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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 IMC Area. 

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.

Sum: 223 articles.
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