Case Study

Croatia – Developing an Internship and Mentoring Programme with EBRD and HUP

People1st International

In September 2016, People 1st International, the Croatian Employers’ Association, HUP, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) partnered to develop an internship and mentoring programme for Croatia. This successful partnership, on a relatively short project, has yielded outstanding results which include over 135 employers signing up to participate in the internship programme and collectively registering over 500 internship vacancies.

Skills Solution
Development of an Internship and Mentoring Programme for Young People

Croatia’s economy was greatly affected by many years of recession, with major implications on the youth unemployment rate. In 2013, youth unemployment reached 50% and more than half of those young people were unemployed for longer than 12 months.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched the Private Sector Youth Initiative (PSYI) in partnership with the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP), private-sector companies, professional women associations, and academic institutions.

People 1st International were asked to support and work with the PSYI partnership to develop solutions during the set-up phase.

The programme initially planned to offer at least 100 internship places for students and at least 20 mentoring opportunities for young women.

People 1st International utilised its experience gained in developing youth inclusion employment programmes across the world:

Partnership Building
Involvement of key stakeholders, led by HUP, and including representatives from private-sector companies, professional women associations, and academic institutions, to ensure their engagement and commitment to the success of the programme

Developing internship programme
Galvanising employer support to commit to offering internship vacancies by communicating the long-term benefits to their organisations and to the wider economy and society, and taking into consideration the needs of young people

Developing mentor programme
Creating a foundation for the success of the young people involved in the programme by giving them access to dedicated support throughout the programme

Capacity building / outreach
Planning for sustainability by setting up a programme of training for mentors and coaches.

During this short project, all objectives were met with the following key outputs:

  • 135 companies registered their interest with HUP and collectively registered more than 500 internship vacancies
  • 40 universities registered to participate in the programme
  • The Council of Students actively participated in all HUP regional events
  • An Internship website was launched
  • Visibility events were held in Osijek, Rijeka, Zagreb, Varazdin and Split
  • Legal agreements have been completed, translated and are available to support the project
  • Successful roundtable discussions were held with employers and university faculties in Zagreb, Osijek, Split, Rijeka and Varazdin, led by HUP Regional Directors
  • 35 female mentors registered with HUP
  • The People 1st UK team delivered training in Croatia to mentors and coaches – a total of 166 delegates were trained
  • HUP representatives in Zagreb were taken through the internship programme and are now well placed to support employers and university faculties going forward.
  • Croatian national television and radio were at events in Zagreb and Osijek, and as a result the programme and HUP received positive exposure.

As a result of the work carried out by People 1st International, HUP now have a series of high-quality handbooks and programmes, in both English and Croatian, to support the initiative.

  • Internship Handbook for Employers
  • Internship Handbook for Interns
  • Internship Handbook for Education Institutions
  • Half-day Coaching Programme Trainer Guide
  • Half-day Coaching Programme Participant Workbook
  • Mentor Workbook
  • Mentee Workbook
  • Legal Framework Agreement: Faculty – Employer
  • Legal Internship Agreement: Employer – Intern – Faculty

The outcomes of the project have been achieved through the establishment of a strong relationship between People 1st International and HUP who have, in turn, built up excellent relationships with university faculties, the Council of Students, and employers. The initiative has supplied HUP with a framework and a wealth of information and resource to continue to promote and support both the internship and mentoring programmes.

“Working with People 1st International has enabled us to develop a successful internship and mentoring programme to create a pipeline of talent for our member organisations and to offer career opportunities to young people across the country. In the first phase, over 135 companies registered 500 internships, and 166 mentors were trained.

With the support of our partners, we have been able to develop strong relationships with universities and student groups to ensure that our programme is designed not only to meet our members’ skills requirements but, just as importantly, to meet the needs of the young people who will be the future of our country”


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