With new skills, new job opportunities come

February 16, 2024

“I want to create more life opportunities for myself, but I also want to do something I would enjoy. For this, it is necessary for me to constantly learn and accept new challenges,” says Slavica, an environmental analyst by education, who after her graduation faced the fact that options for finding a good job were not many. The 26-year-old graduate chose to be active and increase her employment opportunities; she understood that upgrading her talents and learning new skills was fundamental to achieve this.

“QA tester training seemed like a good first step in acquiring some knowhow in programming. As a beginner, I received a stable and reliable basis for further learning and progress in this field. What’s the most important, I received some new confidence, with new perspectives opening before me in terms of acquiring and perfecting my IT skills, as well as opportunities to monetise on this new knowledge.” 

Slavica’s decision to try programming and thus make a more secure future for herself was made easier by the fact that she had the opportunity to attend a set of training in her city, Novi Sad, initiated by a UNDP initiative for economic and social empowerment of returnees, with a special emphasis on Roma, with the support by the European Union. The trainings were designed and organised to offer young people from vulnerable groups, who often do not have multiple opportunities for additional training, new knowledge, enabling them to fulfil their potentials. 

446 young men and women from Novi Sad, Valjevo and Bujanovac got the chance to acquire new skills and learn crafts in line with their interests – from training for masseurs, cooks, beauticians, make-up professionals, computer servicing, auto mechanic and QA tester, to improving “soft skills”, such as communication, public appearance and assertiveness.  

For the twenty-nine-year-old Sara, an unemployed mother with master’s degree in economy, this was a perfect chance to turn her passion into an additional source of income. 

“After giving birth, I did not have a job, and while I waited to for some professional opportunities, I started a course on professional make-up. Make-up was always my passion. It is where I can be creative, and I am also a highly sociable person and like meeting new women. I still want to work as an economist, but I’m happy that now I can also do make-up on the side at a more professional level, and additionally fill my budget.” 

For some of the youth this has been a more than needed opportunity to learn a professional skill which could help them being financially independent. Among them is the sixteen-year-old Uroš, who after the car mechanic training, can now practice the calling he loves in one of the largest car repair shops in Valjevo.  

“As I go to a secondary technical school, acquiring some practice was really important to me. So I came upon this car mechanic training and applied immediately. I was over the moon when they selected me! I learned a lot during the training, older colleagues were always there to make corrections and explain everything I wanted to know. I got the opportunity to continue working in this car repair shop, in line with my school obligations, of course.” 

For Uroš, car mechanic became his chosen profession, as he dreams of his future. “One day, when I become master of this job, I’d like to open my own shop.”  

For David and Denis, two cousins from Bujanovac with no previous professional experience, training in PVC joinery represented something entirely new in their lives: 

“After finishing primary school, it was not easy to find a job. And I always wanted to learn a craft, get a certificate and be able to do a job well and recognized professionally. The training helped me gain necessary skills, so I started to work and now it’s up to me to get practice,” says thirty-two-year-old Denis. Due to this training, after many years of searching, Denis finally got employed. 


The trainings attended by these young people were held within the regional project “Strengthening of the National and Local Systems of Support to Socio-Economic Integration of Returnees in the Western Balkans”, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UNDP in Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia.  

Find out more:

-Reintegration of returnees in the Western Balkans project