(ILO Budapest)--The labour markets of both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are characterized by high youth unemployment rate (54 and 36 per cent, respectively, in 2016) and by low levels of labour force participation (44 and 48.6 per cent, with women having an activity rate of 33 and 42.3 per cent). The continuous growth of the informal economy signals another anomaly of the labour markets that further hinders employment and human resource development in these neighbouring contries.
In BiH, the ILO has been working with coalitions of local governments, employers, educational institutions, and NGOs to develop tailor-made local solutions to specific employment challenges that territories and municipalities face. The results, as an internal mid-term evaluation of the Local Employment Partnerships (LEP) points out, are very convincing. After a local needs assessment, disadvantaged people, including women, youth, minorities, returnees, internally displaced persons and hard-to-employ persons are trained for professions that the local labour market really needs. Companies carry out the on-the-job training and each partner plays a role. Beneficiaries of the first phase were either immediately hired by the traning companies after completing their courses or found jobs elsewhere, equipped with new skills that make them a lot more competitive on the labour market. (Click for further details on LEP evaluation)
Representatives of the Montenegrin Ministry of Labour, led by Edina Dešić, visited the Sarajevo Novi Grad, Zavidovici and Orašje regions, which are among the 15 local communities where LEPs are implemented in BiH. In Orašje, she met with the municipality, the vocational school, the employment service, the participating local companies i.e. Nexus, Skele Comerc and Prima-VIP, and the ILO team to learn what made the project successful. Her objective is to replicate a similar programme in Montenegro. „The example of Orašje is very positive. A significant number of people are trained for occupations that are needed, and most of the trainees find employment in the local labour market.”--said the Deputy Minister. Džemal Hodžić, LEP Specialist of the ILO noted: „There has to be a continuous dialogue between project partners to make it work, and this is exactly what we are trying to strengthen.”
The Montenegrin Government’s visit was sponsored by the ILO in the spirit of peer-learning among neigbouring countries in the Western Balkans. This process is modeled on the European Mutual Learning programme, which is an important tool for the open method of coordination in the field of EU employment policy.