Project Factsheet
Tools for » BiH Youth Employability and Retention Programme
Project ID:00067211Description:MDGF-1931-H-BIH Youth Employab
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 31 Dec 2008
MDGF Youth Employ & Migrant
End Date*: 30 Jun 2013
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The Youth Employability and Retention Programme (YERP) aimed to address the high youth unemployment and irregular migration by working closely with Government, the private sector and civil society to improve the employability youth, while providing new entry points to the labor market.

As a result of the JP, the capacities within the education system were strengthened for the purpose of improving youth employability. At the policy level all responsible education authorities approved the integration of competence-based approaches in formal education, and policy guidelines for inclusive secondary education were developed and advocated to all relevant stakeholders. At the local level, training opportunities were also introduced and municipality level databases were set up to monitor out-of school children. 

In the employment field, 17 CISO (Centres for Information Counselling and Training) were established and sustainability strategies provided. Capacity of CISO staff was supported through a number of trainings. As a result the CISOs were able to provide assistance to more than 20,000 unemployed youth and over 21,000 school pupils. An additional 400 young unemployed were provided with their first working experience through an intern employment scheme developed with co-financing from PES (Public Employment Services) and different employers. Based on the services provided by CISO nearly 3,000 young people were employed and 637 persons gained working experience through volunteering. The concept of volunteerism remains an integral part of the day-to-day activities of the CISO centres.

Through a series of working group meetings, the capacities of the state institutions to monitor migration have been strengthened and harmonised with official statistics practices in the EU and other international standards. Results include the development of key documents on migration, mainly 1) Methodology of Migration Statistics in BiH in line with EUROSTAT regulation 862/2007; 2) Strategy with action plan for Migration Monitoring in BiH; 3) Architecture of the IT System of Exchange and dissemination of data for migration, for the state level implementation.

The JP sought to decrease irregular migration through a multi-pronged information campaign which was able to reach more than 14,000 young people either through face-to-face discussions, presentations or various media including radio and social media. Training to CISO staff on regular migration, trafficking, human smuggling, European labour markets, Bosnia’s visa-free regime, etc ensured crucial information will be available to youth who may be considering migration through the now sustainable CISOs.


Outcome 1:

Increased capacities of the education system and local communities to improve youth employability.


Outcome Achievements:

  • Ten key competencies for life-long learning have been defined in the specific context of BiH education and adopted by the Agency for Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary Education. Extensive mapping of key competencies was carried out. The JP provided evidence-based recommendations for integrating competence-based approaches within formal education.
  • Modules for integrating competence-based approaches in primary and secondary education were developed and evaluated. Integration of competence-based, and life skills-based approaches in formal education were approved by the 12 Ministries of Education.
  • Non-formal training programs were set up to build life skills and key competences for more than 3,000 students and teachers from primary and secondary schools, and other youth in rural areas.  The focus of non-formal education packages was on increasing entrepreneurial spirit and skills through real world experience, problem-based learning and enterprise/ community links.
  • School drop out monitoring systems (i.e. databases on out-of-school children and youth) was set up in 12 municipalities, encompassing more than 400 local communities, as a first step in the development of evidence-based school enrolment, retention and reintegration programs.
  • In-depth analysis of education policies and practices, labour market opportunities and community resources related to children with special needs was undertaken in 67 secondary schools; the research findings were used to tailor operative policy guidelines for increasing secondary school enrolment and retention of children with special needs.
  • Forums were organised as discussion and exchange platforms between diverse stakeholder groups to the aim of drafting operative recommendations pertaining to problems of youth in different spheres of life (education, employment, participation, mobility and migration, etc.).


Outcome 2:

Enhanced capacities of the Public Employment Services and Civil Society to develop and deliver an integrated package of youth employability measures.


Outcome Achievements:

  • The project team in cooperation with PES identified PES employees to work in CISO and new employees (CISO career advisors engaged through UNV contracts) were engaged. Extensive trainings were provided to a total of 59 CISO staff.
  • IT trainings and English language courses for CISO beneficiaries were completed and total of 898 young unemployed beneficiaries have passed IT courses with European Computer Drivers License certificate,  and 763 beneficiaries attended English language course. Two entity Task Forces developed Youth Employment Situation Analysis.
  • Additional training was provided on skills necessary to access the labour market population such as: How to write CV and motivation letter, how to prepare themselves for an interview, how to present themselves in the best way to employers and how to prove they should get that specific job.


Outcome 3:

Positive impact of youth migration maximised whilst impact of irregular migrations minimised.


Outcome Achievements:

  • Consensus documents in key migration documents, mainly 1) Methodology of Migration Statistics in BiH in line with EUROSTAT regulative 862/2007; 2) Strategy with action plan for Migration Monitoring in BiH; 3) Architecture of the IT System of Exchange and dissemination of data for migration, for the state level implementation. All three documents produced will serve as a basis for procurement and establishment of the necessary system of exchange and dissemination of data for migration in BiH.
  • Provided CISO staff basic and advanced training in regular and irregular migration so that young people who visit the CISOs in search of career guidance can also be made aware of legal and safe work/study opportunities abroad. In addition, CISOs were provided with a handbook on migration for use when counselling their young clients.
  • Thirty-five CISO staff completed basic training in International Migration Law and migration legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina; counter trafficking and human smuggling; temporary and circular labour migration; and the visa free regime.
  • Key interlocutors in the initiation, negotiation and implementation of circular migration schemes participated in visit to Ukraine to study that country’s experience with circular migration to Portugal.
  • Seventeen BiH youth were provided with organized and legal opportunities for employment in a selected country of destination through two temporary labour migration schemes.
  • 14 nurses were able to access temporary work in German and also received on the job training and an opportunity to pass additional exams, which qualified them  to work in the future as nurses throughout Europe.
  • YERP provided support to returning youth received one-to-one coaching sessions to help them reintegrate more easily into the local labour market and/or to start their own businesses.
  • Online survey conducted amongst diaspora youth in 2011 was used to create a practical written “guide to return” for those young people who want to come back to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This guide was distributed to all CISO centers and at project close was handed over to the Diaspora Sector of the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees for on-going updating and is available through their website.


Best Practices:

  • A good practice identified was in involving young people and young people’s creativity in conveying important information to their peers related to migration. When the targets of public information campaigns are youth, the messages carry further when social media are employed and when the messages are presented by their peers.  For example, the YERP organized an online competition “Travel Safely and Without Risk”.


Lessons Learned:

  • One of the lessons learned of the project is that joint approach in the implementation of the project through creation of mutual trust and understanding between partners leads to successful implementation of expected project results.
  • The JP approach created mutual trust and understanding between programme staff and key stakeholders which led to increased ownership.
  • Management and steering structures need to be more clearly defined. Programme advocacy structures that are to affect high level advocacy with the top governmental official in support of the technical work at the programme level, need to be defined at the outset. These structures need to help integrate all the programme’s results into public systems, across all the sectors, and should consist of high level UN agencies managers.
  • Responsibilities of joint programme manager as well as the managers of each thematic (usually agency specific) components need to be better defined, and linked to the delivery of programme results. Reporting lines within the programme should be better defined.
  • Staff salary scales across the UN agencies for comparable levels of responsibility should to be harmonized. Implementation modalities of the UN agencies also need to be harmonized.
  • A lesson learned in the field of youth migration is that temporary labour migration for young people, if it is to be implemented with the benefit, dignity and security of the young person, requires significant financial support and not rely on national funding which may be difficult to secure.   


More details can be found in the documents below.

Recent Documents
Key Figures
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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Bosnia and Herzegovina or the lead agency for the programme.

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