EBRD joins private sector initiative to tackle youth unemployment in Croatia

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca

Tackling youth unemployment is the main topic of a two-day international conference that started today in Dubrovnik with the participation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The International Conference Human Resources Business Arena 2014 brings together decision-makers, senior managers and human resources (HR) professionals representing the most prominent businesses across central and eastern Europe, to promote youth inclusion in the labour market.

Participants will discuss job provision, traineeships and apprenticeships, business start-up support and partnerships that target young people not in employment, education or training. Participating companies – including Agrokor, Atlantic Grupa, Bingo, Delta Holding, Gorenje, IBM, Mk Grupa, Nestlé Adriatic, NIS-Gasprom Njeft, PLIVA, Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Privredna banka Zagreb – and the IEDC-Bled School of Management will also sign a Youth Employment Initiative pledging to support the economic inclusion of youth.

Unemployment in Croatia, the EU’s newest member state, has increased sharply during the recession of recent years, standing at 22.7 per cent in February 2014. The rate of youth unemployment is particularly high, currently standing at 48.8 per cent.

Speaking at the event, EBRD Director for Croatia, Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, said: “The private sector plays a crucial role in addressing youth unemployment and enhancing its economic inclusion. At the EBRD we believe that providing young people with opportunities for training and work can pave the way for economic recovery and for Croatia’s transition to an open-market economy.”

The EBRD’s investments are structured to open economic opportunities for women, young people or those living in regions that are economically less advanced. For example, ahead of an investment in Marina Dalmacija, the largest marina on the Adriatic coast, the Bank has brokered a partnership between the marina operator, Marina Dalmacija Group, and the Maritime High School of Zadar to provide a sustainable, on-site training programme for graduates and young people, based on the best international practice.

“Businesses have a clear interest in ensuring that education and training create the skilled labour force they will need for the future. Such partnerships between companies and educational institutions play an important role in addressing youth unemployment and we encourage more firms to undertake similar initiatives. As the Croatian economy remains in recession, it is essential that young people receive support to ensure employment,” concluded Jelušić Kašić.