May 8, 2024

Regional Workshop on Labor Market and Education Reforms: Insights and Recommendations from Participating Officials

Milica Vučević from the Serbian Ministry of Science, Technological Development, and Innovation, Marko Vukašinović from the Montenegrin Ministry of Education, Science, and Innovation, and Tuncay Serdaroğlu from the Turkish Presidential Strategy and Budget Office joined us earlier this year at a workshop that offered a review of trends in the labor market and education, followed by a detailed analysis of labor and education reforms outlined in the Economic Reform Programme. We are happy to share their thoughts on the value they believe this event brought to them. The "Managing Labor Market Structural Reforms" workshop was delivered as part of the EU-funded multi-beneficiary project "Structural Reforms Better Integrated Within Fiscal Frameworks" (FISR2) implemented by the CEF.

What motivated you to join the recent workshop?

Milica Vučević
: I was motivated to join the workshop to deepen my understanding of labor market reforms and how they can be strategically designed and implemented to foster inclusive growth, enhance competitiveness, and positively impact the education system. The opportunity to learn from real-world examples and engage in hands-on learning exercises was particularly appealing, as I sought to strengthen my expertise in preparing for the upcoming Reform Agenda with a focus on the business environment and private sector development.

Marko Vukašinović
: I was inspired to join the CEF workshop due to its direct relevance to my work. Additionally, given CEF's distinguished reputation, I had no hesitations in confirming my attendance.

What was your most significant takeaway from the workshop, and how do you believe it will benefit you in your role?

Milica Vučević
: My most significant takeaway from the workshop is the importance of adopting a whole-system perspective for reform measures, understanding the interconnection between various sectors such as labor, education, and science, and their collective impact on economic growth. This insight is invaluable in my role, as it equips me with the knowledge to contribute to the design and implementation of measures that are not only effective in achieving immediate objectives but also sustainable in promoting long-term results.

Tuncay Serdaroğlu:
The workshop provided me with fresh insights into labor market reforms amid ongoing economic and technological shifts. It was enlightening to explore recent global, regional, and local labor market and education trends presented by respected experts and guest speakers. Additionally, it was very informative to learn from the practices of colleagues from the Western Balkans which strengthened my awareness of the topic. Together, we bridged academic knowledge with real-world relevance, acquiring practical working strategies for diverse scenarios.
Personally, the most interesting and exciting part of the workshop was the case study. Each team was tasked with addressing unique labor market challenges within a hypothetical economy. Collaborating to come up with solutions within a limited timeframe allowed us to leverage our diverse backgrounds and skills, fostering a strong sense of teamwork within the group.

Marko Vukašinović
: My most significant takeaway from the workshop is a heightened understanding of the structural reform process, especially concerning the tasks ahead regarding the Growth Plan. We used various methods during the workshop, providing me not only with valuable knowledge but also with insights into practical techniques. I plan to implement these approaches within the division I lead.

Why would you recommend this workshop to your colleagues?

Milica Vučević
: The opportunity to engage in practical exercises and apply concepts to real-life scenarios provided me with a unique learning experience that was both immersive and highly applicable to my work. Additionally, I had the chance to meet colleagues from other countries and hear about their experiences regarding reform measures in these areas. Most importantly, I made valuable new acquaintances. I would recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to share their experience in preparing the Economic Reform Programme, hear the experiences of colleagues from the region, enhance their knowledge in this field, and and who knows, perhaps make new friendships that will last a lifetime.

Tuncay Serdaroğlu
: I believe that the program's multidisciplinary and participatory approach effectively served its purpose, allowing participants to fully experience the CEF's motto "Connect, Learn, and Act." Thanks to its engaging environment of critical thinking and collective learning processes, the CEF equipped us with the art of public policy design, serving as a catalyst for advancing public interests. Throughout the workshop, I had the opportunity to engage with colleagues from across the Balkans who share a commitment to advancing structural reforms in their respective countries. Together, we brainstormed ideas aimed at improving job opportunities, enhancing education, and fostering lasting social prosperity. Equally important is the social network we formed here at the CEF, which extends far beyond the classroom and has extended into lifelong friendships.

Marko Vukašinović: I would highlight the well-structured program of the event, the expertise of the speakers, the relevance of the participants, and the excellent event logistics. I am eager to spread the word about the excellent work being done by the CEF.