Creating perspectives for youth in Kosovo

Project description

Title: Youth, Employment and Skills in Kosovo (YES)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Devel-opment (BMZ)
Country: Kosovo
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

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Despite steady growth the economy of Kosovo is still fragile, relying on remittances and foreign development assistance. Kosovo’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is at one of the lowest levels in Europe and poverty remains high, especially among young people. Consequently, migration is prevalent, particularly among disadvantaged population groups. 

The level of youth unemployment is close to 60 per cent and at the same time, many vacancies in the private sector cannot be filled. Bridging the gap between the job seekers’ skills and the labour market demands remains a major challenge in Kosovo. The Youth, Employment and Skills Project supports reform initiatives by public and private sector stakeholders at both implementation and policy level.


The employability of young Kosovars aged between 15 and 35 years is improved, taking into account the specific needs of returned migrants, all ethnic groups and minorities.



The YES project enhances the employability of young people by improving the quality of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and strengthening matching mechanisms between labour market supply and demand. The project applies a bottom-up approach, primarily working with institutions at the local level such as vocational schools, public employment offices and youth centres. Furthermore, the pro-ject seeks to strengthen the systems and implementation capacities of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) and Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW) and their agen-cies in delivering quality services to young people.



In its first year of implementation, the YES project reached around 250,000 young people with em-ployment-relevant information campaigns and events such as job fairs. More than 1,600 young people benefited directly from a range of youth employability and promotion measures.

  • Together with the MLSW and the newly established Employment Agency of Kosovo, the pro-gramme implemented an internship programme in sectors with high employment potential: the textile, metal processing, wood processing and ICT sectors. 
  • Different entrepreneurship training and academies have been initiated and the best business ideas were kick-started with financial support. Innovative formats were tested such as a televised start-up battle or the ‘Green Entrepreneurship Academy’. 
  • The programme supported several job fairs in close cooperation with the municipalities, local businesses and business associations. On average, 40 companies and approximately 400 students and jobseekers attended job fairs. 
  • Inclusiveness is key to success: of the participants in the employability measures 40 per cent were female, over 25 per cent were returnees and 10 per cent were from ethnic minorities. The project supported vocational training and internships for people with Down’s syndrome.
  • Local stakeholder meetings are a new format that facilitate dialogue on youth employment, better information on respective mandates of the institutions and networking with each other. 
  • Supporting returning migrants, the programme introduced soft skills training and entrepreneurship training, and issued grants for innovative business ideas. For this purpose, the project supports the Ministry of Internal Affairs in its reintegration efforts. 
  • The project will collaborate with a range of technical and economic Vocational Education and Training (VET) schools in implementing school development plans, increasing workplace-based train-ing opportunities and strengthening the competencies of professional practice teachers in line with the new Core Curriculum for VET.
  • A pilot programme was initiated in the construction sector, in cooperation with the German Information Point on Migration, Vocational Training and Careers (DIMAK), the MLSW and the private sector to improve the pathways for vocational training and the recognition of Kosovar qualifications in Germany.