In empowering of young people, YourJob project is built on three major pillars. On the one hand, the goal is to empower young people to enter the labor market through education, counseling and various forms of competence development. The second cluster of activities is focused on the campaign to raise awareness and readiness of employers to include young workers in their companies. Special attention is paid to self-employment. Young people have the opportunity to acquire or improve their knowledge and skills for starting and running their own (social) businesses, and some of them to even get financial support to realize their business ideas.
“As a pedagogue, I would like to emphasize the importance of educating young people, especially high school students. We have achieved exceptional cooperation with high schools. Final year students are especially interested in project activities, since they are at a turning point in their lives. Project activities are complemented by the activities of school teams for professional orientation. In Ruma we have secondary vocational schools with practical classes, as well. In some schools, for certain professional profiles, the model of dual education has been applied – young people through theoretical teaching in school and learning through work with the employer, acquire and improve the knowledge and skills needed for their profession.These experiences are invaluable to students. Unfortunately, not all schools have practical classes and the possibility of training with employers. Also, it turned out that young people have lack of basic business and soft skills, so we realized numerous workshops and trainings within our project. Among young people, the most popular and attractive are ‘Time Management Skills’, ‘Business Communication’, ‘Sales Skills’, ‘Active job search training’; ‘Writing CV and cover letter’, ‘Job interview’ and many others… During the quarantine, we held these trainings online and young people showed great interest. Of course, we also organize professional courses, and we have individual career counseling with young people every day”, explained Ms. Lidia Irga, guidance counselor (GC) at the YorJob Youth Incubator Ruma.
Self-employment and entrepreneurship development
“Entrepreneurship development in less developed municipalities is one of the potential solutions to unemployment. We are aware that entrepreneurs can and should be a pillar of our economy. Growth in the private sector will improve the economic situation at both local and national levels, which will certainly contribute to a better quality of life for young people. However, there are many obstacles for young people who want to become entrepreneurs. They need knowledge, experience, familiarity with regulations, but also capital to start their own business. For many, these obstacles are insurmountable. As part of the YourJob project, we strive to help young people overcome these obstacles. A three-day boot camp for the development of entrepreneurial skills was organized in March. At the camp, they had the opportunity to learn the basics of starting and running their own business, but also to hear many useful tips from successful entrepreneurs. Participation in the boot camp was a condition for participation in the competition for obtaining grants in the form of non-refundable funds for starting your own business. Unfortunately, due to the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many candidates withdrew. However, the bravest continued to work during quarantine and participated online in all activities. All the ideas were exceptional and the commission had a difficult task. Finally, three business ideas were financially supported. Of course, others will have the opportunity to improve their business plans and apply in the second round of grants. To our great satisfaction, the interest of young people in entrepreneurship has increased significantly after the first Boot Camp. We can proudly say that in a very short amount of time we managed to start proactivating young people in the field of entrepreneurship in a small, underdeveloped municipality and to partially change their mindset – instead of looking for a dream job, create one for themselves!”, said Ms. Jovana Stojanović, GC at Aleksinac Youth Incubator, graduated in law.
Professional practice and cooperation with employers
“We have achieved successful cooperation with all key actors in the local community. We have the support of numerous institutions, whose representatives are aware of the importance of the project. However, perhaps more importantly, the importance of the YourJob project has been recognized by employers from both the public and private sectors. Employers, especially from the private sector, rarely dare to hire an inexperienced young person. They need someone who will bring results immediately. It does not pay off for them to train young staff for months, and at the same time, it is uncertain that this young person will eventually prove to be appropriate for that job. Therefore, the YourJob project provides young people with a six-month paid internship with an employer. So far, we have implemented internships in accounting agencies, consulting firms, craft workshops, public companies, libraries, NGOs… We are especially proud of the fact that we have implemented internships for categories particularly difficult to employ – people with disabilities and members of national minorities. Through this practice, young people acquire much-needed first work experience that will recommend them for further engagements and for that they receive a salary. On the other hand, in addition to contributing to the development of the entire society by hiring young people, employers have also seen a benefit for themselves – they get an extra pair of hands for free, a young staff eager to prove themselves and full of new ideas. Also, this type of engagement is also a type of probationary work. According to previous experiences, most employers are extremely satisfied with their interns. We hope that many will decide to hire their interns after the internship is over. The importance of our support in professional practice programs and starting entrepreneurship proved to be especially important during the pandemic, when support and assistance to employers were provided through advisory work, in order to easily overcome the situation in which we all found ourselves. Opportunities in the labor market are permeated with numerous challenges, and the synergy of the YourJob project with key actors at the local level is extremely important for the entire local community, “said Ms. Milica Bogdanov, GC at the Youth Incubator from Zrenjanin, a graduate adult educator.
Thanks to the professional, but also extremely dedicated work of consultants, YourJob has been locally recognized as a project of exceptional importance. Caritas Serbia is convinced that such a comprehensive approach to the problem of situations, in the places where the project is being implemented, will at least partially improve. Caritas in Serbia continues with dedicated work, providing support to young people, but also to all vulnerable categories of the population.