Creating perspectives for youth in Kosovo

Project description

Title: Youth, Employment and Skills in Kosovo 
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (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 and relies 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, especially among young people, remains high. Consequently, migration is prevalent, particularly among disadvantaged population groups. 

The level of youth unemployment is above 50 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. To address these deficiencies, the Government of Kosovo has drawn up the Economic Reform Program and the Action Plan for Increasing Youth Employment (2018-2020) as key strategic planning documents. The Youth, Employment and Skills Project supports these reform initiatives by public and private sector stakeholders at both the implementation and policy levels.


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 Youth, Employment and Skills in Kosovo project enhances the employability of young people by improving the quality of Vocational Education and Training and also 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 project 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 agencies in delivering quality services to young people.



By the end of 2018, about 3,000 young people in Kosovo had benefited directly from a broad range of human capacity development and active labour market measures. 

  • Inclusiveness is a major key to success: of the participants in the employability measures, 40 per cent were women, over 25 per cent returnees, and 10 per cent from ethnic minorities. In addition, vocational training and internships for people with disabilities were piloted. 
  • Together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Employment Agency of the Republic Kosovo, the project offered internship schemes for over 2,000 young job seekers in Kosovo. Furthermore, over 600 start-up business ideas were kick-started with financial support. 
  • A systematic Employment and Labour Market Analysis and evaluation of Active Labour Market Measures have been conducted to better address mismatches in the labour market and to increase the effectiveness of labour market measures in Kosovo.
  • In cooperation with Municipalities, the Employment Agency of the Republic of Kosovo, and other local stakeholders job fairs were organised throughout Kosovo with more than 500 enterprises participating. The job fairs provided the chance for thousands of young jobseekers to find employment opportunities. 
  • Local stakeholder meetings have been set in a new format that facilitates dialogue on youth employment, better information on respective mandates of the institutions and networking with each other. 
  • To improve the quality of vocational education, 10 technical and economic schools are being supported in implementing school development plans, increasing workplace-based training opportunities and strengthening the competencies of professional practice teachers in line with the new Core Curriculum for Vocational Education and Training. As part of the assistance, a full assessment of the Vocational Education and Training Schools in Kosovo has been undertaken. 
  • To better meet the requirements of the private sector for skilled labour non-formal training in IT, graphic design, photography, gastronomy, tailoring, handicrafts, metal construction, and soft skills were implemented. 
  • A pilot programme in metal processing was initiated and will we upscaled at Vocational Training Centers incorporating the course as part of their main curriculum.
  • In the construction sector, a pilot programme was initiated in cooperation with the German Information Centre for Migration, Training and Career (DIMAK), the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the private sector to improve the pathways for vocational training and the recognition of Kosovar qualifications in Germany.
  • Across all activities, returning migrants were specifically addressed to support their economic and social (re-)integration. The project introduced soft skills training, entrepreneurship training, and issued grants for innovative business ideas. For this particular purpose, the project supported the Ministry of Internal Affairs in its reintegration efforts.

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