Youth Employability and Retention Programme

What is the project about?

Employment centres across the country offer job and skills training and help young people find jobs
Employment centres across the country offer job and skills training and help young people find jobs

Youth unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is estimated at an alarming 60%.   The youth unemployment rate has remained close to its 2009 crisis peak with few perspectives for improvement in the near future if the job creation process is not accelerated. BiH also suffers from  significant brain drain – especially amongst young people.

Public employment institutions need to take proactive measures to attract economically inactive unemployed youth, to build their job search skills, and to teach them how to present themselves to employers, write resumes, bolster computer skills and find work placements or internships.

The Youth Employability and Retention Programme (YERP) is a UN Joint Programme designed to address the problems of high youth unemployment and irregular youth migration in BiH. It is financed by the Government of Spain through the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) with a contribution of USD 5.999 million, and is supported by UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNV and IOM.

What we do?

In partnership with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Entity ministries in charge of labour, public employment institutions, and civil society organisations (CSOs), UNDP has helped public employment services and local communities to deliver an integrated package of measures for youth employability. The programme activities include:

  • Establishment of Centres for Information, Counselling and Training (CISOs) throughout BiH, in co-operation with key partners;
  • Provision of standardised, quality services to unemployed youth through CISOs, which boosts their economic activity and employability skills; services offered include: updated labour market information, individual and group counselling, job search skills workshops, IT and language courses;
  • Development of  policy documents in the field of youth work experience and youth employability, in co-operation with representatives of relevant institutions, CSOs and the private sector.

What have we accomplished so far?

  • 17 CISOs established throughout BiH;
  • Over 21,000 unemployed youth benefitted from CISO services;
  • More than 1,200 job-search skills workshops organised for more than 17,000 CISO beneficiaries;
  • IT and English language courses organised for more than 1,600 CISO beneficiaries;
  • Career orientation/counselling provided for over 28,000 pupils;
  • More than 38 million hits on 17 CISO Facebook pages;
  • Over 4,000 CISO beneficiaries found jobs or started volunteering after receiving assistance from CISO services;
  • The first policy document in the field of youth work experience and youth employability – Situation Analysis of Youth Working Experience – was developed through the establishment of two multidisciplinary Entity Working Groups.

Prikaži MDG-F Youth Employability and Retention (YERP) na većoj karti

Continued action

To  enable greater youth employment and reduce brain drain, these and similar activities will need to be scaled up and mutiplied. Providing young people with skills and experiences that are relevant to labour market needs is critically important.

Who finances it?

Donor Name

Amount contributed per year



MDG Fund

$    740,011.97



MDG Fund

$ 1,323,189.37


$      86,340.40

BiH Municipalities

$      14,566.64



MDG Fund



$   136,309.17

BiH Municipalities

$   113,646.80



MDG Fund

$  148,620.02


$    22,591.99

BiH Municipalities

$      7,289.82

Delivery in previous fiscal year

DEC 2012

$ 1,364,342

DEC 2011

$ 1,424,096

DEC 2010

$    740,011

Project Overview
Project start date:
Estimated end date:
Geographic coverage:
Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar, Tuzla, Zenica, Goražde, Livno, Istočno Sarajevo, Bihać, Prijedor, Doboj, Brčko, Vitez, Odžak
Focus Area:
Social Inclusion and Democratic Governance
Programme Manager
Nesad Šeremet
UNFPA, UNICEF, UNV and IOM, BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs, BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, Entity Ministries responsible for labor and education, the BiH Agency for Statistics, Entity Agencies for Statistics, Public Employment Service offices across the country.
Story about Sanja and Bojana


Related Publications
Voice of Youth

The Voices of Youth Survey was carried out within the UN Youth Employability and Retention Programme (YERP) which is supported through the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-Fund) and funded by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain.

Non-Enrolment and School Dropout Study

Dropout study was done as part of the educational activities of YERP, a study based on a survey of children and youths who either did not enrol in or dropped out of primary and or secondary school was conducted.