Youth Employment Project (YEP), Bosnia & Herzegovina

Study visits by YEP in 2017 to Public Employment Services abroad

Exchange of knowledge and good practice is one of the guiding principles of the Youth Employment Project (YEP), aiming to improve the public employment service system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and supported by the Swiss Government. A team of locals in B&H is working closely with Public Employment Services (PES) throughout the country, to transform the organisations and services and introduce new service models. In order to gather different practices and methods which can be applied in B&H, during 2017 the Project team visited PES in Serbia, Albania and Latvia. Also, a delegation of PES managers from B&H was taken to Croatian PES to learn from their regional colleagues. Strengthening the role of counsellors and increasing the capacities of front-line staff is the leading principle and change in all PES visited, primarily in Serbian PES, where staff from regional offices will be transferred to employment offices. The service model used in Croatian PES is complementary to the model introduced by YEP in B&H (where the key function is counselling and job mediation), whereby also individual interaction with clients is intensified, rather than online services.

The study tour to Croatian PES focused on showing how the new model of work with clients, individual counselling, and drafting of Individual Employment Plans, can help to provide a better service to unemployed as well as to employers. The visits concentrated on operational activities, showing methods they use, and also comparing them with the situation in B&H, to identify areas that can be immediately transferred and implemented. Internal capacity building in PES in Croatia is one of the immediate lessons learnt, as YEP is also advocating internal trainer development in order to achieve sustainable results. Legal framework in the employment sector in Croatia is well organised, and can be used to lobby for legal changes that will enable a successful reform. YEP is currently providing technical support to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in FBiH in changing the Rulebook on the Unemployed Register, which will help to distinguish active job seekers from those registered at the Employment Office to obtain other rights, but who are not available for the labour market.

The Employment Service Drac in Albania revealed significant insight into the developments in Albania, the focus being on counsellor-client ratio: one counsellor is working with 200 unemployed per week, or 800 persons per month. The rapid growth noticed in Albania in general, is also reflected in organised PES, where a new approach is institutionalised, and coaching for employment being used primarily for the integration of young marginalised unemployed.