WBA4WBL (ERI SEE) - Western Balkans Alliance for Work-based Learning: Towards regionally-based occupational standards
The project plans to contribute to the enhancement of the employability and labour mobility of young people (aged 14 – 18) by investing in quality and labour market relevance of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in South East Europe (SEE).
In the long run, it is expected that thereby socio-economic conditions of young people in the region will be positively affected: the skills acquired during the education process would be labour-market relevant, they would have greater employment potential and a lower risk of poverty, with prospects of employment in national and regional contexts, allowing for greater labour mobility within the region.
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Moldova are targeted by this intervention. Moldova as member of the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) participates in this project as observer in the regional events and conferences for capacity building purposes.
- Enhanced cooperation between private and public sector in VET at regional and national level,
- A common regional framework for the development of regionally-based occupational standards,
- The development of 5 regionally-based occupational standards, the adoption of these regionally-based standards of occupations on national level,
- The translation of adopted standards of occupations into standards of qualifications at national level and adoption, and
- The analysis of the feasibility of developing regionally-based standards of qualifications and a respective action plan.
The project’s partners and target group include:
1. VET centres from the region, currently in charge of the development of standards of occupations and qualifications at national level and implementation of curricula, as implementing partners;
2. The Western Balkans Chambers Investment Forum (CIF) and chambers of commerce from the region, presenting the liaison to the adequate representatives of the business sector from whom the input on skills is needed;
3. Private sector organisations and companies from identified priority sectors;
4. Relevant stakeholders at national levels for the modernization and adoption of standards of occupations and qualifications, such as:
- Ministries of Education, in charge of the process of modernizing the standards at policy level;
- Ministries of Labour, in some economies in charge of the standards of occupations;
- Employment services, providing input on the unemployment figures and market trends and needs;
- National Qualification Agencies, national Quality Assurance Agencies, in charge of the adoption/monitoring of the implementation of the new standards.
The number of direct beneficiaries is expected to reach more than 250.
As for the indirect beneficiaries, the project aims at supporting young people’s employability through relevant skills acquisition with expected 1000 persons benefitting annually.
The activities include regional conferences gathering all the relevant stakeholders, project management meetings, regional workshop for fine-tuning the methodology for regionally-based standards of occupations, national and regional workshops for actual development of regionally-based standards of occupations, national consultation processes for the adoption of these standards of occupations, study for exploring potentials of regionally-based standards of qualifications and a regional event validating its results, and continuous update of the Western Balkan Alliance for Work Based Learning (WBA4WBL) online portal as an information and visibility tool.
One of the reasons of high unemployment rates in South East Europa is the inadequacy of the education systems to deliver for the needs of the labour market. In order to change this, it is crucial to have strong cooperation mechanisms between the private and public sectors in VET, and strong involvement of adequate business representatives in the definition of the skills needed on the labour market.
Regional cooperation, regional initiatives and regional outputs form the foundation of this project, which thematically focuses on the standards of occupations to be developed in strong partnership between the business and education sectors, thus ensuring the definition of labour-market relevant skills. In turn, standards of occupations make the core of standards of qualifications and consequently curricula taught at schools, which contributes to the learning outcomes being responsive to the needs of the labour market, and employability of young people.
The project intends to contribute to employability and labour mobility in the region which are priorities within the SEE 2020 Strategy, endorsed by all the participating economies. Employment, labour-market oriented and socially inclusive vocational education is further a focus area of the Austrian Development Cooperation in SEE, and the need to adjust the VET sector to the needs of the business sector to overcome the existing skills mismatch is recognized the EU.