Sixteen years after the war and eight years after the Declaration of independence, there is a deep dissatisfaction with the political class, the widespread corruption and the lack of economic perspectives in Kosovo. Being the youngest country in Europe, Kosovo has also one of the youngest population rates: more than half of the population is under 25 years Each year, approximately 30,000 young people urge an extremely weak labour market. The youth unemployment rate stands at 61% with women and ethnic minorities being most affected. At the same time, enterprises indicate a lack of skilled workers which is a hindering the economy’s growth and is a barrier for foreign investors. The existing labour market policy instruments are not tailored to the needs of youth and in particular do not meet the needs of marginalized groups and ethnic minorities. The frustration of the population was expressed in an irregular mass emigration of Kosovar youth to Europe, especially to Germany.
The programme’s objective is to improve the employability of Kosovar youth aged between 15 and 35 years, therefore to better prepare them for the requirements of the labour market and providing perspectives. It is taking into account the special needs of ethnic minorities in Kosovo such as Serbians, Bosniaks, Egyptians and Ashkali as well as the participation of people with disabilities and return migrants from Germany. The project also works in the North of Kosovo and in Serbian enclaves, always considering the due no harm approach
The project applies a bottom-up approach and mainly addresses stakeholders at the local level such as vocational education and training institutions, local employment offices, youth centers and businesses. Besides the local-level approach, it also seeks to strengthen the implementation capacities of the relevant ministries and their subordinated agencies to a certain extent.
In the field of youth employment promotion, the project works together with existing structures and aims at empowering local stakeholders. It supports measures which enable young people to successfully participate in the labour market and provides them with the opportunity to encounter the world of work through setting up internship schemes or job fairs with the participation of local businesses. The project also facilitates youth empowerment activities through a close collaboration with actors from the ICT and tech sector.
Addressing concerns of the private sector over a skills mismatch, programme activities aim to improve the quality of vocational education and training, together with formal and non-formal labour market instruments and youth engagement activities. Better industry-school linkages and stronger involvement of private sector in the development and review of standards and curricula should result in higher practice orientation of vocational education and training in Kosovo.
The programme promotes the interfaces between youth employment and the vocational education and training sector by strengthening cooperation between the related stakeholders and actors. Career guidance and counseling is an example for which the VET schools get linked up with businesses. Students are supported to identify their strengths and aptitudes and make informed choices about certain professions.
Throughout implementation, improving the quality and recognition of Kosovar qualifications has to take into account the frameworks, trends and realities of regional labour migration.
The project builds on the results of the two previous GIZ projects “Promotion of Centres of Competence in the context of the vocational education and training reform” and “Youth Employment Promotion in Kosovo” (YEPIK).