The three most successful consortia from Bosnia and Herzegovina received grants from the Regional Challenge Fund. The total amount of grants is 1,012 million euros, and the winners are projects from Banja Luka, Žepče and Srbac.
Sarajevo, May 5, 2023 – The three most successful consortia, out of a total of 26 applicants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, were selected as the winners of grants within the second call of the Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) project. Thanks to these funds, the winners will be able to invest in equipment, infrastructure and training in vocational training institutes.
The grants were awarded to the consortium led by the Catholic School Center “Don Bosco” Techical-vocational school Žepče, Technical School Banja Luka and the Public Institution Secondary Schools Cetre “Petar Kočić” Srbac, for a total amount of EUR 1.012 million in grants. The grant awarding ceremony was organized in Sarajevo in the premises of the Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the presence of representatives of WB6 CIF, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, KfW, SDC, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the Zenica-Doboj Canton and the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska, Regional Challenge Fund and award-winning consortia.
Zdravko Marinković, Zdravko Marinković, president of VTK/STK BiH, which is a member of the Chamber Investment Forum of the Western Balkans 6, stated that the goal of this program is for the economy and educational institutions to cooperate closely in the training of professionals who are necessary for the economy. Thanks to the funds they received, these educational institutions will provide new equipment and machines necessary for the practical training of students.
“Since there is a lack of qualified labor on the market, through practical classes, young people will be trained for certain jobs, and through their involvement in BiH companies, they will contribute to raising their competitiveness. Until now, the situation was mostly such that young people finished school, but that their knowledge were not enough for the labor market. The synergy of companies and educational institutions, which will implement the program, will create an excellent combination that will enable young people to acquire the practical knowledge needed for their further work,” said Marinković.
The program is implemented through the Chamber Investment Forum of the Western Balkans 6.
Balša Ćulafić, RFC program coordinator from WB6 CIF, pointed out that the results so far justify the trust that the Forum has received. This forum is also important for Bosnia and Herzegovina because our country needs a qualified workforce so that the economy can develop and progress. Ćulafić especially pointed out that in this way young people will be able to acquire knowledge that they will be able to use practically.
Thomas Fitschen, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “There is a great need of companies in BiH for qualified workers, and it is the RFC initiative that will improve the employability of young people in this country. High-quality training is important for young people, as well as for companies looking for workers. The grant-winning schools have interesting and promising projects, and I hope that the students will benefit greatly from them”.
Adam Drosdzol, director of BiH office of the KfW Development Bank, emphasized the commitment of this bank to the development of the economy, and that companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina know that well-trained workers are the key to success.
Draženka Subašić, Minister in the Government of Zenica-Doboj Canton, said that this is an opportunity to point out the current challenges and to continue making progress in creating better conditions in the country with new employment. She welcomed the project connecting the economy and education, which enables the improvement of educational institutions, and emphasized that by providing quality knowledge to young people, we enable them to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“I am glad that our students will be able to improve professionally and we hope that we will motivate other schools to understand how important it is for teachers to have good working conditions, and for students to have the opportunity to practice. This gives us hope that our children will remain work in these companies and in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Subašić.
RCF announced that the Third Public Call for Expressions of Interest will be announced soon. Find more information, as well as news about the next competition, at www.rcf-wb6.org.
A short film about the winners was shown at the gathering:
The Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) is a financing facility designed to increase youth employability and boost the competitiveness of enterprises in Western Balkan 6 by funding investments in selected cooperative training projects that are implemented through partnerships between vocational training institutes and the enterprises. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development commissioned 64.43 million EUR for the RCF, and the Swiss Government, represented by the SDC Swiss Development Cooperation, co-financed an additional 9.7 million CHF. The funds were commissioned to the KfW Development Bank and executed by the Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum (WB6-CIF), a joint initiative of chambers of commerce from the region.