Internship programme of German business for Ukraine

Project description

Title: Internship programme of German business for Ukraine
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ukraine
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine
Overall term: 2014 to 2018


Growing unemployment among young adults is one of the core challenges facing Ukraine. According to the country’s State Statistics Committee, over 22 per cent of the working population between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed, compared with the overall employment rate of 9 per cent.

The Ukrainian Government is developing measures to promote employment among young people. An employment law adopted in 2013 aims to enhance the competitiveness of young people in the labour market and to encourage employers to create jobs for them. The state employment agency has also taken on the new task of promoting internships in industry for graduates of universities and vocational training institutes. Yet despite numerous legislative initiatives and the adoption of various laws and regulations on youth unemployment, attempts to address the situation through policy have remained largely ineffective.


The employability of university graduates in Ukraine is improved.


The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations has been contracted to implement the programme, the primary aim of which is to impart practical knowledge and skills through internships lasting three to five months at German companies.

During the course of the internships, interns gain initial practical and intercultural experience along with knowledge about organisational structures, modern management systems and project work. This significantly increases their chances of finding a job commensurate with their qualifications in their home country.
The internships take place at German companies operating in sectors that play a key role in Ukraine’s economic development, including agriculture, mechanical and plant engineering, heavy industries, IT, and the energy and mining sectors. The programme is advertised at universities in Ukraine. Selection processes consisting of several stages, including interviews, are conducted in Lviv in western Ukraine, Kyiv in central Ukraine, and Dnipro, Odessa and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. Care is taken to ensure that there are an equal number of female and male interns. Successful candidates are prepared for their internship through the provision of organisational support, German language courses and induction events.

Upon completing their internships, programme participants also receive support in seeking adequately paid jobs commensurate with their qualifications. The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations is working with its cooperation partners to develop a series of activities designed to help programme alumni with job placement at local companies. In addition, the programme organises events after the completion of the internships to promote networking among programme alumni and companies. These activities increase the participants’ chances of finding a job in Ukraine that corresponds to their qualifications once they have completed the programme.

An active alumni network also enables former participants to remain in touch with one another, promoting the establishment of long-term professional and private contacts and fostering contact among the regions in Ukraine.

The internships enhance the qualifications of programme participants by providing them with practical, international experience. This significantly increases their employability. In close cooperation with Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations is setting up an alumni network and is examining how to integrate it into an existing alumni network organised by the manager training programme financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Further contact and exchange among former interns is also promoted through alumni events such as seminars and workshops, with representatives from the business community, politics and civil society incorporated into the discussions. Programme alumni act as multipliers by demonstrating the importance of internships for students; they also serve as role models for cooperation in a spirit of friendship between citizens of different regions in Ukraine.


After receiving around 650 applications, the programme selected 48 students, of which 29 are women, from ten regions in Ukraine to complete a three- to five-month internship at one of nearly 40 companies in Germany. The practical experience that the young interns gain at German companies improves their career opportunities. An alumni network is supporting the participants in their search for suitable jobs and serves as an example of amicable cooperation between citizens from various regions in Ukraine.