20 various civil-public partnerships founded
- Increased youth motivation for the development and testing of innovation, as well as their participation in these activities, particularly vulnerable categories of youth (Roma, persons with disabilities, NEET, single parents).