Very often young Bulgarians’ choice of Bulgaria as the location of their careers depends on opportunities for a worthy future available in their home country or abroad. In a bid to encourage them to choose Bulgaria, leading international and Bulgarian companies operating successful businesses in this country and trusting the potential of young Bulgarians have joined the campaign “Your 25 reasons to choose Bulgaria”. In the campaign, 1300 Bulgarian students from 127 universities in 15 countries outlined in essays their motives to remain in their motherland.
The winners are 25 young people who received the opportunity for internships in one of the companies, a business leader to mentor them and an annual scholarship worth 6000 leva (3000 euro) per annum.
“One of the goals of the campaign is to inspire trust among young people that there are opportunities for development in Bulgaria, but also in businesses that there are good causes and ideas able to keep the young in Bulgaria,” said Svilen Pankov, Human Resources Manager at the company that organized the competition.
In the recent years many bright and gifted young Bulgarians have chosen to study and work abroad. Lack of cooperation between the sector of education and Bulgaria’s employers has resulted in a tangible deficit of skilled staff. In the rivalry for young and educated specialists, certain countries have worked out a system aimed to attract talent and provide training and career development.
Is it simply a matter of choice and to what extent do Bulgarian employers have strategy of attracting young talent?
“In the bank that I work for we purposefully seek and attract talented students, but I am not sure whether this is the case with other companies,” explains Veselin Dimitrov employed by one of the companies in the project. “In latest figures unemployment has declined rapidly and this spells a rising demand for hands. This in turn blocks the growth of the economy. When there is deficit of qualified specialists this is already a big problem.”
Therefore the campaign “Your 25 reasons to choose Bulgaria” based on the idea to prevent a brain drain abroad has become popular:
“We face the future of Bulgaria and the question is whether to stay here and launch a career or leave the country. So, we should grab such opportunities without fear. An essay can give us a good start in life,” said Vasilena Vasileva. She is one of the winners in the campaigned and studies “Bulgarian philology” at St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia.
The truth is that Bulgaria is part of the open labor market in EU and this makes such a choice even more difficult:
„Some people make the decision of leaving more easily than others who hesitate. As far as I am concerned I had difficulty in making up my mind – what exactly I want to do,” admitted Borislav Valov, who is in his second year studying Journalism at Sofia University and is also among the competition’s winners.
Each of the 25 finalists could decide where to hold his or her internship.
“I could choose from among ten leading companies – to go for interviews with each of them within two hours and decide where my internship would be,” Vasilena told the Bulgarian National Radio.
“This was an experiment, a challenge, and a way to gain useful experience, knowledge and skills intuitively. Meeting companies and experts is quite worthwhile”, Borislav added. “The most important reason to choose my employer had to do with my interests – and what the company can give me in this regard. One has to be curious to set goals and imagine what one wants to learn from his or her mentors. When you are looking for opportunities around, you simply spot them.”
Inspired by the success of the campaign the organizers plan to repeat the experiment:
“I hope this will go on – both employers and students are satisfied with the initiative,” said Svilen Pankov.
In practice once such internships close, employers often hire the interns. The condition is that the intern has stood out with his or her performance. In the meantime there is competition at the level of the employer and the work conditions offered by him. After all, young people are looking for a reliable employer who creates a future.
Edited by Darina Grigorova
English Daniela Konstantinova