UN agencies tackle 58% youth unemployment rate in BiH

12 August 2011 - On the occasion of the International Youth Day marked annually on 12 August, youth organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina urge all levels of authorities and citizens to focus on resolving one of the most critical problems young people in the country face today – unemployment. According to the latest available research, the youth employment rate in BiH has reached an astounding 58%, which is four time higher than European average.

As the education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not fully adjusted to meet market needs, one of the key problems young people face when seeking to secure employment is lack of practical experiences and skills. Unable to find jobs, youth often feel discouraged, apathetic and socially excluded.

Aiming to respond to high youth unemployment and prevent a drain of valuable resources from the country, the UN agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina partnered with local authorities in launching three-year long MDG-F Youth Employability and Retention Programme (YERP). The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme has joined them as its mandate is to both promote volunteering and advance the contribution of youth towards positive social, economic and community change. 

One of the YERP components is the opening of 16 Centers for Information, Counselling and Training throughout the country, which offer a unique type of service for youth aged 18-30. Instead of acting merely as mediators in a job seeking process, the CISO centres work together with young people with a goal of empowering them to successfully navigate the current economic trends of frequent job changes, additional trainings and even career switches.

Together with staff of Government employment bureaus, about nineteen UN Volunteers work as Career Counselors/Advisors offering young people information about market and education opportunities, organize skill workshops and provide individual counseling. Even though CISO centers have been just recently opened – or are in a process of being opened – they have already helped dozens of young people to find jobs or volunteering and internship opportunities. 

Recent events around the world clearly demonstrate that young people want a better future, and that they are willing to play their part in change. Each of us can surely focus our efforts on providing all young people with the skills and opportunities necessary to play an active role in shaping their communities,” stated UNV Programme Officer for BiH, Elizabeth Siebenmann, on the occasion of the International Youth Day.

To learn more about YERP project, click here.