Boosting youth employment in Kosovo
Almost one out of every two people in Kosovo* is unemployed. For people 25 and younger, eight out of ten are unemployed.
Avni Gallopeni is a 25 year old a graphic designer with a university degree who looked for a job for three years.
“After several failures, one after another, I made my way to an employment office,” said Mr. Gallopeni.
He got an internship with a shoe manufacturer in nearby Suhareka/Suva Reka and now works as a shoe designer.
Since 1999, UNDP has been working with partners in Kosovo to help increase employment by strengthening the offices that help people find jobs.
Results include: better information about the job market, enhanced vocational training, more effective job counselling, and improved employment prospects for youth and people with disabilities.
● Between 1999 to 2001, 25,000 people were engaged in public works projects to help rebuild Kosovo after the conflict, and local communities were involved in the selection of projects.
● In 2004, employment programmes created 3,200 short term public sector jobs through 73 municipal public works projects, and provided vocational training to people with no professional skills.
● Since 2005, some 10,000 young people have gained qualifications and skills adapted to the needs of the private sector; and 46 percent of graduates from the vocational programmes found jobs.
● The Government signed agreements with 3,500 firms over a five year period to enroll young jobseekers in training and apprenticeship programmes.
● UNDP supported seven key regional employment centres across Kosovo, which included training on how to provide individual assistance to job seekers, prepare training plans for young people, and give advice to budding entrepreneurs.
Arlinda Hajdari has gained valuable skills as a machine operator for a company in Kosovo. Photo: Alexia Skok
“Life is much better now,” said Lirie Grbavci, 27, who had been unemployed for two years before the programme helped her find an internship at Xhejsa, a paper manufacturing company in Ferizaj/Urosevac.
She was trained as a machine operator and has been working for the company ever since.
“I can now support my family, cover my own expenses, and I am not a burden to others.”
UNDP also worked closely with community groups to promote employment for minorities and people with disabilities.
“People like me were not even considered for a job,” said Halim Xheleli who lives in Kamenica, a remote town in southeast Kosovo and has been visually impaired since birth.
“I tried several times to find employment in the private sector, but all my efforts failed.”
Mr. Xheleli visited the counsellors at the regional employment centre in Gjilan/Gnjilane, who looked at his credentials and offered him on-the-job training as a librarian at the Centre for Visually Impaired People.
“I never thought I could do it, but I pushed myself to go ahead with the training,” Xheleli says. “I wanted to prove that people with disabilities are not a burden to society. We can learn new skills and use them to make a living.”
Astrit Ceraku is training to be a mechanic. Photo: Alexia Skok
In 2009, the Government of Kosovo endorsed a three-year employment strategy to help young people access the labour market. Specific actions noted in the strategy, such as public works programmes, on the job and pre employment training, internships and apprenticeships with private companies, were piloted and proved effective by the UNDP supported employment programme.
UNDP continues to support employment offices and vocational training centres, as well as private companies with developing employment policies and setting up services for jobseekers.
Together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, UNDP is working to establish the Labour Market Information System, a web based platform that will provide information on labour supply and demand, job vacancies and training opportunities to employers, job seekers and the Government.
In addition to the Kosovo Government, partners and donors for UNDP employment programmes included the Governments of Italy, Denmark and Norway, the European Agency for Reconstruction, the European Union, and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
*hereafter referred to in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).
UNDP's support to job creation in Kosovo is also featured in volume II of Development Stories from Europe and Central Asia.
The stories capture development work that demonstrates long term, transformational change. Foremost among these are: national ownership, capacity development, knowledge and innovation and partnerships.
- Turkmenistan: The modern village as a countrywide model of local governance
- Georgia: Mobile technology for safe communities
- In Turkey, an earthy alternative to chemical fertilizers
- Job prospects helping to keep families together in fYR Macedonia
- Kyrgyzstan: Setting ground rules for investment in hydropower
Get to know our experts