Ambassador Kirby Visits Niš Cluster of Advanced Technologies

Ambassador Kirby Visits Niš Cluster of Advanced Technologies
Ambassador Kirby presents a Certificate of Appreciation to NiCAT
USAID Serbia

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NIŠ – Ambassador Michael D. Kirby attended the Niš Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cluster Academy graduation ceremony today and also visited Ates Soft, a member of the Niš Cluster of Advanced Technologies (NiCAT).

From April through November 2014, the ICT Cluster Academy equipped unemployed young people with the knowledge and skills that are in demand by employers in the innovative, growing, and well-paid IT industry.  In addition to learning the particulars of programming and software development, graduates applied their knowledge to real-life projects during their internships with NiCAT member companies.  Out of 24 students, 15 are already employed or have received offers for employment from Niš IT firms. 

Ambassador Kirby recognized the success and the quality of the Academy’s program and graduates noting, “I am confident that today’s graduates are the first of many ICT Academy generations to come.”  He added, "For any country facing high levels of unemployment, it is vital to ensure that qualified candidates are available when valuable new job openings are created."

Goran Mladenović, NiCAT Manager, highlighted the importance of the Academy, saying “The ICT Academy represents our contribution to the establishment of an education system which provides high-quality, formal and informal learning for young people in the sector that is generating the greatest number of jobs.  Work in advanced technologies enables young people to be engaged in a creative, globally recognized field, while remaining in their hometowns."

Ates Soft supports the ICT Academy by offering job opportunities and experience to its graduates. "The development of a knowledge-based economy, primarily in the context of IT technologies, is Niš’s biggest opportunity for development,” said Dejan Pavlović, Ates Soft CEO.  Mr. Pavlović went on to say that all members of society can contribute to this development, particularly Niš city leadership, the University of Niš, businesses, clusters, employers' associations, non-governmental organizations, and the Ministry of Education.  Recognizing that the lack of skilled labor is the IT industry’s biggest problem, but one that can be resolved with good coordination, he urged “There is no time to waste - it's time to take action!”

The ICT Cluster Academy project was implemented by NiCAT and funded by USAID.