Regional Challenge Fund Launched call to support investments in cooperative training in Western Balkans 6

60 Projects will be funded from 150.000 to 600.000 EUR giving total of 18.8 million euro investment

Podgorica/Belgrade/Sarajevo/Skopje/Tirana/Priština, February 3rd, 2021 –  Regional Challenge announced their regional call to support investments in cooperative training, ranging from 150.000 to 600.000 eur, with total funds to be used as of 18.8 milion euro. The launch event that announced beginning of this huge regional project gathered the representatives from international organizations and initiatives, regional organizations, public institutions in charge of vocational education and training, chambers of commerce, vocational training providers, enterprises. The Fund aims to strengthen the quality and labour market relevance of vocational education and training, by funding investments in equipment and infrastructure for selected cooperative/dual training projects that are implemented through partnerships between vocational training institutes and the enterprises.

„The Regional Challenge Fund is an innovative instrument created on the demand of educated workforce at the right time. The fund is an opportunity for companies and providers of expertise and training to adequately prepare for the time to come after a pandemic, which will further contribute to the stabilization and development of their individual business models“ – said Victoria Feith, Senior Portfolio Manager at KfW German Development Bank.

The support that the Regional Challenge Fund of the German Development Bank (KfW) provides to the Western Balkans through encouraging the partnership of educational institutions – high schools and faculties, and companies, is the best way to help the recovery, growth and competitiveness of our economies. By developing the dual education in secondary vocational schools and introducing dual studies, we can harmonize educational systems with the needs of economy, and to ensure necessary staff for local companies and foreign investors operating here, as well as those that intend to invest in the region“ it was stated by Mihajlo Vesović, Western Balkan Chamber Investment Forum, as the joint regional chamber.

Online event tackled various topics including “Enhancing Cooperation Training Partnerships between Vocational Education Institutions and Enterprises in WB6”.   Participants provided their opinion on cooperation between the private sector and the VET sector which should result in support further education and economic reforms in the Western Balkans. It was also stated that private sector should become more involved in cooperation with vocational training institutions.

According to Vesović, this project launched before the pandemic now becomes even more important, because it will ensure new employment of workers in the industries that have been hit mostly by the COVID 19 and will continue to operate with the reduced capacities. Vesović emphasized that the chambers of commerce, members of the Western Balkan 6 Chamber Investment Forum, as the partner in the implementation of the project, would do their best and contribute to the involvement of companies from industries that are of the key importance for the development of economies individually and the region as a whole. He has invited companies to get associated with secondary schools, higher professional schools and faculties to apply for the funds and jointly establish training centres that will enable students, to get familiar with machines, equipment and tools they will work with in their realistic work environment, during the training and later when they get employed.

The panelists agreed that programs such as the Regional Fund support raising the quality of vocational education, which is significantly contributed by an adequate legislative framework. Through the support of RCF, companies will be able to facilitate the process of training students, potential future employees, because they will come to the work environment with previously acquired basic technical skills that they will acquire thanks to modern equipment and tools in their schools. Companies can also use the support of RCF for additional training of their employees.

To remind, call for interest was published on and will be open from February 1st through April 30, 2021. Applications are open to consortia from the six Western Balkan economies consisting of one vocational training institute and at least two enterprise

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