Youth Dialogue with the Prime Minister: On Internships and Quality Youth Employment

On February 19, 2021, in the national Government, the Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic, for the second time met with the youth including the representatives from Belgrade Open School (BOS) – Goran Radlovacki and Jovana Bozickovic.


WEB4YES: The 4th partners meeting in Sarajevo - Advocating for better employment conditions for young people in the Western Balkans

Young people from Western Balkans countries face numerous challenges in finding good career opportunities for mobility. The WEB4YES Regional Initiative seeks to defy these statistics and help creating better conditions for all young people by empowering civil society organizations to participate in decision-making processes and advocacy activities regarding the youth employment policies.

While 18 awarded organizations from the Western Balkans conduct their local initiatives supported by the WEB4YES grant scheme, the project consortium held the 4th Partner Meeting in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The two-day meeting was held from 5th to 6th of March 2020. in Sarajevo, hosted by the Kult partner organization. During this meeting, the consortium discussed the results achieved in 2019., implemented advocacy campaigns and the progress of the grantee projects. Special attention was paid to the final arrangements on how to promote an innovative workforce and youth mobility platform in the Western Balkans, which is expected to be launched very soon.

The WEB4YES project coordinator is Belgrade Open School, and partners in the project are Association for Democratic Prosperity - ZID (Montenegro), NGO Lens (Kosovo), Association Beyond Barriers (Albania), Institute for Youth Development - KULT (Bosnia and Herzegovina), National the Macedonian Youth Council and the Olof Palme International Center (Sweden).

For more information, visit the official project communication channels:

Website: www.web4yes.esu



How European initiatives can contribute to more inclusive services in the hospitality sector

Popular places for youth gatherings are public squares, cafes, restaurants, clubs and various places that are rich in cultural amenities such as cinemas, theaters. However, do we sometimes wonder if ALL young people have access to youth content. Access to services, training staff to provide the same quality of service to all guests, regardless of the type of support they require, whether they are handicapped, pregnant women, the elderly or a person with a unique diet, is addressed by the HORECACCESS project with which the partner and Belgrade Open School.In the Human Rights Week, traditionally held on the first week of December, the Belgrade Open School Team from December 1-4, 2019 participated in a partnership meeting and an international conference in Brussels on "How European initiatives can contribute to more inclusive services in the sector catering. " A series of interactive lectures were presented by eminent experts in the field of industry and social inclusion, as well as representatives of associations of persons with disabilities. Marina Lukić, a project assistant in the field of employability improvement, presented the rally in front of the Belgrade Open School. She presented one of the results of the project - a training manual for training that will train young people to work and provide affordable conditions for persons / participants / guests with disabilities.

Within the HORECACCESS project - accessibility of services in the horeca sector, besides trainers' manuals, materials such as a guide on understanding the concept of youth with disabilities, a manual with examples of adequate and inadequate treatment of persons with disabilities in catering services, and android applications with “Quick tricks” on how to act on the spot when, for example, you find a customer in the restaurant where you work that needs some extra support.
In 2020, we expect an intense piloting period for these tools, which will begin with the training of teachers hired first in catering schools, as well as youth workers who want to empower themselves to work more inclusively with different groups, such as people with disabilities.

For more information click  HERE

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.

Mentoring and sport for social inclusion

When it comes to mentoring, there are many areas and situations in which we can apply it . We can talk about peer mentoring, mentoring at companies or educational institutions. However, what about  sport and mentoring when it comes to empowering young people with disabilities? We tried to find answers of these questions during a study visit to Florence as part of the VM - PRO - Validation of Youth Mentoring project, which also strives to enable young people with disabilities to identify their competencies and interests to their direct their personal development and complete their education.

Study visit to Florence brought together participants from Serbia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Turkey and Italy in period of 5th to 8th of November. Participants had the opportunity to get in touch with several relevant organizations and institutions working with young people with disabilities, and to hear how their mentor(s) enable them to improve their competencies and potentials. Also, participants visited sports center Calenzano in Prato which organizes sports training for the regular swimming team and swimming team in which they are a youth with Dawn Syndrome. Some of the youth in that team are also members of the Paralympic team of Italy. During the visit to the Florence Sports Center, the participants had the opportunity to attend rhythmic gymnastics training where train girls with some disability and girls from the general population. The coaches of these specials teams shared their experiences as well as personal opinions on how mentoring can contribute to social inclusion of youth. The last day of the visit was reserved for the Florence Social Service where partners presented the  support system for youth and adults with disabilities.

The final event of the study visit was the conference "Novel mentoring validation system that supports the prevention of educational and labor market dropout of youth with disabilities". The conference was opened by the project coordinator Matteo Perchiazzi from the Italian School Mentoring, who presented the basic ideas of the VM PRO project and spoke about the importance of sustainability of this project as well as similar initiatives, to promote inclusion and also mentoring.  Marina Lukic from Belgrade Open School shared inspirational stories of young people with disabilities from Serbia from a mentee perspective.

The project is being implemented by SIM - SCUOLA ITALIANA DI MENTORING (Italy), in partnership with ASSOCIAZIONE MOSAICO (Italy), MARIE CURIE ASSOCIATION - MCA (Bulgaria), PHOENIXKM BVBA (Belgium), International Association for Vocational Education and Training (Turkey) and Belgrade Open School.


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