YOUTH AND THE SKILLS SYSTEM IN BULGARIA. CAN LIFELONG LEARNING POLICIES ON THE REGIONAL LEVEL COMPENSATE FOR THE MISMATCHES IN THE NATIONAL SKILL SYSTEM?
Keywords:young adults, youth transitions, skills system, lifelong learning policies, Bulgaria, regional context
The present article is a study of the opportunities and constraints for youth transitions from education to employment vis-a-vi the structural relationships (of compliance and discrepancy) between the sectors of education, training and the labor market. The analysis examines the deficiencies in the coordination of the demand and supply of skills in Bulgaria, which hinder the successful employment integration of the current young generation. The mismatches in the system are highlighted on the national and the regional level where we focus on the contextual cases of Blagoevgrad and Plovdiv functional regions. The paper reveals that there is a discrepancy between labor supply and demand in the skills systems in both regions where less than half of university graduates work in the specialty they have acquired during studies. One of the conclusions of the study is that social changes under way require new strategies and approaches of lifelong learning policies that should go deeper into the regional and local level taking into account both the needs of young people for training throughout their lives and the needs of the regional labor markets.
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