Thousands visit the Education and Job Fair ‘Learn. Network.Explore’ in Zenica

Around 8,000 people had a chance to meet today with over one hundred exhibitors – companies, institutions, international projects and employment mediators –  at the Education and Job Fair ‘Learn, Network, Explore’ organised in Zenica under the auspices of the Office of the European Union Special Representative and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Visitors had a chance to meet with employers, embassies and agencies of the Member States of the European Union and of the United States, as well as representatives of NGOs and business incubators. There were over 40 presentations with interesting and useful topics for participants in the Fair, as well as roundtable discussions and interactive workshops including: ‘How to Become Visible in the Labour Market’ and ‘Employment Trends – Global vs. Local’. Participants were able to get advice on how to search for a job, how to prepare a CV, personal presentation during a job interview, in addition to having access to several hundred job ads and vacancies.

The Fair was opened by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Vibeke Lilloe, the Mayor of Zenica, Mr Husein Smajlovic, Chargé d’affaires of the EU Delegation to BiH, Dr Renzo Daviddi, and the Chair of the Political and Security Committee (a body of the Council of the European Union), H.E. Ambassador Walter Stevens.

Ambassador Lilloe said:

“Norway is particularly delighted to have, together with the European Union and other International Partners, assisted in the development of a Compact for Growth and Jobs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which for the first time spells out a concise socio-economic reform agenda for this this country. Even more promising is that this Agenda was not developed for, but by Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Compact for Growth and Jobs was facilitated and launched by the International community but the priorities were chosen by experts and members of every social group in BiH.”

Mayor Smajlovic said:

“It is exactly a focus on socio-economic development that will relieve the country of unnecessary political tensions and lead to the higher employment and establishment of more effective connection between the labour market and the education system. Increased mobility and competition of labour force will for sure open new possibilities for innovation and new projects.”

Dr Daviddi said:

“There are just six items on the comprehensive agenda for reform published last July. Your governments really need to do this and we in the international community—including the EU, the IMF, the World Bank Group and USA—are ready to assist. We all believe that these reforms can work and can get investment and employment going again. And this reform agenda is all about social justice in the real circumstances of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The Fair was held in seven pavilions: Women Entrepreneurs, Educational Initiatives and Marginalised Groups; Entrepreneurship Programmes; Employment Mediators; EU and Other International Employment Projects; Civil Society Employment Initiatives; Programmes of Educational and Training Institutions; and Employment Opportunities in the Private Sector.

The Fair provided opportunities to visitors to engage in direct talks with companies and potential employers, as well as to learn about work and education opportunities in BiH and abroad. At the same time, it enabled companies and institutions to present their work, exchange information, develop networks and attract the attention of potential employees and interviewees. Participants will also had the opportunity to learn about the European Union and its involvement in BiH.

The urgent need for socio-economic reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina was highlighted at the Forum for Prosperity and Jobs held in May in Sarajevo. Forum participants – including representatives of academia, governmental, political, business, labour and bank sectors – have all identified six major areas for economic reforms and their plan was adopted by the international financial institutions and the European Union. Wide local consultations and further discussions with experts from countries in the region have resulted in the Compact for Growth and Jobs, published in July this year. The Compact outlines priorities for new governments and officials in BiH to consider. The international community is ready to assist in its implementation and firmly believes that these can kick start economic recovery and boost investment and employment.

Find out more at the Compact special feature page