Opportunities at home

The Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) provides advice on local career opportunities in Kosovo, Serbia and Albania.

‘What we are doing, in essence, is career counselling,’ says Alexander Seidl, describing his work as Regional Coordinator of the German Information Points for Migration, Vocational Training and Careers Advice (DIMAK), which are operated by the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) – a joint initiative by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Federal Employment Agency – in the Western Balkans. As he explains, many people in this region lack information about local career opportunities, so they have plenty of questions. ‘What kind of training programmes and jobs are available? Where can I access support? And how do I find out about vacancies in my industry?’ DIMAK has the answers.

The first DIMAK information point was set up in Kosovo on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in April 2015. Within 12 months, it had provided advice to 10,000 people. Its main purpose is to act as a reliable source of information and one-to-one career counselling, but it also organises job fairs, giving jobseekers the chance to make contact with potential employers and find out about career opportunities. The employers who attended the job fair in May 2016, for example, had 1,200 vacancies on their books. The day proved to be a great success – especially for the 400 jobseekers who signed an employment contract on the spot. What’s more, Kosovo’s rural areas now have a dedicated mobile career counselling service, which puts up information stands in market squares and youth centres in remote villages and also visits universities and vocational colleges. During the recruitment process, CIM provides mentoring to increase applicants’ prospects of success.

Other DIMAK centres opened in Albania and finally in Serbia towards the end of this year. In these countries, DIMAK advisors are based at the local employment offices in the capitals Tirana and Belgrade. Advising returnees is an important part of their work: this year, almost 14,000 Albanians returned home from Germany alone. The new centres offer clients information and guidance tailored to their specific needs and answer questions about training and employment. And it’s all free of charge. ‘Since we opened in early October, we have attracted around 50 visitors a day,’ says Alexander Seidl. ‘People aren’t accustomed to advisors spending so much time with them and offering solutions that meet their individual needs. Our clients really appreciate it.’ CIM is now engaged in human capacity building for the local employment offices with the aim of improving their advisory services. In Serbia, for example, staff now have access to in-service training.

For Kosovo, where youth unemployment is running at almost 60% and the birth rate is the highest in Europe, providing work for its young people is a major challenge – so DIMAK also offers advice about opportunities to migrate to Germany. ‘As professionals, not as refugees,’ Alexander Seidl explains. DIMAK provides people interested in training, studying or working in Germany with full information about the conditions that must be met. ‘All our advisory services can be accessed online as well,’ he says. ‘That’s the best way to reach young people. We receive an enquiry on social media every five minutes or so.’

Alexander Seidl is available for telephone interviews on 13 December 2016 (afternoon). Please contact GIZ’s Press Office for more information.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. We support the German Government in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. We are also engaged in international education activities around the globe. Through our work we assist people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions.