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LDA Sisak and ALDA work on the global problem of unemployment



Local Democracy Agency Sisak, Town of Sisak and Association of Local Democracy Agencies organised conference „Nothing about us without us! Youth unemployment – Local solutions for global problem“ held on 23 April 2014 in Sisak Town Hall. 

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The purpose of the conference is to present the results of a research on youth unemployment conducted in a framework of a project „Active citizens combating youth unemployment“, good practices and given recommendations for combating this burning problem across the EU. Moreover, to motivate citizens to vote to upcoming elections for European parliament, since it is one of direct ways how citizens can influence on policies to be adopted at the EU level, but influencing local level – said Mrs Paula Raužan, president of the LDA Sisak. The research is done in the 6 EU countries, partners of the project, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, Czech Republic and Latvia. LDA Sisak is partner to the Carpathian Foundation Hungary, a project leader. It involved unemployed and employed youth age 16-24, public sector, private sector and non-governmental organisations. The research in Croatia was focused on 3 towns (Sisak, Petrinja and Kutina) and it gathered 370 examinees by questionnaires and 26 by video interviews. The whole research in all countries was conducted by volunteers, which is an added value since youngsters gained specific new skills and competences in conducting international research. 

Oriano Otočan, president of Association of Local Democracy Agencies, highlighted youth unemployment as on of the biggest in the EU, and one of the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives is combating youth unemployment. Youth unemployment increased 2,6 times since 2009 at the EU level but Croatia, unfortunately, is witnessing even worse situation. ALDA and LDAs are particularly interested in raising this issue and contributing to its solution. Investment in young people is very important, especially in managers of the EU funds, expertise that is strongly lacking to Croatian local, regional and even national administration. Istra County has, in this moment, 50 experts in EU funds, which are above Croatian average, but still not enough. Current Government’ measures for youth employment are partial solutions but can not be long-term practice.

It is necessary to make structural reforms regarding youth unemployment – explained Mr Marko Krička, Deputy Mayor of Town of Sisak, himself age 30 – not just legislative, but reforms in education, providing more possibilities on volunteering and consequently in job seeking. Keeping in mind that now we have 4 levels on which decisions are taking place – local, regional, national and EU – it is not possible to solve the problem without strong cooperation of all these 4 levels. Joint efforts are needed since now in Croatia we have almost 50% of unemployed young people. In the 1990’, we young people were advocating our involvement in political decision making process, and now we all must ask for equal chances so all young people can have same opportunities for first employment. 

Dragica Treursić Uljanić, coordinator of the research in LDA Sisak presented the research results and the video. General conclusion of examines is that youth joblessness is consequence of economical crises, companies and institutions do not hire (there are no jobs) and perceived by youngsters – it is needed to have strings to get job (corruption).  One of the good practices in Croatia is a company in Sisak “Applied Ceramics” which has 40 employees whereof 20 is under 24 years old. They recruit students during their high school education, providing them obligatory school practice within their company, and later on send them to specialised training in the USA that can be found in Croatia. Youngster came back with very specific skills and knowledge that can be implemented immediately in their work. Another good example is German educational dual system since it provides youngsters to finish their education with work skills, not just theoretical knowledge.  

Main recommendations of the research are: Internships in companies, Enhancing occupational skills , Providing voluntary work, Improving entrepreneurship, Restructuring vocational education, Preventing early school leaving, Taking more responsibility, Motivating and inspiring students, Gaining cross-sectoral skills and Departing from the old paths. 

Croatian members of the European Parliament, Mr Tonino Picula and Mr Andrej Plenković highlighted political will and structural changes to be crucial in resolving youth unemployment problem. Volunteering is very important since it provides youngsters to develop new skills and widen their social network, but nevertheless, ensuring new industries (i.e. IT and industrial innovations) is one of the generators for new job opportunists.

All photos courtesy of www.portal53.hr











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