The British Council has received funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funding to implement ‘Employer Engagement and Reform of VET in Western Balkans’ project, the aim of which is to contribute to the prosperity and security agendas of six countries in the Western Balkan region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.) This is achieved through key interventions that, by engaging with governments, employers and education providers, will ultimately improve young people’s employability prospects.
Project implementation started in August 2015 and ended in June 2016.The British Council is working with the six countries’ educational institutions, decision makers and industry representatives to ensure that the Vocational Education and Training (VET) that takes place in the region’s schools is responsive to labour market demands.
The project both promotes the stability of these countries and supports them on their path towards European integration by improving human resources policies and the overall quality of education systems in the region.
Crucially, this project is strengthening relations between the UK and Western Balkan governments, in addition to building the capacity of VET teachers and employer representatives in areas such as creating effective partnerships between educational institutions and businesses, all the while drawing on the UK’s best practice models. Additionally, this project has also strived to build the capacity of the region’s sector skills councils, equipping them with the necessary information and skills to develop occupational standards and qualifications.
By engaging employers in VET and driving collaboration between educational establishments, it is expected that an up-to-date, competency-based VET curricula will be developed. This will ensure students’ smooth transition from education into employment as the skills acquired through their studies will be relevant to the world of work. Consequently, the project is helping to steadily increase young people’s chances of developing stronger employability skills, ultimately helping to reduce unemployment rates in the region.
One of the outputs of the project was also development of “Employer Engagement Guide”, that will be distributed in hard copy and digitally to all VET schools from Western Balkans. Guide represents a toolkit that includes resources, tools and advices that will help schools and employers establish effective partnerships.
Finally, the project has also worked with decision makers, educational establishments and employers to create more opportunities for young people’s learning in the work place in the shape of practical training and apprenticeships.