The Programme of Vocational Retraining for IT, Accessible to Persons with Disabilities

November 21, 2019

A visit to the programme participants

Belgrade, 20th November 2019  - At the Faculty of Organisational Sciences in Belgrade, a programme of vocational retraining for IT intended for persons with disabilities has got under way. Mihailo Jovanović, PhD, Director of the Office for IT and eAdmimnistration, Zoran Đorđević, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Issues, and Francine Pickup, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia, visited the Faculty of Organisational Sciences and the Research & Development Centre, and together with the Faculty Dean Milija Suknović, PhD, they met up with the attendees of the vocational retraining programme.

“The vocational retraining programme for IT constitutes a continuation of a successful programme initiated by the Government of Serbia, within the framework of which 2,000 participants have been retrained so far, the aim being to make it easier for them to find employment in the IT sector as junior programmers in the future. The programme was initiated acting upon a proposal given by the Ministerial Council for Information Technologies and Innovative Entrepreneurship, presided over by the Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Serbia Ana Brnabić. This cycle of the programme is intended for persons with disabilities residing on the territory of the City of Belgrade who are motivated to develop the knowledge and skills required for getting employment in the IT sector, regardless of their age, education or previous work experience”, Jovanović stated.

He added that the vocational retraining programme for IT had proved very successful indeed, for the percentage of the participants from the first cycle of the programme who found employment afterwards was in excess of 30%, that the right to knowledge and advanced training must be equally accessible to all, and that this was the first time that the programme of vocational retraining for IT included persons with disabilities, and that it was carried out with the assistance of the Office for Information Technologies and eAdministration, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Association the Forums of Young People with Disabilities.

“Providing employment for persons with disabilities if of exceptional importance. As opposed to the practice of earlier times, today we strive to provide as good living and working conditions for people with disabilities as possible. Concerning the issue of vocational retraining, the Faculty of Organisational Sciences (FOS) provides an example of good practice, and I believe that this will produce good results. That persons with disabilities can perform jobs in the IT sector excellently has been proved by our very Ministry, where two persons with disabilities have been employed, and they are performing their jobs in the domain of IT excellently”, Đorđević said, adding that the sector he was managing would continue to pay special attention to this very important issue.

“From the year 2017 onwards, the UN Development Programme, in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, has been working on shaping and implementing the programme of vocational retraining for IT. In this latest phase of the programme, we have focused on the necessity of making it possible for all members of society to have equal access to knowledge, digital products and services, without leaving anyone forgotten and excluded from the possibility of making progress. For persons with disabilities to be members of society on an equal footing, it is necessary for them to acquire economic independence through employment. At the moment, only 13% of people with disabilities are employed in Serbia, whereas as many as 90% of them do not use a computer or the Internet. That is why, through this programme, we are striving to help them increase their chances of getting employed and becoming a part of the fast-growing IT sector, which has very good perspectives”, stated Francine Pickup, Resident Representative of UNDP in Serbia.

“For years now, the FOS has been proving that it is an institution with first-class capacities and expertise when it comes to improving the capacity of the state administration, and it is a leading institution in the domain of training and education courses that are different from classical teaching courses delivered to students. Also, through the nature of its programmes of studies, the FOS strives, relying on its resources and knowhow, to help such programmes become established and accessible to persons with disabilities”, said the Dean of the Faculty of Organisational Sciences Milija Suknović, PhD.

The programme of vocational retraining for IT aims to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies of persons with disabilities, with a view to enabling them to get employed in the IT sector, through the realisation of training programmes for the basics of web programming and acquiring practical experience through a practice programme.