Youth, Employment, and Skills (YES)

  • Country of destination: Germany
  • Country of origin: Kosovo
  • Sectors: Construction, Engineering, and Manufacturing
  • Skill level: Low to Mid-level
  • Timeline: 2017 - 2019
  • Number of beneficiaries: 3,000 by the end of 2018


Germany funded the training of construction workers in Kosovo under a dual-track model in which some trainees migrated to Germany after graduating (the “away” track) and others remained in Kosovo (the “home” track).

Why was it started?

Kosovo has some of the highest poverty rates in Europe, especially among young people, many of whom are unemployed. At the same time, many vacancies in Kosovo’s private sector cannot be filled, because of the mismatch between firms’ needs and workers’ skills. This project—which was part of a broader package of economic reforms implemented in 2018–20 (the Economic Reform Program and the Action Plan for Increasing Youth Employment)—aimed to bridge the gap between job-seekers’ skills and labor market demands.

How does it work?

Under the project, GIZ (the main designer) provided “origin training,” a new approach to tackle labor shortages in which training is provided in the country of origin. Most of the training took place in Kosovo. It included three-month apprenticeship visits in Germany for “away” track participants.

The project was 60 percent funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and partly funded by the Ministry of Economy in Bavaria. There was also significant investment by private sector employers.

What impact has it had?

No formal evaluation of the program has been conducted. By providing the bulk of training in Kosovo and training both migrants and non-migrants, this approach significantly increased the development benefit to Kosovo. The dual-track model also dramatically reduced the costs to employers, as training at origin was less expensive than training in Germany.