Education for Employment, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Education for Employment, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Career Guidance Working Group: Diversity and multidisciplinary approach as an advantage to obtain the best solutions

The Career Guidance Working Group (WG) is continuing its work vigorously as part of the EU project Education for Employment in BiH. The Revised Concept of Career Guidance in BiH was finalized at the sixth meeting of the WG, held in Neum on March 24 and 25, 2022, and will be presented for approval at the next meeting of the Project Steering Committee.

The revised concept will be used in the development of strategies for the future development of career guidance in the country and will enable both young people and adults to acquire career management skills, with an emphasis on monitoring labour market demands.

“This document, on whose finalization we actively worked in Neum, is significant and can have important implications for future educational policies and strategies, as well as for educational practice itself. Specifically, based on this concept, we intend to develop a series of trainings, manuals and tools that will enable its implementation in practice,” said Saša Niklanović, key expert and leader of the Component “Transition from Education to Employment” within the project.

The most notable difference in the Revised Career Guidance Concept is that it now applies to all age groups. This aligns it with current concepts and practices of lifelong learning, which are already well developed in the EU countries. In modern societies, lifelong learning is an essential element of working life. Rapid developments in the economy, digital technology and the labour market make career guidance relevant for all age groups, and individuals are well-advised to continuously update their knowledge and skills.

In Neum, the members of the WG also spoke about the importance of lifelong learning and career guidance in today’s society, emphasizing the necessity to adapt the education system and the adult education offer to the needs of the labour market, in order for individuals to remain competitive in an ever-changing labour market.

“Through the activities of this working group, the project works to assist the individual in leading his or her own career, that is, to help them to further focus and profile in accordance with their competencies, abilities, and market requirements,” said Amira Borovac, Education Inspector at the Ministry of Education, Youth, Science, Culture, and Sports of Bosnia-Podrinje Canton (BPC) Goražde and member of the Career Guidance Working Group.

According to Amira Borovac, the Revised Concept of Career Guidance includes some new elements that did not previously exist in BiH, such as the idea of introducing career centres or corners in BiH – services for youth and adults that would have a multisector approach, both from the employment bureau and the educational profession point of view.

“Creating career centres or corners would considerably minimize the number of wrong choices while selecting a future career. This would also allow users to recognize a greater variety of alternative vocations, not only those that are connected to social trends and considered popular or lucrative at a certain moment. Experience has shown that many people make mistakes in choosing their profession and are then in jobs they dislike. Proper career guidance, in my opinion, may help to achieve that balance between the aspirations of the person and the demands of the market, of course, always in line with one’s strengths and affinities. All of this would reduce the number of unemployed,” stated Biljana Begović, Minister of Education, Youth, Science, Culture and Sports of the BPC Gorazde and also member of the working group. Biljana Begović is a psychologist by profession and has many years of experience working with young people and their professional orientation. She emphasizes

that the results of this WG will have significant application in the future work of the ministry she leads, which aspires to follow European education flows.

Members of the WG for career guidance come from various educational institutions in BiH, ministries of education at all levels of government in BiH, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, pedagogical institutes, and institutions dealing with employment issues. This allows a multi-sector approach.

Jovana Janković is a member of this WG on behalf of the Employment Institute of the Republika Srpska, and works on labour market research and career guidance.

“The institution I work for, has long acknowledged the importance of career guidance as it is critical to strengthen the link between education and the job market. When it comes to the future, a lot of concerns arise, such as what to do with persons who have been on the unemployment register for an extended period of time and have vocations that are no longer in demand in the labour market. Career guidance may be quite beneficial in overcoming these challenges” said Jelena Janković, explaining:

“As a labour market institution, we are mainly interested in persons who have completed their educational process and have vocations that are no longer in demand on the labour market. The labour market and its demands have been changing at a rapid pace recently. So, it is critical that we properly monitor these changes and assist unemployed individuals in adapting to new conditions as quickly as possible, which may be accomplished most efficiently through quality career guidance.”

In its work so far, the Career Guidance WG made an Analysis of Career Guidance in BiH in 2021, which offers a complete picture of the current state of career guidance in BiH and will be provided to all ministries of education in the country. Following the completion of the Revised Career Guidance Concept, this WG will start designing the Strategy of Career Guidance, an Action Plan for implementation, and a Guidebook that will be very useful to professionals. Training for professionals who will work with users is also planned, which will enable teaching staff and professional associates to be educated and trained in the field of career guidance in accordance with a new methodology and approach that is in line with European standards.

“The implementation of the concept itself will be quite challenging, we have a long way to go and a significant task ahead of us since this state is quite complex with a considerable number of competent institutions. However, our work has gone quite well thus far. The working group is highly motivated, enthusiastic, and engaged in its attempts to overcome any potential obstacles. All documents, resources, and outputs generated thus far are the outcome of team work, with the dynamic involvement of all participants,” emphasized Saša Niklanović.

The members of the Career Guidance Working Group are aware of the challenges ahead, but many of them see their diversity and multi-sectoral approach as an advantage and an opportunity to reach the best and most acceptable solutions for all participants through quality discussion and harmonization of multiple perspectives.