All young people should find a place at the labour market

June 18, 2024

Radmila Lalović, young law school graduate from Novi Sad

Photo: Momira Marković

Many of us found ourselves in this situation - trying our hand at the labour market after graduating from school, full of dreams and expectations. After a series of unanswered applications, we would often be forced to adapt our career pathways, sometimes even give up on our dreams.

Today a new generation is facing similar, and it seems even harder challenges. Competition is greater than ever, and formal education is increasingly less able to meet the employers’ needs.

This is the impression held by twenty-eight-year-old Radmila Lalović, a young law school graduate from Novi Sad who, facing the limited job offer, decided to add to her skills so she could do the job she wanted

“I realized the degree is just not enough any longer. There are many law school graduates, and not enough adequate jobs out there. So, I started additional training and development at the university, aware that this is the only way to go. Now I turned to training that is highly relevant in the times we live in and enrolled in an IT skills course and a soft skills course. Perhaps there was a time when these skills didn’t matter, but nowadays they are necessary. Perhaps I’ll find a job in my chosen profession, but even if that does not happen, I want to be able to start my own business and secure a source of revenue.”

Until recently Radmila was in the NEET group of young people (NEET - not in employment, education or training) that are not in the education system, have no jobs, and are not included in a training programme. 

Milica Sekulić

The problem Radmila and her peers are facing was recognised by the European Youth Centre of Vojvodina that is attempting to pave the way for young people to the labour market through select courses. “NEET youth are a highly vulnerable group facing challenges such as unemployment, social exclusion, and difficulties in finding stable pathways to employment and further education”, Milica Sekulić of the European Youth Centre of Vojvodina says. 

“This is why we came to the idea to make it possible for them to acquire additional skills that will lead them one step closer to their chosen profession, or help them recognise some new horizons and opportunities, and find their way under the labour market sun. Youths acquire basic knowledge from the technologies that are in highest demand in the IT sector, such as WordPress, HTML and CSS, Bootstrap, PHP and MySQL, SCRUM and SCRUM master, QA software testing, and a DevOps course. In addition to enhancing their IT skill, they will also get an opportunity to improve their interpersonal skills and learn about various forms of communication.”

Thirty-three-year-old Ivana Milojević also enrolled on the IT and soft skills course. As a young person with a disability, her employment options are even narrower. Ivana is a high school graduate and has a strong desire to acquire new knowledge that would help her find work. However, since she is unable to move around and leave home, this was wishful thinking for a long time. 

“It's hard to find work for persons with disabilities, since employers mostly look for young people with experience. Nobody wants to take you in and train you online. On the other hand, additional training is expensive, and when you’re not working, you’re unable to afford this amount with no guarantees you will find employment later. That’s why I am overjoyed to be part of this training that is completely free.”
says Ivana Milojević.

Although they lack all necessary knowledge, employers sometimes neglect a very important quality young people do possess: “Employers miss out on recognising young people’s enthusiasm. They try to fit them into some recognisable patterns, instead of using the energy and ideas young people carry with them”, Radmila says and adds that the support she has received makes her feel more confident to seize the future she wants. “I already started my own newsletter, and the IT skills course prepared me to develop my own website or edit a video. This is major help for creating my blog, that is going to be my next step.” On the other hand, Ivana is currently in the final round of interviews for a new job, and she is more prepared for it now than she has ever been before.

Young people do not lack enthusiasm, the desire to work and prove themselves. All they need is a little support and understanding to fulfil their potential, make their own fortune and greatly contribute to society. 

The European Youth Centre of Vojvodina implemented the project “Knowledge and Skills for Better Economic Perspectives of NEET youth” with partner organisations Novi Sad Women’s Initiative (Novosadska ženska inicijativa) and Jobs for the Youth (Poslovi za mlade). This project was implemented with the support from the Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2) funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme.

Ivana Milojević

Photo: Momira Marković