Student Training and Empowerment Program (STEP)

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The Student Training and Empowerment Program (STEP), the newest program administered by the American Councils office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, aims to combat the growing societal problem known as “brain drain” in Bosnia and Herzegovina by teaching select junior and senior university students how to be competitive in the job market and offer them vital work experience through internships with prospective employers in their communities. STEP launched in November 2017 and will last until summer 2020. Program is sponsored by the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina under its Democracy Commission programs.


Countering ”brain drain”


Brain drain is one of the biggest problems that Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is currently facing. According to the most recent data, 150,000 people have moved out of BiH in 2016 alone with the numbers continuously increasing. As trends have shown over the last decade, young people are moving out of BiH with an idea that in order to succeed in life or have a career, they need to leave their country of origin. Young people in BiH finish their education and struggle to find a job, either because most employers look for people with work experience that recent graduates cannot provide, or because they were not taught the skills necessary to be competitive in the job market.

Universities generally do not have any specialized classes for career skill building; they do not have career advisers nor do they organize workshops or trainings outside of the regular curriculum. Secondary and tertiary education often does not equip students with any basic skills when it comes to the job-seeking process. Students graduate without knowing how to behave in a job interview, or write a resume or cover letter.


What does STEP consist of?


The STEP program consists of three phases:

  1. a series of courses and workshops designed to equip university students with the skills necessary to be competitive on the job market to be held in Banja Luka;
  2. internships with local businesses, institutions, and organizations for students in Banja Luka or Sarajevo;
  3. peer education programs organized by participants to share their knowledge and experience after the internships.

After all participants have successfully completed the training, internship, and peer training, they are invited to a closing ceremony that will be held in Sarajevo at the end of the program in 2020. This event will be an opportunity for participants to share their experiences. Each participant will receive a certificate of completion that confirms they have three months of work experience.


For more information about STEP, please contact: +387 33 838 262, write an email to: or visit our STEP Facebook page.