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Reducing unemployment, improving the quality of education, increasing the inclusion of vulnerable groups in the society and reducing the risk of poverty are all goals of the new Programme for Montenegro on Employment, Education and Social policies, financed by the EU pre-accession funds (IPA).
The Programme, worth €18 million, will be jointly implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and the Ministry of Finance, with the support of the EU Delegation to Montenegro and the European Commission.
"The main goal of the Programme is to create a developed and cohesive society by providing better conditions for raising the level of employability of the population, improving the quality of formal and non-formal education and lifelong learning, with the social incluion of disadvantaged people and reducing the risk of poverty," said Ljiljana Simovic , the Director-General of the Directorate for European Integration, Programming and Implementation of EU Funds at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, during the presentation of the Programme.
The Programme consists of several parts. In early March, a Call for Grants to Support Training and Employment of Unemployed Persons in Deficit Crafts in Montenegro, as well as improving the skills of the unemployed members of the Roma and Egyptian populations, was announced. The Call, which will be opened until 15 April, is worth €1.6 million.
“We would like to invite you all to explore these multiple funding opportunities to see how you can contribute. Please be ambitious, take initiative, and be persistent in your efforts to make Montenegro a better place to live and work in. The EU has been and will remain by your side as you collectively work to achieve this goal,” said Plamena Halačeva, Head of the Political, European Integration and Trade Section at the EU Delegation to Montenegro.
Another Call for grants for further development and quality provision of social and child care services at local level, worth nearly €3 million, was also announced in early March. The Call will be opened until 19 April.
The Director of the Employment Agency, Suljo Mustafic, explained that within the Programme, at least 700 unemployed individuals will be trained for vacant positions, and at least 25% of those who will undergo the training programme will get jobs.
"I invite all candidates to deal with this problem responsibly, as well as to contact the Agency to cooperate and receive adequate support when joining the Active Employment Policies. The decreased budget funds, compared to last year; however, significantly limit the implementation of a standard set of active measures. Therefore, in addition to the funds that are allocated at the national level, every support we receive from the EU funds is extremely important," said Mustafic.
Info Days will be organised in seven Montenegrin cities in order to inform the target groups about the open Calls. The Programme will also provide support to the self-employed in Montenegro, through a call for grants to unemployed persons to start their own businesses, which is expected in the second half of this year.