The third Promoting Adult Skills (PAS) event, which was organised on 24 May by the Kranj Adult Education Centre at its Intergenerational Centre has confirmed in many ways what has already been said at the event on the long-term unemployed in Celje and the event on youth in Slovenska Bistrica. The meeting entitled Knowledge and competencies – hand in hand for improved employability of youth was dedicated to unemployed youth (see programme). They participated in the practical part, the so-called Green Workshop, where they recycled waste materials. From waste pallets, foam and tapestries, by employing some skill, the participants produced comfortable seats under the guidance of masters. Recycling of waste materials – Career of the future? Why not?
The opportunities exist!
We must only change our focus, believe in ourselves and walk the unwalked paths and acquire relevant skills. We sometimes say that everything begins and ends with money, and this is also the opinion of the organisers, who first faced us with the fact that each of us has his/her “money record”, acquired during the earliest years – within the family, and later in other environments. Moreover, this record is transferred from one generation to the other. Since it is a relationship or reflection, which is turning into reality, the money record can either open doors for us or set obstacles. If the record is negative the wallet will be always empty. However, this is not how it has to be! You can learn how to manage your money, which was demonstrated in Kranj with the financial literacy project for youth, which has been developed by the Finance magazine. Up to now they developed a manual for teachers, while related interest activities are emerging at primary and secondary schools, within which young people acquire the skills required for managing money. Furthermore, young people find out which are the careers of the future, and determine their perception of a dream job. The Kranj Community College sees this content also as an added value to the adult education programmes, since it is never too late to pick up something you like and which generates good earnings. Thus, the content of the programme is very suitable for inter-generational exchange.
Mr Uroš Kopavnik from the Public Employment Service (PES) of Slovenia, Kranj branch, also expressed that there are opportunities, however, he also stated that everyone can and should best help themselve. Completed education – of any level – does not necessarily equal an opportunity for employment, since young people lack life skills. Competences can be acquired through different work, therefore young people should sometimes abandon their high expectations and take the jobs on offer, since every job equips you with experience. Young people often do not recognise their missing competences, while the PES knows that employers appreciate candidates who demonstrate a suitable attitude towards others and towards work, and know how to express their comparative advantage. This can also be knowledge of the most sought foreign languages, e.g. Russian and German.
Unemployed youth will be able to equip itself with special knowledge and competences in the autumn, during a 60-hour “Manufacturer of composite products” course at the Trbovlje Adult Education Centre. The Centre, in cooperation with partners from the innovation development institute of the University of Ljubljana and the company Aeroform, and on the basis of the mobility programme, within which they visited Estonia, designs opportunities for youth, interested in the technologies of the future. Composite materials, which are an essential component in the production of boats, planes and swimming pools, are definitely one of them. Together with the PES the Centre sought mostly candidates equipped with manual skills (trained carpenters, seamstresses, etc.) and the wish to enter rather new fields of work.
The representative of the Žalec Adult Education Centre also reported on the problems faced by youth during their transition to the labour market, however she also talked about potential solutions. The discussion organised on the topic in November 2015 has demonstrated that this population group was among the most affected by the economic crisis. Participants suggested that systematic career guidance should be included as early as in primary school, and that close contact with employers and increased number of opportunities for acquiring experience and competences during work are required. They believed that the connecting of youth and youth associations with schools and employers is essential. Among other, they concluded that youth should accept the responsibility for its awareness of different opportunities, and that we should all change the opinion of the society, which has lately been rather negative, claiming: there are no jobs!
And thus we returned to reflections and belief – although it may not always seem so, a lot of things are in our hands, and especially in our mind. However, opportunities exist, one must only know how to find and grab them!
Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MA (email@example.com), Slovenian Institute for Adult Education
Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik works at the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education in the field of promotional and information activities. She is the national coordinator for the implementation of the European Agenda on Adult Learning. She is interested in effective promotional approaches and promotion of cooperation and connecting of stakeholders in adult education.