From Education to Employment (E2E)

Project completed
A young woman at a computer regulating machines.
The project supports policies on youth employment and facilitates opportunities for apprenticeships. © SDC

Serbia, which is currently negotiating accession to the European Union (EU), must undergo reforms to meet the criteria that apply to EU member states. Unemployment among young people is currently 27,5% and is a major concern for the Serbian government. Serbia wants to base the reform of its vocational training system on the success factors of the Swiss system of dual education and training and has invited Switzerland to assist it in this crucially important reform process.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019
CHF  8’010’000

Economic paralysis

In Serbia, the unemployment rate remains very high, especially among young people, more than half of whom are out of work. The underlying causes of the situation are twofold: the lack of economic development and the country’s declining economic competitiveness.

Reforms at two levels

Dual vocational education and training (dVET) is still unable to close the gap between the skills provided by training and those required by the job market. Current vocational education and training does not correspond to the needs of the job market. The SDC’s project known as ‘From Education to Employment’ (E2E) aims to improve job opportunities for young people, thereby offering alternatives to emigration. Switzerland is supporting reforms aimed at training a skilled workforce and encouraging more involvement by the private sector in creating jobs. The programme plans to offer assistance in the following two ways: 

  1. Reforms within the framework of the ‘Economic and Social Reform Program’ and the unified ‘National Qualification Framework’ (NQF);

  2. Aligning supply (job seekers) and demand (employers) through developing private-public partnerships (PPPs) in the VET system. 

In the first area, the reforms must enable education policy to better reflect economic needs. For example, non-formal training for adults guided and tested within the twin-track system has been integrated into the formal system through the NQF.

In the second area, five cities (Novi Pazar, Knjaževac, Pirot, Kruševac and Kragujevac) will benefit from the programme. They have unemployment rates (of 60%) even higher than the national average but have dynamic private sectors and local governments that show a strong interest in the programme. The 17,000 unemployed young people (43% of the 15-29 age group in these five municipalities) and the companies ready to invest are to be supported and young people informed about the career opportunities open to them. Between January and June 2016, 10 PPPs were set up and the procedures for cooperation between employers, job seekers, civil society, employment agencies and educational establishments are being developed.