Centre for Youth Work jointly with Foundation Ana and Vlade Divac and Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, initiated the “NEETworking” platform for NEET youth support. The platform gathered more than 120 representatives of the Government of Serbia , EU delegation, public institutions, civil society organizations, business sector, and media.
The conference opened a national dialogue on the position of NEET youth – the youth not in employment, not in education or not in training, which should improve the youth support system through intersectoral cooperation.
All together 160 participants of the conference with representatives of line ministries, the National Employment Service, youth offices, civil society organizations, online platforms for employment and business sector, divided into three working groups, discussed about cross-sectorial cooperation, youth outreach, innovative youth employment models, and the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the youth and youth employment.
The main conclusions and recommendations of the national dialogue are:
- High NEET rate in Serbia (19% ) indicate that the NEET youth have to be recognized as a specific hard-to-employ category in all national strategic and legislative documents;
- Due to NEET youth’s heterogeneity, they are very hard to reach and work with, especially the one who are inactive (50% of NEET youth in Serbia are inactive ). Therefore, it is important to joint all existing resources and to create innovative, cross-sectorial and tailor made (one-stop-shop) youth employment services and programmes;
- Although, both public institutions and civil society organizations are lacking the capacities , civil society organization are recognized as important labour market stakeholders who have been more successful in NEET outreaching and career guidance and counselling. Therefore, it is a recommended to harmonize employment legislation (The Law on Employment and Unemployment Insurance, The Law on Agency Employment and The Law on Youth) in order to civil society organizations are formally recognized as labour market stakeholders.
- Capacities of all labour market stakeholders (human resources and financial) need to be built in order to respond on NEET’s and labour market’s needs, as well as to implement different national and EU financial support instruments and programmes for youth employment (such as the Youth Guarantee).
- The coronavirus epidemic has further aggravated the NEET’s position at labour market because the sectors in which most NEET youth work (tourism, crafts, seasonal jobs, etc.), were highly affected (92% of employers claim that their business volume was reduced ). The corona virus epidemic has emphasized the need to educate NEET youth for jobs for the future in the field of 4.0 digital revolution and green economy in order to improve their labour market position and to be less vulnerable to different socio-economic challenges.
Centre for Youth Work, Foundation Ana and Vlade Divac and Belgrade Centre for Human Rights as “NEETworking” platform’s initiators will participate in the public discussion on the National Employment Strategy for period 2021 – 2026 in order to advocate that these conference’s recommendations are included in a new employment strategy.
“NEETworking” platform is a good example of success in influencing cross-sectorial policy dialogue, which is based on research and data that are preconditions for evidence-based policies. A social dialogue is basis for creating a favourable youth employment environment. In particular, cross-sectorial cooperation is very important when it comes to an employment and young people, especially the one who are under the greatest risk of social exclusion – the youth not in employment, not in education or not in training.
The “NEETworking” platform is supported by Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Ministry of Finance, Sector for Contracting and Financing of EU Funds, and the Swiss government through project “Education to Employment – E2E“ which on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, is implemented by Social Inclusion and Poverty Unit (SIPRU)
The “NEETworking” platform is part of the regional project entitled “My Career from Zero to Hero- Strengthening networks of Western Balkan CSOs to implement one-stop-shop youth employability model for future jobs of 4.0. digital revolution”, implemented by Centre for Youth Work (Serbia), in cooperation with Forum MNE (Montenegro), Centre for Youth Education – CEM (BiH), TOKA (Kosovo 1244/99), Youth for Social Changes – YSC (Albania). The project is funded by the European Union and implementation of the project is supported in each country by: Serbia – Swiss government through project “Education to Employment – E2E“ which on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, is implemented by Social Inclusion and Poverty Unit (SIPRU); Montenegro – Ministry of Public Administration of the Republic of Montenegro.