The Private Sector Youth Initiative launched in October 2016 by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) has mobilised more than 500 internships to date, allowing young people to gain their first work experience.
“Since launching, 110 companies and 21 academic institutions have joined the initiative - this response has exceeded all our expectations,” said Davor Majetić, HUP Director General, presenting the results to the annual meeting of the Croatian Employers’ Association in Zagreb today.
The goal of the initiative is to address the skills mismatch of young people and barriers of progression for young women. To achieve these goals, the EBRD and HUP are working closely with private sector companies, professional women associations and academic institutions.
“This is a big and very encouraging success but it is just the beginning,” added Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Director, Regional Head of Croatia, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia. “The registration process is still open and we expect many more opportunities to be available once the online promotion has started.”
Croatia has the third highest youth unemployment rate in the European Union (according to Eurostat data published on 1 December 2016), currently sitting at 43 per cent. This persistently high figure is leading many young people to search for jobs and opportunities abroad. This represents not only a loss of talent and skills within Croatia but it will also have an impact on the country’s long-term growth.
The goals of the Private Sector Youth Initiative are to:
- introduce recognised international standards in relation to internship policies and practices, as well as mentorship opportunities, in the Croatian private sector
- foster closer engagement of the private sector and academic institutions to make curricula in higher education institutions more relevant for local industries
- invite private companies to join and offer high quality internship opportunities that add value to learning outcomes for students
- provide the private sector with a larger talent pool of potential employees and create significant capacity building for future interns, companies and mentors.
The next steps for the Private Sector Youth Initiative will be the registration of companies and academic institutions, posting employers’ advertisements online and enrolling students from partner academic institutions in December 2016 and January 2017. This will be followed by the training of mentors, the start of the first internships and four regional events (in Zagreb, Osijek, Split and Rijeka) to present the initiative to employers and educational institutions.