In the period from 14 to 18 October 2013th, within the project “Strengthening professional adult education in rural areas”, which is implemented within the 2nd call for proposals of IPA Cross-border Program Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina, financed by the European Union pre-accession IPA funds, a study visit to Linz was held.

Study visit, which had cross-border character, with support of Caritas Linz, was organized by Caritas BC BiH and Caritas Sabac. Participants of the study visit were representatives of organizations and institutions that are working together on the project. The delegation from Sabac consisted of representatives of Caritas, the City Administration, the National Employment Agency, the Centre for Social Work and Tourism Organization.  From Bosnia and Herzegovina participated represenatives of Employment service of Central Bosnia Canton, the Centre for Social work from Travnik, KIseljak and Kreševo municipalities and Caritas BC BiH

In a five days study visit they visited SPES center in Slierbach which operates within a social enterprise that focuses on education and employment of adults as well as one bakery, which is implementing the project “Let’s do it” in partnership with Caritas Linz. The aim of the project is education of young people with disabilities and behavior disorders. There are 10 young people currently at the training for the jobs of baker and confectioner. In addition to the professional baker in the training of young people there is also pedagogue involved.

Participants of this study visit had  meeting with the deputy director of Caritas Linz, Gerhard Reischl, who has, among other things, presented the work of Caritas Linz,  with Julia Postl from the regional Caritas, who presented the process of regionalization of Caritas Linz and with  Schustereder Herbert, Head of Department of Adult Education and Human Resource Development of Caritas Linz. A program of accredited training courses and trainings implemented by Caritas Linz was presented. Representatives from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to hear the examples from the ex-mayor of Stanbach, Karl Sighartsleitner, of projects on which he managed the process of transformation from “a dying to the most vibrant community”.

Within this study visit was organized a meeting in  the Foundation of the Catholic Church for employment. It is primarily dedicated to strengthening unemployed persons to help themselves. Also participants had  a meetings in Austria National Employment Service and with representatives of Government of Upper Austria, where the presentation was held by Gunter Humer and Joseph Noyberg, head of the development department as part of the project: “Academy for the Future”. The department through the “Agenda 21” project is trying to strengthen the people in rural areas to be better organized in order to create better living and working conditions, with the help of various projects.

Afterwards, the region “Mühlviertler Alm” was visited, where a very successful project of regional development in the field of agriculture, tourism, regional marketing and social welfare projects was presented.

The last day of the visit started with a visit to the social enterprise “FAB”, which purpose is social and labor integration of persons with disabilities. The company works in the territory of whole Austria and employs about 700 people, including 500 persons with disabilities. Within the company, trainings for people from different vulnerable groups are carried out.

The study visit was completed by visiting social enterprise “BBRZ”, great institution engaged in educating adults with special programs for marginalized groups. A delegation from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to get insight on some programs, see the “BBRZ” workshop and to visit the Department of Education and Training. Rooms are fully adapted for smooth operation and there is an intensive therapy and provided accommodation for people who are not from Linz.

The participants of the study visit, which had a cross-border character, voiced satisfaction that they had a unique opportunity to gain new experience and learn about the work of public sector and civil society organizations, in a developed community, that will without doubt have an impact on the improvement of their own activities in the field of education and employment for vulnerable groups.