Good practice of the “Public University of Niš”
The Public University of Niš (Serbia), an institution of non-formal adult education, has existed for 65 years. Its main activity includes organizing training that prepares participants for new jobs, helps them reskill or certifies their occupation so they can find a job in that field.
Throughout its existence, the Public University of Niš has cooperated with numerous labour organizations, institutions and NGOs such as HELP, IOM or the Danish Council, local governments or citizens' associations, disability and other organizations. Of course, a great number of independent participants have completed training at the Public University of Niš because they wanted to learn a new skill or obtain a certificate they needed for employment, and, naturally, they found a job and changed their lives for the better. You can see all the skills you can learn at the Public University of Niš by visiting our site (www.nunis.edu.rs).
The Public University currently provides training for unemployed and disabled persons in cooperation with the National Employment Service in 50 Serbian cities, it provides training for prisoners in 13 detention and rehabilitation centres in cooperation with the NGO HELP, and it provides training for migrants in 4 towns of south-eastern Serbia in cooperation with the IOM.
The survival of this institution has been helped by monitoring of adult education development, training plans and programmes always being improved in accordance with the development of a certain occupation, and training assistants being educated in line with the requirements of adult education. Training plans are designed according to the standards set by the Ministry of Education, which makes the Public University of Niš an institution with the highest number of accredited training plans conforming to the requirements for a Publicly Recognized Activity Organizer (the list of other such institutions can be found at this site: www.mpn.gov.rs/obrazovanje-odraslih).
How does all of this work? It's pretty simple. First of all, it is important to have a good team of teachers and professionals who are willing to further their education and their teaching skills. Moreover, resources used during training are in accordance with all the demands of a certain occupation: sufficient space with appropriate equipment, machines, tools... Employees of the Public University of Niš constitute a well-trained and highly-educated team with the continuous support of adult education specialists, psychologists and school counsellors. Finally, our long working experience is an advantage that allows good communication with participants who need help choosing an occupation, as they often seek our advice. Being acquainted with the demands of the labour market helps the further guidance of participants.
In order to work successfully, we must create a good synergy of all the above elements; the result is a successful training organization. An example of good practice is the current training being organized by the Public University of Niš in Zrenjanin in cooperation with the National Employment Service for the job of beautician. A text about this has recently been published: (link:https://ilovezrenjanin.com/vesti-zrenjanin/kakoizgleda-obuka-za-kozmeticara-i-da-li-ovaj-posao-ima-perspektive-natrzistu/). This is just one of many well-organized training courses currently being implemented.
The fact that we leave nothing to chance is what helps our training to be of such great quality. All of our plans are 80% based on practical work. Participants are obliged to master each work activity to be competent for a certain occupation at the end of the training. This is impossible if a participant is sent to finish their apprenticeship with an unreliable subcontractor, someone who makes trainees prepare the coffee, clean the premises or fetch breakfast. That is not an apprenticeship, that is called being a servant. All of the training we organize must be agreed upon in detail, and participants know what they need to do every step of the way. A participant has signed up for an apprenticeship, and they will receive just that, no matter whether the occupation is a hairdresser, beautician, forklift driver, cook or anything else.
We offer training for about 200 occupations, and that's not all, as we set out to internationalize and open the institution to new ventures in accordance with adult education development in Europe and the desire to set up a unique framework of competencies. For that reason, we signed an Memorandum of Intent with the VCC Foundation in Lublin, Poland (www.vccsystem.eu) to participate in establishing cooperation to further develop qualifications in line with global labour market demands, and in relation to the Europe 2020 Directive and European Qualifications Framework. This implies the availability of vocational education, adjustment to modern standards, and the creation of new professions and groups of professions in line with social development.
Finally, this is just one of numerous training courses we are organizing now, and which can serve as an example of good practice.