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Private sector is boosting skills development in Northern Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Gradacac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 27, 2019 - The result of the great collaborative efforts of the Turkish and Bosnian private sectors, local government and UNDP, the private sector-led vocational training center opened in the Gradacac Municipality of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on the 27th of June, 2019. This collaboration was realized with the generous contributions of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) and the support of UNDP BiH and UNDP IICPSD. The Mayor of Gradacac, UNDP Resident Representative, and the Directors of the Bursa Design and Technology Development Center (BUTGEM) and Ermetal Technological Education Foundation (ERTEV) attended the opening of the Center which will provide vocational skills trainings to the local youth.

Through knowledge and technical know-how transfer, the successful private sector-led BUTGEM model of the Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry is replicated in the Northern Bosnia. The region was heavily affected by the war and is struggling with lagging post-crisis economic recovery. Funded by TİKA, the “Support for the Establishment of Vocational Training Center in Bosnia” project is jointly implemented by UNDP IICPSD and UNDP BiH. The opening of the center marks the continuation of the cooperation between UNDP and BUTGEM, a private sector-owned center that provides skills training driven by market demand to address technical and practical skills shortages in the labor market.

Following a study visit by the municipality of Gradacac, 12 workers and 5 instructors from BiH received vocational training in Bursa on core industrial manufacturing skills from September to November 2017. The local companies in BiH awarded contracts to all trainees and the training program achieved a hundred percent placement ratio. Finally, to lay the ground for a good governance of the newly established center, a feasibility and a skills-need assessment were conducted to create the most relevant partnership model and training curriculum for the region.

With the contribution of the Gradacac Municipality, a school building destroyed by heavy shelling during the war in Gradacac was renovated for the training center modelled after BUTGEM. The partnership started with a modest seed funding provided by TIKA. Following the success of the pilot phase, the funding quadrupled with the contributions of UNDP, Gradacac Municipality and business partners. 


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BUTGEM and other private sector partners continue to share their expertise and technical know-how as well as providing in-kind contributions such as software, study materials etc. to the vocational training center in Gradacac. The center will provide light manufacturing skills training for 12 months and is expected to provide training to 200 workers annually. The curriculum and the trainings are designed in consultation with the private sector, and they are tailored to match the market demand of skills. The trainings will mainly target the metal and automotive manufacturing, wood processing and textile manufacturing sectors which offer a high growth potential for the region.

The placement-driven nature of the trainings will ensure that the trainees are equipped with skills that increase their employability and career advancement prospects in the job market. In return, the local private sector will gain access to a technically-trained labour pool that it much needed. The center’s sustainability is thus ensured by local ownership, the engagement of the private sector and other local stakeholders.

The partnership, while reducing youth unemployment, will improve the qualifications of the workforce and increase market productivity. The project will expand its scope to engage women and children, through activities such as the introduction of STEM education in primary schools. With the support of TİKA, the training center is also planning to offer trainings on 4th Industrial Revolution technologies such as 3D printing.