Having studied banking, insurance and social security at university, Theodora Dobreva was looking forward to putting what she’d learned to good use in her career. Instead, she found herself working basic and low-paid jobs in fields that didn’t interest her. “I was disappointed because this wasn’t what I had studied for,” she says.

She’d been unemployed for a month when an acquaintance at an accounting firm told her about the New Opportunity for Youth Employment programme. One of several opportunities offered in Bulgaria through the Youth Guarantee scheme, the programme gives young people the chance to do a tailored six-month traineeship. In Theodora’s case, she could do a traineeship in accounting.

Theodora freely admits that she had some initial doubts about the programme. “I was sceptical at first, until I learned what the aim of the programme was and how it was implemented. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it was planned and carried out.”

She decided to take part in the traineeship and spent the following six months working for accountancy firm DMC. “The job was varied – I learned about accountancy, processing documents, preparing payrolls and social security filing. I was really eager to learn more and knew there were people in the company who could teach me.”

“The skills I gained were incredibly important to me,” she continues, “because they gave me the basics I would need for many similar jobs in the future.”

While her traineeship is now over, Theodora is still with DMC. “My employer and I had a conversation and we both agreed that I would stay and work full-time,” she explains. “Finding a good job that I like – that was an amazing moment for me. I’m very happy and I’m grateful for the opportunity I was given.”