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Private Sector Youth Initiative to promote opportunities and inclusion for Croatia’s young

By Axel  Reiserer

Private Sector Youth Initiative to promote opportunities and inclusion for Croatia’s young

Launch of joint programme by the EBRD and Croatian Employers’ Association

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP) are jointly launching the Private Sector Youth Initiative to promote the inclusion of young people in the labour market. The initiative will address the skills mismatch of young people and expand economic opportunities for women.

To achieve these goals the initiative will work closely with private sector companies, professional women associations and academic institutions. The partnership will be supported by People 1st during the set-up phase.

The initiative will:

  • introduce recognised international standards in relation to internship policies and practices and mentorship opportunities in the private sector in Croatia
  • foster closer engagement of the private sector and academic institutions to make curricula in higher education institutions  more relevant for industry
  • 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 programme will start in December 2016. It will initially offer at least 100 internship places for students and at least 20 mentoring opportunities for women. The initiative will last for 18 months with the possibility of an extension. Companies that have already indicated their interest in participating include Atlantic Grupa, Erste banka, Ina, Orbico and Podravka. Participating universities include the University of Osijek, the University of Pula and the Faculty of Economy at the University of Rijeka.

The Private Sector Youth Initiative aims to help reduce the skills mismatch in Croatia by bringing together academic institutions, private companies and professional associations in creating first job experiences for young people through high quality internships and providing a route into employment. Additional support will be provided to young women to enhance their employability and help them overcome “soft” barriers to entering the labour market.

The initiative will focus on the capacity building of companies to increase awareness and know-how in relation to quality internship standards (based on EU standards), monitoring of standards achieved, promotion of best practice and lessons learned and tracking of employment outcomes for interns. As a result of quality internships, the initiative also expects to achieve significant skills transfer from employers to students. By engaging directly in the training of students, firms can address the mismatch between the academic curriculum and their skills demand, contributing to the improvement of training quality and relevance, and benefiting from having access to potential recruits trained in the skills required in the workplace.

All stakeholders under the programme will endeavour to apply the best practices on work-based learning such as the European Quality Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships or other international best practices.

Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Director, Regional Head of Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Slovak Republic, said: “We are very pleased with this initiative and a proud supporter of its goals. Boosting youth employment opportunities and inclusion fits perfectly with our strategy for Croatia. We also expect the success of the programme to find wider recognition and have an impact in the region. Matching the talents of young people with the needs of employers will mean a big step forward for the Croatian economy.”

Davor Majetić, Director General of Croatia’s Employers’ Association, said: “With this pilot project we wanted to enable all young people to gain skills and knowledge that would be of use when they looked for employment as well as in their future work. The employers will themselves benefit from this initiative since they will get the best students and through concrete tasks prepare for their future work and development, the final objective of the project being establishing work experience as an essential part of the school curriculum.”

Jane Rexworthy, Executive Director of People 1st, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative. Developing a national internship framework for Croatia based on international standards will benefit employers, students and education institutions. Internships provide young people with the opportunity to test the knowledge they have learned in the classroom in a real work environment, developing their competency and preparing them for future employment.”



About People 1st

People 1st is the United Kingdom’s leading skills and workforce development expert for the hospitality, travel, tourism, passenger transport and retail industries. As an impartial, trusted and effective strategic partner to our clients, we ensure our solutions develop employee skills and expertise, improve retention, productivity and profits and meet key staffing and development challenges.

From apprenticeship consultancy to occupational standards development, world-renowned WorldHost customer service training, “train the trainer” programmes, labour market intelligence and insights and talent management support, we are passionate about transforming skills and development both internationally and across the United Kingdom’s visitor economy.

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