The first step: eco-action

Our NGO Europe House Slavonski Brod has decided to organize an eco-action as the first activity of the project. This activity aimed to clean one of the most recognizable places in the city – a small riverside beach with a big 3D image. This place has become very popular among the young citizens of our town, especially during the night. Also, it is currently used by many as a photo spot.

To get more attention to our action, we have decided to promote it through media, both social and local. The feedback from the general public has been positive, and we hope they have been encouraged to participate in such activities.

We have been accompanied by the students and professors of the Matija Antun Reljković High School. The group managed to clean up the local riverside beach and the area around it. Throughout the activity, we managed to gather seven big trash bags full of rubbish, most of them being cigarette butts, glass bottles and tin cans, various plastic bags, and packaging!

The infamous stereotype that young people are just looking at their tiny screens and typing on their keyboards has proven to be wrong once more. The time that young people invested in this activity seemed to be useful, as the outcome was a clean area in which they could have a good time with their friends.

Our next activity was held out of town. This time, we went to the small village of Mokreš to visit one local family farm. This activity has gathered all our participants for the upcoming September meeting in Ommen. This outdoor activity was more formal than others, as we were discussing the ways to be involved actively in community life. Aside from that, we have also discussed (self) employment and various ways to achieve this. In the end, we have tried to compare the opportunities that young people have in urban/rural areas. After the discussion, we got a tour of the estate and some information about the family business.

In July 2020, we held two more outdoor activities. Again, we have been accompanied by our friends at Matija Antun Reljković High School. The first activity was the following: participation in professional student internship and outdoor education activities held on the agricultural land around the school estate. This land is being cultivated by teachers and students from the school. Throughout the first activity, our aim was to encourage young people to acquire new skills for their personal progress. As businesses need workers who know how to deal with the challenges of green and digital economies, the location we have used seemed to be perfect.

The second activity was focused on green vocations and the ways to increase the interest of young people in these. The group was gathering blackberries on the school farm. The farm consists of approx 70 hectares of fertile land. After picking, the berries were processed (cleaned) and got ready to be sold. The buyers were informed by our volunteers about the EU and about further opportunities for young people. The students of the school have played a principal role, as they have prepared everything for the activity.

Then, September came, and the long-awaited day when the EHSB team went to Ommen, the Netherlands for the first training (meeting). Five young people have learned more about outdoor activities and ways of organizing such events. The team has acquired new tools for the implementation of numerous events in nature, and they have gained the courage to approach new challenges as if they are learning opportunities. By learning how indoor activities can be adapted to outdoor conditions and ideas, they have gained a high level of independence, creative thinking, and good energy. 

Although this is still a relatively new project, its impact is already noticeable. Our members have figured out new ways of implementing (indoor) activities outside. This helped us to adapt to the “new normal lifestyle” with a pandemic around us. Also, the activities gave us a more creative approach when it comes to achieving the common learning goals in our programs. This has also left an impact on our participants, especially the frequent ones who got used to our ways of transferring knowledge. By organizing new outdoor activities, especially the eco-actions, the participants have learned more about nature and how important it is to have a clean community around them. Leaving an impact like that on secondary school students is really important, and now that we have tested the activities and the results that we can create with these, we plan to start implementing them in case unemployed adults with fewer opportunities as well. During the evaluation, most of our participants appreciated the usage of outdoor activities over indoor ones.

Many activities can be implemented in the local community. It is not easy, but we have succeeded in doing it! We will continue to successfully come up with new ideas and activities. The focus will be set on activities that encourage local communities in being more productive and that support the inclusion and growth of vulnerable target groups (more specifically… unemployed adults who come from difficult backgrounds). We are happy that we can support our participants in contributing to their own health and to their society as a whole.

How do we create impact in the long run? What are the tips and tricks that we would like to share?
Keep reading and find out more… 

Although career counseling should be an integral part of the adult education process, so far it has not been systematically organized and implemented in the practice of adult education institutions, and it significantly affects the quality of the adult education process and the work of the institutions themselves. 

Career counseling can be conducted individually or in groups, in person or remotely (including helplines and online services). It includes the provision of information (in printed form, on a computer, or in another form), assessment and self-assessment tools, counseling interviews, career development training (for developing self-awareness, identifying career management opportunities and skills), observation or probation programs based on an example or sample check an option before it is selected), job search programs and transition services. In short, a modern approach to career counseling refers to support for lifelong learning (instead of only at key moments in life), the ability to test individual options offered (instead of their purely theoretical understanding), developing skills for self-management (instead of exclusive external support) and group approach (instead of exclusive individual counseling) and personal engagement. 

In recent years, the labor market has undergone changes and the biggest change that has begun and will continue concerns the requirements for candidates or all unemployed but also employed persons, which refers to the introduction of a new concept of (self) employability that requires them to work continuously on their own competencies to meet the (new) needs of employers and the needs of the labor market. With such an approach, the person himself influences his employment prospects, shortens the duration of unemployment, and secures current employment. So employability is a dynamic phenomenon, not static, because in the last 15 years, many occupations have disappeared, and new ones have emerged – static jobs and static working conditions have disappeared. Jobs today are less formalized, structured, and routine, increasingly requiring collaboration with people, communication, innovation, innovation, learning, and adaptability. 

The basic education with which a person enters the labor market (high school or college) is only basic, which upgrades further learning and work experience, which is then professionally profiled and “branded”. Communication and presentation skills, active knowledge of foreign languages, and computer work are very important for quality work, but in addition to this, good time and goal management, emotional and social intelligence, and willingness to learn should be mentioned. Rational intelligence will help you get a job, and emotional intelligence will help you be successful in it. 

“Technical competence and intelligence are important characteristics of every employee, but when it comes to choosing between two candidates for promotion or a new job, communication skills are crucial.” 

In the long run, it is likely that many more people will experience unemployment during their lifetime than in previous generations for two reasons: 

  • in a dynamic market, some companies will do worse or close, which will eventually lead them to let some or all employees go;
  • employees who do not do the job in accordance with the expectations and needs of the job will not be able to keep that job.

Therefore, in this context, career counseling is aimed at supporting and empowering the unemployment period to be as short as possible in order to maintain job potential, preserve the employability and psychological status of persons, and prevent the psychosocial and economic consequences of unemployment and social exclusion. 

Employability can be defined as a positive state of work motivation and a positive state in terms of the psychological well-being of the individual. Career counseling within the youth NGOs should be a complementary service to the services provided by the Croatian Employment Service. 

The career counseling service should be established as: 

  • permanent function within some of the youth NGOs;
  • element of quality care for users; 
  • quality source of information on labor market needs. 

Long-term unemployment is undesirable for society because: 

  • as a condition, it impairs mental health and reduces a person’s work capacity; it reduces the likelihood of employment (the longer it lasts, the higher the chances of unemployment);
  • it causes social isolation because it leads to the exclusion of a person from his former social network, to poverty, which can last for generations in the family;
  • it leads to a person’s social and economic dependence on state institutions. 

By implementing the „Through Talents to Work“ project EHSB wanted to provide an answer to the above-mentioned needs.

The „Through Talents to Work“ project is a vocational orientation project that allowed marginalized and unemployed young people to get to know each other better, to get to know their potential – abilities, talents, and values ​​- in order to be able to choose the direction of their education and career which really suits them. Choosing a professional direction in accordance with their own characteristics, preferences, abilities, and motivators is an important factor in building a fulfilling and happy life, which for the vast majority of parents stands out as the greatest wish for their child.

Why is it important to know your potential?

Because a man can realize his potential only when he faces it. In order for a man to build a house, he must first see what resources he has at his disposal, and today’s man most often begins to build a life and career while he doesn’t even know who he is. Research has shown that only 10% of people enjoy their job and use their greatest strengths and talents, about 50% of people accept a job as something they have to do, and over 40% of them can’t stand their job! It is important to provide support to children and young people in discovering their talents. This will directly affect their greater employability and entrepreneurship and encourages the active and responsible involvement of young people in society. 

Through coaching and organizing different educational activities with the aim for participants to recognize their talents, EHSB offered marginalized and unemployed young people tools for a better understanding of themselves and provided their loved ones with information on how best to support them in achieving their potential and goals.

Who is our coaching target group?

  • young adults who are finishing high school and want to choose a college to enroll in;
  • students who are dissatisfied with the chosen faculty and are considering changing faculties;
  • young adults who want to get to know themselves, their talents, and their personality better in order to focus on their strengths and to become aware of their value and individuality;
  • young adults who want to define the direction of their future careers and the education plan that leads them to that goal.

What are the benefits of this type of coaching? 

  • raising awareness of one’s own individuality and the diversity of other people;
  • increasing self-confidence and personal satisfaction;
  • defining their core skills, talents, abilities, and interests;
  • active reflection on future careers during high school and college education;
  • creating career plans and desired goals;
  • quality preparation and proactive approach to the process of searching for the desired job or experience;
  • developing awareness of small businesses and various forms of (self) employment;
  • developing soft skills that help in better interaction with the business and private environment.

How do we do it?

The set of activities, which could be held online and offline, is preceded by the preparation in the form of an online questionnaire provided to the participants to solve for the purpose of quality diagnostics and linking the theoretical content with their individual results.

Activities with the aim of discovering their talents as an area of ​​greatest growth

Educational psychologist Donald O. Clifton first designed the interviews that subsequently became the basis for the CSF, he began by asking, “What would happen if we studied what is right with people?”. Thus emerged a philosophy of using talents as the basis for consistent achievement of excellence (strength). Specifically, the strengths philosophy is the assertion that individuals can gain far more when they expend effort to build on their greatest talents than when they spend a comparable amount of effort to remediate their weaknesses (Clifton & Harter, 2003).

Clifton hypothesized that these talents were “naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied” (Hodges & Clifton, 2004, p. 257). “Strengths” are the result of maximized talents. Specifically, a strength is a mastery created when one’s most powerful talents are refined with practice and combined with acquired relevant skills and knowledge. Our talents are our most natural way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. At the same time, these are the areas with the greatest potential for growth and developing strength. During these types of activities, the participants get to discover their talents according to the Gallup model StrengthsFinder.

Activities with the aim of discovering their personality traits and behavioral styles

Understanding personality types is helpful for appreciating that while people are different, everyone has value, and special strengths and qualities and that everyone should be treated with care and respect. The relevance of love and spirituality – especially at work – is easier to see and explain when we understand that differences in people are usually personality-based. People very rarely set out to cause upset – they just behave differently because they are different.

Personality theory and tests are useful also for management, recruitment, selection, training, and teaching, on which point see also the learning styles theories on other pages such as Kolb’s learning styles, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, and the VAK learning styles model.

Depending on personality traits, each individual is prone to a particular style of behavior that is best for him and reflects his motivation and beliefs. Those who understand their natural style of behavior have a bigger likelihood of seizing the right opportunities in the right way and achieving the desired results. During these types of activities, the participants get to discover their personality traits and behavioral styles. 

Understanding personality – of yourself and others – is central to motivation. Different people have different strengths and needs. The more people understand about personality, the better able they are to judge what motivates people – and themselves.

The more they understand about their own personality and that of other people, the better able they are to realize how others perceive them, and how they react to their own personality and style.

Knowing how to adapt the way they work with others, how they communicate, provide information and learning, and how they identify and agree on tasks, are the main factors enabling the managing and motivation of others – and of themselves.

Activities with the aim of discovering their favorite activities, areas of interest, and preferred roles

The activities we love and the areas of our interests largely determine the career we seek. When children imagine themselves working like an adult, whatever they fantasize about, they most often fantasize about doing something interesting to them. 

In addition, favorite activities largely define the roles we all choose, both in business and privately. Each of us finds natural roles through life and those roles most outline what we are. In one role are our talents and favorite activities, intelligence, and even values. Of all the ID components, roles include most of the elements in themselves. Individuals who have the opportunity privately or through work to be in the majority of their favorite roles live and realize all aspects of themselves and their potential. During these types of activities, the participants get to discover their favorite activities, areas of interest, and preferred roles.

Activities with the aim of discovering their professional interests and own interests by faculty clusters

During these types of activities, the participants get to discover their professional interests and their own interests through faculty clusters. Through their area of ​​interest, we will define the professional environment that best suits the person and faculty areas. 

According to Holland, the author of the RIASEC model, the choice of occupation is an expression of personality, and individuals have the best results and develop the most in environments that support them. RIASEC is an acronym that stands for Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional – the six types of personalities and occupations that the SDS classifies. 


Realistic people prefer manual labor and enjoy operating devices or vehicles. Many realistic professions involve outdoor work, work with animals and require one to get their hands dirty. A realistic profession is the opposite of an office job where you sit inside all day. Common hobbies of realistic people are gardening, having pets, tinkering with cars or other vehicles, and outdoor sports such as mountain biking and running. Sectors that include many realistic professions include agriculture, construction, manufacturing, distribution and transport, and shipping and aviation. Keywords: physical, outdoors, hands, on the road, machines, equipment, animals.


Investigative people are inquisitive, analytical, and like to learn. Investigative professions require one to carefully analyze the tasks at hand. Many investigative professionals are an expert in their particular field and solve problems through research and analysis. Typical hobbies of investigative people include intellectual sports such as Sudoku and chess, learning different languages, or following additional courses just for the fun of it. One will encounter many investigative professions in academic education, IT, healthcare, and innovative companies. Keywords: analytical, inquisitive, gaining knowledge, continuous learning, specialist.


Artistic people are creative and original by nature. Artistic professions often involve design and expression. Artistic or creative professions require one to view the world from a new, unique perspective. This may be by means of images and language, but also ideas themselves. Typical artistic hobbies include painting, photography, writing, cooking, crafts, design, and visiting museums. One will encounter a relatively large number of artistic professions in advertising, the music industry, theatre, the art sector, and companies in the field of design. Keywords: artistic, original, creative, design, expression.


People who score highly in the social category enjoy assisting others or teaching. Many social professions require intense collaboration with others or learning new information together. Social people will generally have a preference for hobbies such as team sports, volunteering, and eating out with friends. Many social professions can be found in the government, education, health care, and social services. Keywords: contact, helpful, service-oriented, social, understanding, empathetic, teaching.


As the word suggests, enterprising people like to take the initiative, are willing to take risks, and are natural leaders. Enterprising professions often require one to make many (important) decisions, direct and persuade people and take responsibility for the tasks at hand. Enterprising people will have a preference for hobbies such as investing, training, and coaching at a sports club, political side activities, and other administrative work. Enterprising professions can mainly be found in management, marketing, trade, administration, and politics. Keywords: convincing, final responsibility, directing people, taking financial risks.


Conventional people are often perfectionists who prefer to work in a structured manner and according to set agreements. Conventional professions often require work to be carried out in accordance with a set pattern or rules. In addition, the work can be routine or process-based. Conventional people will have a preference for hobbies that involve collecting things or researching a family tree, for example. Conventional professions are very common in the banking world, companies that are involved in the management and maintenance of real estate, administrative companies, the financial sector, and government and branch organizations. Keywords: organizing, administrative, reliable, accurate, legal, regulating, process-based, procedural.

RIASEC coding of a profession

Every profession can be classified using a RIASEC code. For instance, a general practitioner is highly inquisitive (scores highly in the INVESTIGATIVE category) and people-oriented (scores highly in the SOCIAL category). A GP wants to help others and reassure them. Moreover, the fact that a GP occasionally uses special equipment and has a somewhat practical approach, makes it possible to classify him/her as a REALISTIC person as well. However, this personality trait is less prominent for this type of profession than for the SOCIAL and INVESTIGATIVE categories.