A state-wide system of structured transition training, e.g. apprenticeships and traineeships, combining work and formal education and training, should be developed within the context of the qualifications framework.
The approach could combine broad-based VET in a public or private education and training institution with subsidised work in relevant fields to form an integrated transition system from training to employment. By linking it to the qualifications framework, participants would have the opportunity to progress to more advanced areas of education, training or employment if they wanted to. The approach could be integrated with other employment programmes.
The programme should act as a 'stepping stone' into primary labour market jobs. It should also improve and increase broad-based work-related training and improve the 'life chances' of the participants. The programme should raise the status of many of the jobs involved. The target group must include both employed and unemployed people because many jobs offer essentially unstable employment and few training opportunities.
Use qualifications framework as a strategic tool for system change
The introduction of the Baseline Qualifications Framework has the potential to support aspects of industry policy more directly. The framework offers Bosnia and Herzegovina an opportunity to restructure its vocational education system for the benefit of employers and employees by delegating regulation of the system to business and industry.
Although not yet implemented, the planned Baseline Qualifications Framework appears to be based on qualifications derived from occupational standards. While this is a common approach, there is also scope for the qualifications framework to be developed around industry sectors.
Qualifications for skills-related career paths could be identified by industry sectors and be led by employers' organisations and associations. This would provide an economy-wide reference point for the qualifications and create a new role for business and industry in the education and training system.
Discussions should be held in various sectors about the occupations most in demand in order to identify the standards that need to be designed and delivered. The framework could be used to support enterprise restructuring in key industry areas. For example, state-owned enterprises have been identified as a particular problem, affecting macroeconomic performance, fiscal sustainability, labour market outcomes and competitiveness. The qualifications framework, together with the relevant occupational standards, could be used to develop a skills framework for these state-owned enterprises that would help them assess the skills profiles necessary for effective restructuring.
Use 'joined-up thinking' frameworks that enable stakeholders and policy makers to work together
Education authorities and state institutions should increase efforts to implement European initiatives in education and training, e.g. key competences, qualifications frameworks and quality assurance, to strengthen their links with the EU and avoid falling behind internationally. This should involve the development of a new VET strategy to pay particular attention to sectors with high growth potential and wider developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt smart specialisation strategies.
The current arrangements could be strengthened significantly if the Conference of Education Ministers established indicators that could be related to each of the frameworks and progressively followed by a monitoring secretariat.
A monitoring approach that makes progress more visible would improve the speed of implementation. The work of the Standing Conference of Education Ministers could lead this by developing a new state-wide cooperative partnership agreement on skills development with key targets for the implementation of policies and their alignment with EU developments. A state-wide standing group on VET could track this process.
This would also assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in representing its different systems at an international level, as it is currently difficult for the external systems to engage with, or follow, progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina.