Why #unicorn internships?

Research in Serbia has shown that young people have positive attitudes towards internships, but that 50% of young people were in a program of a non-mentoring internship program, 78% took part in a non-contractual internship program, and even 90% of the interns were not paid. Such data is not surprising given the findings of the Belgrade Open School analysis, which indicate that there is no adequate contractual form in Serbia for regulating the relationship between those who are offering internship program and interns and that there are no mechanisms for ensuring the quality of internship.

 

 

 

Do internships for youth in Serbia have enough quality? What aspects need to be improved? What can we say about intern’s stories? What do experts suggest we do to improve the legal framework for quality internships? These are just some of the questions we discussed with the goal of finding the best solution to improve state of internships.

Jelena Manic Radoicic, manager of Belgrade Open School, made opening remarks where she stated the importance of quality internships as a mechanism for faster employment. Afterwards, discussion began with young panelists who analyzed main difficulties they were faced with during their first experience as interns. Highlight of discussion was that even though their stories were different, they lacked some important aspects of quality internships. It was necessary to regulate internships through changes in the legal system. Afterwards, expert and lawyer Dr. Mario Reljanovic introduced a proposal of normative changes in the regimes of internships, which initiated a constructive discussion with the goal of finding a best solution for key stakeholders in this process. Participants presented their opinion of creating a contract for internships and agreed that internships have a great deal of value for youth. The importance of further analysis and discussion on this subject was emphasized.

Even though internships in Serbia are widely spread, our legal framework does not recognize a legal and contractual obligation between an intern and employer. Whereat elements of quality internships contain contractual relationship, mentorship, some kind of financial motivation, a good internship is, like a unicorn, impossible to find.

Therefore the main symbol of this year’s campaign is a #unicorn. We believe that internships are a valuable experience for professional development of young people, so unicorns have a strong message – quality internship shapes a young individual to be special and unique on the labour market, and contribute to development of their environment.

 

Quality Internships – Consultative Meetings

Last month, under the initiative of Belgrade Open School, individual consultative meetings were held with representatives of trade unions, Labour and Education ministries, American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia, Serbian Association of Employers, representatives of “Education to Employment” programme. Meetings, under which the proposals for normative changes in the regimes of performing internships were presented, were held within the project “Improving the Framework for Traineeship and Internship Programs”, and realised with the support of Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit.

 

 

These meetings had a unified opinion that today’s youth is faced with a series of barriers while searching for a job. As the formal education is uncoordinated with the labour market needs, the importance of internships as a process of learning while acquiring work experience is becoming unquestionable. Therefore, some constructive solutions were given in order to, through draft amendments to the Labour law, improve the situation and decrease youth unemployment. Main conclusion is that, through mentorship and monitoring of learning objectives, it is necessary to secure a good quality of internships.

Research in Serbia has shown that young people have positive attitudes towards internships, but that 50% of young people were in a program of a non-mentoring internship program, 78% took part in a non-contractual internship program, and even 90% of the interns were not paid. Such data is not surprising given the findings of the Belgrade Open School analysis, which indicate that there is no adequate contractual form in Serbia for regulating the relationship between those who are offering internship program and interns and that there are no mechanisms for ensuring the quality of internship.

Internships have numerous positive effects for decreasing the length of transition from education to labour market, improvement of knowledge, skills and competences, acquiring experience and exploring career options. However, these effects can be anticipated only if internships have quality, mentorship, monitoring objectives and are limited in duration, within contractual obligation in the beginning and certificate at the end of internship.

In the following period, Belgrade Open School will continue its consultations process related to the proposal for normative changes in the regimes of performing internships and organise events for promotion of importance of quality internships.

Advanced training on career guidance and counseling in high schools

How can we help students to make career decisions based on authentic and relevant information? What competencies are necessary for career practitioners to successfully provide career guidance and counseling services? How we can prepare students for a job or internship interview? These are just some of the topics we addressed during the two-day training "One step further towards comprehensive and quality services of career guidance and counseling", held on September 19-20 in Belgrade.

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WeB4YES Sub-granting Support to the Civil Society Organizations

On September 6, 2019, Belgrade Open School organised a Grant Award Ceremony for 18 small scale civil society organisations from the Western Balkans. CSOs have been awarded with the financial support from European Union.

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What are the challenges in career guidance development in Serbia compared to the Western Balkan countries and the European Union?

How to obtain a job, decide to change a job, choose secondary school or higher education institution, go back to education after several years of work – those are the challenges which every person face at some moment in time. Decisions, which are not easy for anyone, are being made in the context of the world of work in which insecurity and changes are only constants. Behind the support provided to individuals to make career decisions based on reliable information, stand the term “career guidance and counselling” often followed by the attribute “lifelong” to point out that this kind of support is needed for citizens of any age and in any life period.

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5 for 5! - Five awards at the Fifth Fair of Schools Teams for Career Guidance and Counseling

That school activities can at the same time encourage creativity and innovation of students while actively contributing to identifying their own competencies and interests related to further education, showed the jubilee fifth edition of the Fair of Schools Teams for Career Guidance and Counseling held at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce on the 27th of May 2019. 

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Conference "Good Quality Internships in a Digital Age" held in Belgrade

The international conference „Good quality internships in a digital age“ which was organized by the Belgrade Open School, was held on April 10th 2019 in Belgrade.

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BOS Career

The first free online system in Serbia for career planning. We offer you self-assessment tests, descriptions of jobs and faculties, career plan form and CV! Our Career Advisor is at your disposal for all types of careers doubts.

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Through its programme area for improvement of employability Belgrade Open School supports individuals in finding creative answers to the challenges of searching, getting and keeping a job and advancing in both their professional and personal lives