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.


Download data is not yet available.


Benneworth, P., & Jongbloed, B. W. (2010). Who matters to universities? A stakeholder perspective on humanities, arts and social sciences valorisation. Higher Education, 59(5), 567-588.

Boyadjieva, P., & Ilieva-Trichkova, P. (2015). Institutional diversity and graduate employability: the Bulgarian case. In Diversity and Excellence in Higher Education (pp. 153-171). Brill Sense.

Boyadjieva, P., & Ilieva-Trichkova, P. (2019). (Un) realized agency in a situation of early job insecurity: patterns of young people’s agency regarding employment. In Youth Unemployment and Job Insecurity in Europe. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Corbin, J. M., & Strauss, A. (1990). Grounded theory research: Procedures, canons, and evaluative criteria. Qualitative sociology, 13(1), 3-21.

Delors, J., Mufti, I. A., Amagi, I., Carneiro, R., Chung, F., Geremek, B., Gorham, W., Kornhauser, A., Manley, M., Quero, M. P., Plique, M.-A. S., Singh, K., Stavenhagen, R., Suhr, M. W., and Nanzhao, Z. (1996). Education: The Treasure Within, Paris: UNESCO,

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). (2010). The skill matching challenge: Analysing skill mismatch and policy implications. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

European Commission (EC) (2000). A Memorandum for Lifelong Learning. European Communities, Brussels: Directorate General Education and Culture,

European Commission (EC) (2001). Making a European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality. Communication from the Commission, Brussels: COM (2001) 678 final,

Eurofound (2014). Mapping Youth Transitions in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union,

Federation, M. E., Radovic, M., & Djuraskovic, J. (2015). Report: Mismatch between Education System and Labour Market Needs–Enabling Environment for Sustainable. Education, 7.

Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic Management: A stakeholder approach. Boston: Pitman.

Klapka, M. P., Halás, D. R. M., & Tonev, M. P. (2013). Functional regions: Concept and types funkční regiony: koncept a typy. XVI. mezinárodní kolokvium o regionálních vědách, 94.

Kogan, I., Noelke, C., & Gebel, M. (Eds.). (2011). Making the transition: Education and labor market entry in Central and Eastern Europe. Stanford University Press.

Kovacheva, S. (2001). Flexibilisation of youth transitions in Central and Eastern Europe. Young, 9(1), 41-60.

Kovacheva, S., & Hristozova, D. (2019). Youth migration and life course transitions: Comparing the impact of women’s mobility across generations in Bulgaria. Sociologija, 61(2), 210-226.

McLoughlin, C., & Luca, J. (2002). A learner–centred approach to developing team skills through web–based learning and assessment. British Journal of Educational Technology, 33(5), 571-582.

Milenkova, V., & Kovacheva, S. (2020). Regional Insights to Lifelong Learning Policies in Support of Young Adults in Bulgaria. Sofia: Avangard Prima.

Milenkova, V., & Apostolov, G. (2018). Implementing Youth Targeted Education and LLL Policies at Regional Level. Strategies for policy in science and education-strategii na obrazovatelnata i nauchnata politika, 26(2), 146-165.

Mitev, P.E., B. Popivanov, S. Kovacheva and P. Simeonov (2019). Bulgarian Youth. A Sociological Portrait 2018/2019. Sofia: Friedrich Ebert Foundation,

Morgado, A., Sequeira, T. N., Santos, M., Ferreira-Lopes, A., & Reis, A. B. (2015). Measuring labour mismatch in Europe. Social Indicators Research, 129(1), 161-179.

Outlook, O. O. R. (2016). Productive regions for inclusive societies.

Parreira do Amaral, M., & Kovacheva, S. (Eds.). (2019). Lifelong Learning Policies for Young Adults in Europe: Navigating between Knowledge and Economy. Policy Press.

Roberts, K. (2018). Explaining Education-to-Work Transitions: Thinking Backwards, Situating Agency and Comparing Countries. Review of European Studies, 10(1), 10.5539/res.v10n1p72

Schomburg, H., & Teichler, U. (2007). Higher education and graduate employment in Europe: results from graduates surveys from twelve countries (Vol. 15). Springer Science & Business Media.

Stoilova, R., & Nyagolov, L. (2016). Socio-professional Differences of School-to-Work Transitions. Sociological Problems, 48.

Tholen, G. (2015). What can research into graduate employability tell us about agency and structure?. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 36(5), 766-784.

Tomlinson, M. (2017). Introduction: Graduate employability in context: Charting a complex, contested and multi-faceted policy and research field. In Graduate employability in context (pp. 1-40). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Tomanović, S. (2019). Reconstructing changes in agency in the young people’s social biographies through longitudinal qualitative research. Young, 27(4), 355-372.

Walther, A. (2006). Regimes of youth transitions: Choice, flexibility and security in young people’s experiences across different European contexts. Young, 14(2), 119-139.




How to Cite

Milenkova, V. ., & Kovacheva, S. . (2020). YOUTH AND THE SKILLS SYSTEM IN BULGARIA. CAN LIFELONG LEARNING POLICIES ON THE REGIONAL LEVEL COMPENSATE FOR THE MISMATCHES IN THE NATIONAL SKILL SYSTEM?. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education (IJCRSEE), 8(1), 49–60.