WEB4YES Initiative Holds Final Conference

The final conference of the WeB4YES initiative (Western Balkan Civil Society for Youth Employment Support) was held online, on December 17 and 18.

The WeB4YES initiative i implemented with the support of the European Commission. Representatives of the Institute for Youth Development KULT, a partner in this regional initiative, took part in three panels and talked about youth entrepreneurship and employment and about the Institute’s advocacy campaign.

The conference included four panels:

1. Cooperation between civil society organizations and public authorities in the Western Balkans on youth employment policies and decision-making processes:

During this session, the panelists discussed key challenges in developing youth employment policies in order to map areas for potential cooperation between CSOs and public institutions in countries of the Western Balkans and contribute to reducing the unemployment rate among youth. The panelists agreed that youth participation in decision making and policy development is crucial, as is the work of youth organizations as youth representatives at the local, national and regional levels. They also noted the importance of supporting local initiatives that represent the voices of vulnerable youth.

2. Employability in the Western Balkans: key findings and recommendations

Young people in the Western Balkans are faced with a multitude of obstacles in the process of leaving education and entering the labor market.  One of the biggest obstacles they face is the lack of skills that could help them navigate today’s modern and dynamic business environment and find a job with good working conditions.  Youth employment efforts in the Western Balkans are recognized as a priority that calls for immediate action. The participants shared their recommendations for employing young people and discussed future challenges youth will face because of the pandemic. This panel also included a presentation of the WEB4JOBS platform, where youth from the Western Balkans can explore research opportunities, trainings, jobs, and exchange programs.

3. Self(employment) – Entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans

Youth entrepreneurship is increasingly being treated as a strategic priority by the government, especially as a way of addressing the high unemployment rate for youth in all Western Balkans countries. During this session, the panelists talked about obstacles youth encounter when launching a business, learning about entrepreneurship, including entrepreneurship in school curricula and taking other steps necessary to support and encourage youth self-employment and entrepreneurship. 

4. Advocating for youth employment and entrepreneurship: influence of CSOs on creating public policies

During the final session, the panelists presented their advocacy campaigns conducted during the WeB4YES project. All partners in the project designed advocacy policy programs for their country, based on the socio-economic needs of unemployed youth and young entrepreneurs. Campaigns were intended to result in concrete policies that will positively impact youth entrepreneurship and employment. 

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