Internship programme: internships in Germany promote job prospects in the Western Balkans

Project description

Titel: Internship Programme of German Business for the Countries of the Western Balkans
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2020 to 2023

Albania and Serbia: Participants in the German business internship programme for countries of the Western Balkans © GIZ

Context

The countries of the Western Balkans are affected by high levels of youth unemployment. At the same time, companies in the region complain of a shortage of skilled workers. The lack of practical relevance in university education means that university graduates often lack the experience and qualifications that companies require for them to get off to a successful start in their career.

The internship programme was established in 2003 – in memory of Zoran Djindjic, Serbia’s first democratically elected Prime Minister. The aims of the programme were, and still are, to do justice to the legacy of the murdered Serbian leader and to give young people from the Western Balkans a better understanding of European values. At the same time, it strives to improve their employment prospects and make a contribution to dialogue and reconciliation in the region.

Objective

Graduates from the countries of the Western Balkans have better prospects on the labour market.

Albania and Serbia: Participants in the German business internship programme for countries of the Western Balkans © GIZ

Approach

Each year, the internship programme awards up to 75 scholarships for a six-month internship in Germany to students or young graduates from the Western Balkans. The internships provide scholarship holders with an insight into the corporate culture in Germany while enabling them to acquire practical professional experience and international skills. This gives them better opportunities on the labour market after they return home. Companies in their home countries also benefit from the expertise and experience that they have gained, which ultimately promotes economic development there.

To supplement this, the project has initiated an alumni network for former scholarship holders. Numerous activities and events, which the alumni organise themselves, take place in the network each year. In this way, the programme supports a network of cosmopolitan young professionals, while promoting cross-border dialogue and reconciliation in the region.

The internship programme is run by the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations; the Zoran Djindjic Foundation is the programme’s implementation partner.

Last updated: May 2022