The Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies (BAIT) is the contractor for Bulgaria of the European Commission`s initiative eSkills for Jobs 2015-2016 - a campaign to raise awareness of the need for citizens to improve their command of ICT skills for work. The campaign is funded by the European Commission to promote the digital market and create a large talent pool in Europe. Over 210 private sector companies, NGOs and government bodies across 24 European countries are engaged in eSkills for Jobs.
The very big success within the eSkills for Jobs 2015-2016 initiative in Bulgaria is the partnership with the Employment Agency. The labour offices in Bulgaria began to provide information about current trainings and courses in the field of ICT, conducted by the leading companies in the sector. At the national level, the initiative brings together 10 eSkills ambassadors and 52 stakeholders. The labour offices experts inform registered unemployed persons about opportunities for involvement in ICT training and job vacancies in the sector in the process of individual counselling. The aim is unemployed young people with qualifications different from ICT to be able to retrain or gain some more knowledge to improve their eSkills and have a better chance of finding work. Up to now, the online catalogue with ICT trainings contains 38 private, 19 cost-free, and 5 online educational initiatives.
In 2015 year a Bulgarian student turned out to be a runner-up in one of the categories in the eSkills for Jobs video competition. Dimitar Uzunov was awarded in Digital entrepreneurship for his project Phoenix Wars.
eSkills video Competiton has been launched again in the beginning of April. “We spread the word about the competition and hope that we will have a Bulgarian winner again just as we had in the last 2 years”, Vessela Kalacheva, BAIT CEO and national eSkills for Jobs coordinator says.
BAIT together with the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Education and Science created the national Strategy for 30 000 new IT specialists. The easiest solution was to raise the threshold of funding for each student in technical and engineering disciplines, but this option was rejected because it would lead to a higher quality than that currently found about 4,500 places for students in IT specialties and over 800 of them remain unfilled. Apparently some of the universities are not attractive enough and fail to fill their numbers. On the other hand, there are universities to which there is a significantly big interest than there are vacant positions. Within 3 to 5 years in leading universities the intake will increase of 3 000 units per year and in vocational schools and vocational training centres to open in 2000 new places a year. For 2016 the funds were provided from the state budget for new places at universities with the highest rating according to the criteria in the Ranking system of the universities.
BAIT together with the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Labour and Social affairs worked on improvement of the procedure of the "EU Blue Card". By decision of October 2015 the Council of Ministers adopted a decree amending the Ordinance on the terms and conditions of issuance, denial and revocation of work permits for foreigners in Bulgaria. The changes are intended to simplify the procedure for issuing the "EU Blue Card" for the exercise of highly qualified employment of foreigners from third countries. One of the novelties is dropping the requirement for the employer for a preliminary study of the workforce – i. e. "Market test". The amendment concerns only employment in professions specified in the list of professions for which there is a shortage of highly qualified specialists. The very list was drawn up at the proposal of the nationally representative organizations of employers and will be approved by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy debated in the National Council on Labour Migration and the National Council for Promotion of Employment. It should be updated annually by 31 January.