Working together for the better future of the young. Interview with Vanja Udovicic

February 26, 2015

Vanja Udovicic, the Minister of Youth and Sports, speaks about the importance of support from the economy in overcoming the unemployment of the young, in their education and further development of sport in Serbia. It is well known that sport cannot be developed without the support from the economy. What is the current situation in our country in this respect? - The past experience shows us that the economy has provided a great support to the development of sport. It was a rule once that each city with a successful company had a successful sports club. Today the economy continues to provide support to the sport, one example being a basketball club "Partizan-NIS". Luckily, even in these economically challenging times, there are companies which find it to be in their interest to invest in the development of the national sport, and they are part of the team deserving credit for the success of the Serbian sport. Within the program "Energy of Knowledge", through the partnership with educational institutions, NIS enables the development of the young well-trained specialists. How do you assess this contribution to the promotion of knowledge among the young? - The Ministry of Youth and Sports considers this contribution to be a positive example and greatly appreciates the support provided by NIS to the young people in Serbia. The biggest challenge the young people face right now in our country is unemployment. The programmes of this kind provide support to the young people especially in the key moment in their lives when they break into the world of employment from the world of education. We are living in the time when technological innovations dictate frequent changes in the work processes and it is necessary to be able to adapt our knowledge and skills quickly and efficiently. The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Fund for Young Talents have entered into cooperation with NIS in early 2013 by signing a Protocol of Cooperation aiming to provide specialized workshops, traineeship or employment to Fund scholarship holders. This cooperation is successfully implemented through the programme "NIS Chance". Furthermore, 70 scholarship holders had a chance to get familiar with processes and work methods in NIS in the workshops organized in your Company. Certainly, the high-school students have not been forgotten, either. Seven students who were rewarded by the Fund for Young Talents for the success achieved in national and international competitions had a chance to attend the NIS Summer Camp in Becici. You signed recently on behalf of the Ministry of Youth and Sports with NIS a Memorandum of Cooperation on Professional Development and Employment of the Young. What are your expectations from this kind of cooperation? - The Cooperation between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and NIS already gives good results. Within the programme "Through Education to Employment" which is implemented jointly by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, NIS and the local self-government of Zrenjanin, 50 young people in the Secondary technical school and in the Technical Faculty attend the training courses for the qualifications NIS is interested in: 20 welders and 30 facility operators. More than 250 young people applied for the programme, which clearly confirms its good quality. The best among the trainees will get the job in NIS, and all that is a significant contribution to the efforts to reduce youth unemployment in Serbia. In our opinion this model which connects into a network the local self-government, educational institutions, training centres and demand for personnel in the companies in order to improve the employment rate of the young as much as possible, is good and it should continue in the future. Also, our Ministry cooperates with NIS through the Fund for Young Talents, owing to which more than thirty of our scholarship holders, who were the best students in Serbia, got a job in NIS in the past two years. There is a plan for further development of this segment to allow the scholarship holders of the Fund for Young Talents, including other students from Serbia as well, who study abroad, to get a job in NIS upon their return to Serbia. How important is NIS as a partner in promoting sport Serbia, taking into consideration its support of both professional and amateur sport activities through its corporate programs? - NIS and the national sport have one thing in common - energy. This means that they are absolutely logical partners. The Ministry of Youth and Sports is grateful for the joint projects up to now and for the support provided by NIS in developing sport in Serbia. As a former successful sportsman, what advice would you give to the young people starting the sports career, how important is education for the future athletes? - The importance of education is precious for every young man. It is simply necessary for the integral sports development, leading to a rational understanding of obligations, trainings, recovery, team relations, pride... Education also contributes to a better integration of the athletes in the social community, providing them with the skills that are necessary for the life after professional sport. Prepared by: Vesna Zivkovic Milivojevic for corporate magazine My NIS