Helvetas works with the public and private sector to promote youth employment in Kosovo. Labor market information, career counseling, education and job placement help young people land jobs. A Helvetas-supported TV show that entertainingly informs the viewing public about the labor market and job applications has gained nationwide popularity.
55% of the Kosovar population are under 30. Kosovo’s abundance of youth is an asset and an opportunity for its future. But this fledgling republic is still far from making the most of it. The economy is growing very slowly. The job market is plagued by nepotism. And the situation hits young people hardest. Three out of five 15 to 24-year-olds are out of work, and every year another 36,000 young people enter the job market. So many of them migrate because they see no prospects for themselves in Kosovo. More than one fifth of Kosovo’s original population now live abroad.
Through our EYE (Enhancing Youth Employment) project, we have enabled nearly 12,000 young people to land a job so far. The focus in the first phase was on furnishing information about the employment market, career counseling and job placement. And on entertainingly presenting serious information about the labor market and job applications using the vehicle of a popular reality TV game show – with a job for first prize.
Past experience has shown that bigger companies tend to be particularly keen on integrating young people into the economic process. But these companies bemoan the fact that so few applicants possess the skills that are really in demand in the job market: although many young people nowadays have a high school and even college education, far too few have any occupational training, and there are not enough tradespeople and technicians. In order to adapt vocational training to market demands, Helvetas promotes ongoing exchange between entrepreneurs, education centers and the competent government agencies. The training should be provided not only by formal vocational schools, but also by informal training centers and companies that offer on-the-job training. As an organization with a great deal of experience in vocational training, Helvetas helps draw up learning modules and curricula for companies and vocational schools. 20,000 young people are going to receive training. At least 40% of them are women, 20% are young people with no prior training or employment, and 10% are members of ethnic minorities in Kosovo, such as Serbs or Roma. This project enables young people to contribute their capacities to their own country.
EYE is a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) mandate implemented by Helvetas in consortium with the local firm Management Development Associates (MDA).
Merfida Jerliu, educated in economics and employed in finance, Kosovo