Skopje, 9 June 2010
The Investment Compact for South East Europe organised the 4th Human Capital Working Group for the Western Balkans in Skopje on 9 June 2010. The meeting, organised with the financial support of the European Union, was part of the Sector Competitiveness Project. The meeting focused on measures to further develop internship programmes in the Western Balkans. The main objective was to raise awareness on policy barriers to the development of internship programmes in the Western Balkans and explore ways forward.
Internships are defined as work experience, acquired as part of the curriculum, that lead students to spend a limited time in a company. Internships have become widespread in OECD countries and are a well-established mechanism to ensure that students develop skills adapted to their future employment. In Western Balkans countries, although the need to develop the employability of graduates is gaining ground, only a number of initiatives have been developed. In most economies in the Western Balkans, government’s involvement has been limited. As a consequence, existing internship programmes generally suffer from a lack of institutional support and sometimes face a legal framework that is ill-defined.
About 20 participants attended, representing ministries of education, public and private universities, non-governmental organisations and private sector associations in the region. The meeting provided the opportunity to present the results of several initiatives to foster internships conducted in the region, in particular with the support of USAID. The main barriers faced by these initiatives and potential solutions were discussed. Representatives from the National Council for Work Experience in the United Kingdom and from the National Agency for Lifelong Learning in Austria presented best practices in the programmes they have been involved in. Finally the overall situation of internship programmes in the region, and in particular the legal framework on internships, were reviewed and next steps for policy makers were identified.
Session 1: Case studies of internship programmes in the Western Balkans
Session 2: Lessons learnt from international experience
Session 3: Developing internships in the Western Balkans: assessment of the situation and recommendations
For more information on work related to human capital within the framework of the Sector Competitiveness Project, please contact Nicolas Philiponnet at firstname.lastname@example.org