About 200 unemployed citizens registered with the National Employment Service (NES) have successfully completed training in the field of accounting and bookkeeping, which has accelerated the journey from the employment office to the work record book for many. In the first two months after obtaining the certificate, as many as 49 participants found employment, which speaks of a good choice of training subjects. The profession of accountant is in demand and in short supply on the labour market, and considering the conditions and the way of doing business, this work was performed unhindered during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The training was provided by the National Employment Service with the support of the “Migration for Development” programme. The global programme “Migration for Development” is part of a broader initiative “Returning to New Opportunities”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and implemented in Serbia by GIZ.

The course was taken by unemployed persons registered with the NES, mostly women. They acquired the necessary knowledge and skills in the field of bookkeeping and accounting, received a certificate and prepared for new business opportunities and challenges. The fact that the average grade at the end of the course was 4.73 out of a maximum of 5 testifies to the great motivation of the participants.

Both the theoretical and practical part of the training, lasting a total of 120 hours, were performed remotely without any problems. This regime has enabled unemployed people from all over Serbia to attend classes in the middle of a pandemic from their homes and increase their chances for employment by acquiring new skills.

Among the participants are 14 returnees from abroad, to whom the German Information Centre for Migration, Vocational Education and Career (DIMAK) offers counselling and mediation services in order to facilitate a new beginning in Serbia. One of them is the returnee Sladjana Dragicevic Trosic, who emphasises that the lectures were very meaningful and useful.

– As someone who has participated in training in a profession that I came into contact with for the first time, it meant a lot to me that we were given various tasks that we could use to test our knowledge and understanding of certain new concepts. We really acquired a good foundation for further deepening of skills, and we also have the opportunity to use the literature that will be available to us in the future – explained the training participant.

Edina Nadj, also a returnee from abroad, also attended classes without any problems, although Serbian is not her native language.

– I would especially like to emphasise the commitment of the lecturers. I was able to follow the programme with ease and understand everything that was needed. I believe that I will be able to use the acquired knowledge in the future – Edina Nadj pointed out.

This work method also gave the participants a certain amount of flexibility, given the fact that the lectures were available at any time of the day, which was especially valuable for reconciling with family obligations.

In addition to support in education and employment, the programme also provided additional counselling to the most vulnerable course participants. They learned how to make more effective use of institutional support measures for social and economic reintegration offered by national institutions, international and non-governmental organisations. They were also introduced to other support mechanisms provided by GIZ, especially through the DIMAK Centre, which works closely with the NES, the Ministry of Labour, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and other institutions. This Centre provides counselling and direct support to returnees to improve their qualifications through trainings and internships, connecting with potential employers, founding your own company and the like. It also provides information and advice on the risks of irregular migration, as well as on vocational education and training opportunities in Germany under the global programme “Migration and Diaspora”.

The training was realised by the People’s University of Nis under the leadership of the NES. Having in mind the success of the programme, it was decided to hold a third round of trainings for business accounting, which will include another number of unemployed registered with the employment office.