Empowering Future Leaders: Lessons from the European Year of Skills | WeBalkans | EU Projects in the Western Balkans

YEA Blog

Young European Ambassadors share their dynamic initiatives, events, and ideas shaping the EU integration journey of the Western Balkans.


Empowering Future Leaders: Lessons from the European Year of Skills

Author: Marija Blažević, Young European Ambassador from Montenegro


When we think of skills, we often imagine something tangible, something we can create with our hands. However, skills are not only that; they also encompass emotional intelligence, negotiation power, proactivity, leadership, and many others.

Hello everyone! My name is Marija Blažević, a 25-year-old Young European Ambassador representing Montenegro. Join me as I recount the highlights of the recent European Year of Skills conference, where discussions were robust, and ideas flowed freely.


Diving In: European Year of Skills, insights from the frontline

As a Young European Ambassador from the Western Balkans, alongside YEAs from Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood programmes, Tako Davladzde and Rita El Khoury, and EU member country representatives, we gathered for the grand finale of the European Year of Skills conference. The tone of the conference was set with a call to action for active participation in skill development to fortify Europe’s future. Of course, we were excited to learn more about it!


How does the youth of the Western Balkans connect to this?

One programme that stood out for me was the ERASMUS programme mentioned by the panellists. It made me realise the endless possibilities it offers for growth and connection. Youth from the Western Balkans have the opportunity to be part of it and connect with peers around the world.

But it wasn’t all about programmes; it was about recognising the skills within us, nurturing them, and realising their potential to foster growth and cross-cultural understanding. Beneath the surface, the emphasis was on self-recognition and skill cultivation, essential for personal and societal advancement.


Lessons learned

From lively panel discussions to intimate breakout sessions, the event was a treasure trove of insights. We delved into the pressing issues facing youth today – from the need for paid internships to the importance of reforming our education systems.

One resounding message echoed through it all: skills aren’t just about certificates; they’re about empowerment, inclusion, and creating a brighter tomorrow for all. They are instruments of empowerment and vehicles for social change.


Opportunities knocking

As the curtains drew to a close, we were left with a resounding call to action: it’s not just about a year of skills; it’s about a decade-long commitment to growth and development. The EU offers a wealth of opportunities for those willing to seize them, but it’s up to us to harness our potential and drive the skills revolution forward.

And that is exactly what young people from the Western Balkans offer: potential and skills. We are demonstrating it through our activism and will for change. The young people of the Western Balkans show proactivity, creative IT skills, public speaking, project management, teamwork, knowledge transfer, diplomacy, entrepreneurship, media literacy, and much more, and are ready to fulfil their full potential.


Shaping the future: Our role in Europe’s story

As young people, we’re not just the future; we’re the architects of it. Our voices matter, our ideas count, and our skills hold the key to unlocking a brighter, more inclusive region and Europe. So let’s roll up our sleeves, embrace the challenges ahead, and build a future where every skill is celebrated and every voice is heard.

By believing in ourselves and in our peers, we can embrace the challenges ahead with determination and purpose. With knowledge, skills, and advocating for the right values, there is nothing we can’t achieve. It was great to hear from the representatives of the institutions that they believe in us and recognise where we are not acknowledged. When they said it out loud, we all felt seen and continued the conversation with them, providing ideas on how to improve the role of youth in such important topics and why it is crucial for us to be part of such events and more involved.


Towards a stronger, more inclusive Europe and brighter future for all

As I reflect on this enriching experience, one thing is clear: the journey towards a stronger, more inclusive region and Europe starts with us. Let’s cherish our skills, nurture our talents, and forge ahead with passion and purpose. Together, we can transform aspirations into achievements and turn the dream of a better region into a reality.

So here’s to the next decade of skills and the boundless possibilities that lie ahead. Let’s make every day a celebration of growth, every challenge an opportunity for learning, and every skill a beacon of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Until next time, stay curious, stay passionate, keep shining bright, and embrace your skills!



Please wait while your video is being uploaded...

Don't close this window!

Subscribe to the newsletter

I have read and understood the terms of the privacy statement.