Novi Sad, Vojvodina (SRB), 14 September 2011
Vojvodina is the first region to host the Assembly of European Regions’ (AER) Peer Review on youth employment. During the opening of this one-week session, Ms Maja Sedlarevic, Vice-President of the Assembly of AP Vojvodina, highlighted the importance of an open-minded approach when a region is been reviewed. “For us, this peer review is an excellent tool to better understand both our strengths and challenges, to better meet the European standards related to youth employment and, most of all, to learn what could be improved and how. I am convinced that this joint effort with the AER experts will bring us concrete recommendations as we, for sure in the future, will make to our partners”, she concluded.
With approximately 2 million inhabitants, 300 000 of which are young people, this region’s economy picked up in 2010 due to strong exports and the adoption of timely and appropriate employment measures. However, nearly 40% of young people do not complete secondary education, whereas those who intend to continue their studies have significant difficulties in finding employment in their field of specialisation. The region has tried to confront this problem by investing in inclusive internship schemes with private companies and by promoting education accessible to all. Avoiding the mismatch of skills would be far easier if secondary schools advised their students on what skills the labour market is in need of.
In order to help Vojvodina in creating the region’s first strategy for youth employment, AER experts were invited to proactively interview various regional and national Serbian stakeholders, representatives from educational institutions, youth organisations and employment centres.
First observations by the review team
1. State dependence: approximately 70% of the population works for the State, or depends from it. There is a lack of investment from private companies and one of the IMF measures is precisely to avoid new contracts in the public sector.
2. Youth employment policy: the cooperation between the region’s ministries for both youth and employment is key to improve young people’s situation on the labour market.
3. Secondary schools reform: there should be a better link between schools, universities, public and private sectors, and civil society. One of the ideas discussed was to have in each school an officer in charge of establishing the bridge with the other parts and to inform students of the real opportunities in the market.
4. Brain drain: massive emigration is not a specific problem for this region, however it still remains a danger to be conscious of.
5. What skills are mostly needed in this region? This question needs to be tackled if the region is to improve young people’s preparation for the transition to the labour market.
The list of recommendations drafted by AER experts will lead to Vojvodina’s action plan on youth employment; its concrete outcomes will be presented in May 2012 in Brussels. By then, AER will have organised three more peer reviews: 20 to 24 November in Açores (P), 30 January to 3 February 2012 in Krapina Zagorje (HR) and in Hampshire (UK) from the 26 to 30 March 2012.
Members of AER experts team:
Zorana Kacanski – Assembly of AP of Vojvodina, Department for Interregional Cooperation
Vesna Karmenorovic – Assembly of AP of Vojvodina, Advisor for Employment issues at the Provincial Secretariat for Labor, Employment and Gender Equality, Sector for Employment.
Miguel Mares Garces, President of Valencia Regional Local Development Agencies Association
Goran Vukmanic, Croatian Employment Service, Regional Office Krapina Zagorje (HR)
Débora Pavao, Regional Directorate of Youth, Açores (P)
Francis Pyke, Freelance researcher, from Manchester (UK)
For more information about PYE:
Financed by the European Commission in the framework of PROGRESS, a programme established to support financially the implementation of the EU objectives in employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, PYE’s main goal is to support young people’s access to jobs through a set of innovative tools.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org