Bringing Vocation Education Training in Line with Local Business Needs
April 11, 2014 - Last
week, in partnership with the Sandzak Economic Development Agency (SEDA), the
Project organized two training for pupils and teachers of the Novi Pazar
Vocational Design School to enhance participants’ knowledge in skills needed by
local employers. The first training was attended by twenty-six participants and
was titled "Basic Trends in Contemporary Fashion Design," covering
issues such as: fashion forecasting, market trends in the fashion industry and
well as new trends in textile use.
The second training taught thirty
participants how to design and model textiles in the industry-specific OptiTex
and C-Design programs. These programs enable businesses to complete virtual
designs and develop new clothing models much faster and at lower costs. This
activity is part of a $60,000 Project grant to SEDA for analyzing the
growth potentials of leading sectors in the Sandzak region and providing
workforce development assistance in line with identified sector needs.
Connecting Businesses with Prospective Buyers
April 9, 2014 - As part of efforts to connect
local manufacturers with international shoe producers, the Project sponsored
participation of local companies at the GDS International Trade Fair, in
Germany. In preparation for the fair, a Project expert helped Novi Pazar and
Vranje –led IMC Area footwear companies select the most suitable models and
present them to potential buyers. During the fair, over sixty enquires were
made by interested companies, while large manufacturers requested samples based
on their original shoes.
As a result of contacts made at the fair and the footwear
on display, a London-based company has contacted several shoe manufacturers and requested that the companies produce test
samples of women’s shoes. The UK company is interested in placing an initial order if the provided samples are satisfactory. Several
other companies are interested in touring
and evaluating the production facilities of other footwear companies within the
two IMC Areas. The Project will continue activities aimed at helping Serbian
shoe manufacturers increase exports to the global footwear market, raise
business revenue and generate new jobs.
New Laboratory Equipment Delivered to Subotica Public Health Institute
April 7, 2014 - The Project delivered new laboratory
equipment to the Subotica Public Health Institute that will upgrade the Institute’s
capacity and enable analysis of regional food products. Until now, the Institute’s laboratory was unable to provide proper
food testing to certify that local agricultural products meet strict EU and
Russian market requirements. Farmers and food processors in the region had to travel hours away to conduct proper testing of their crops, thus increasing the costs of analysis for export.
Thanks to the Project, the laboratory now has the equipment
and capacities to test for the presence of pesticides and pollutants in line
with EU and other market regulations. SLDP also helped in training laboratory staff to use this new equipment. The Institute will work closely with farmers and crop protection specialists to familiarize them with the
proper use of crop chemicals and export requirements, enabling increased export
to desired markets. The next step is to certify the new laboratory
services with the Serbian Accreditation Body, and the city of Subotica agreed
to assist the laboratory with this. The fully equipped and accredited laboratory will help farmers and food processors
increase export sales of agricultural and food products from the Subotica-led
Nis-led inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) Area Launches Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cluster Academy
April 4, 2014 - The Project, in
partnership with the Nis Cluster of Advanced Technology (NiCAT), launched
the ICT Cluster Academy, which aims to equip young and unemployed people with the
knowledge and skills required by IT sector employers. Through a six-month
program that includes training sessions, specialized courses and internships, the
students of the ICT Cluster Academy will become more competitive in the labor
market and ready for jobs in the IT industry. The Nis ICT Cluster Academy is
supported by a Project grant (approximately $50,000), and will enable the first
generation of 27 youths to learn IT skills currently unavailable on the
labor market, such as programming and software development.
Serving as mentors,
NiCAT Cluster companies will help Academy students apply their newly acquired
knowledge and gain real workplace experience. Speaking at the Academy launch
ceremony, the Mayor of Nis, Mr. Zoran Perisic, said: "We are glad to partner with USAID and NiCAT
on this initiative. The City of Nis supports the opening of this Academy since
IT Sector has been selected as one of four pillars of the country's economic
development in the forthcoming period."
In addition to the Nis ICT
Cluster Academy, the Project recently supported the opening of an ICT cluster
academy in Novi Sad. The Project assists in the development of a workforce that
matches private sector needs and encourages closer cooperation between
educational/scientific and business communities.
Linking Vocational Education to Local Economic Needs
April 2, 2014 - Last week, within the Project's $60,000 grant, BOS conducted a workshop to help align vocational education training (VET) with private sector needs. Fifteen representatives
of schools, Youth and Local Economic Development Offices from Prijepolje,
Vranje and Subotica took part in the training.
The three-day event covered
topics such as harmonizing vocational education with local employer needs,
increasing student enrollment in vocational schools through better marketing, and involving local businesses in improving their communities’ vocational
education program. Participants also prepared action plans for this year’s enrollment.
BOS began working in the Uzice, Vranje and Subotica-led inter-municipal
cooperation (IMC) areas to establish and improve dialogue between businesses in
the hospitality, textile, footwear and agribusiness industries with respective
VET schools. This training is part of wider Project efforts to better match labor
force supply and demand.