A model for improving the competencies of unemployed youth in order to mitigate the negative consequences of migration, Ivanjica

Related Sustainable Development Goals and Global Compact for Migration Objectives

SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 8: Decent Work
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
gcm 2
gcm 6
GCM 15
GCM 16
GCM 19
Show all


Youth unemployment is a significant challenge in the small municipality of Ivanjica. It is causing depopulation and slowing development, because young people are moving from rural areas to bigger cities or are leaving the country entirely. Yet many young people would like to stay, but feel that their employment opportunities are simply too limited in their small hometowns. At the same time, young people are seeking higher education in skills that local employers in small towns do not have a need for, and local technical education opportunities are not aligned with the private sector's needs either. This mismatch between local educational opportunities and the skills that businesses need in future employees has been a challenge for some time. 

As part of the IOM-UNDP Global Programme on Making Migration Work for Sustainable Development, the project establishes and develops a sustainable “model for improving the competencies of unemployed youth” based on their personal skills and preferences and the needs of employers in the market. In collaboration with the Youth Office which is mandated to support livelihoods and youth employment in the municipality, the implementation of this model will further promote employability, employment and self-employment of youth through programmes and training, all in order to mitigate negative migration consequences. 

Watch the video about the project.

Key objective

The main objective of the proposed project is to contribute to improving the socio-economic well-being of the local community, including internal migrants, and particularly young unemployed people in the municipality of Ivanjica, by developing a model for improving the competencies of unemployed youth in accordance with their needs and the needs of employers. This project will further promote employability, employment and self-employment of young people, through the programmes and trainings it offers, all in order to mitigate negative migration consequences.

Projects like this one aim to provide opportunities to young people in their hometowns, so that migration is no longer their only path forward but is instead a choice. By addressing SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 8 (decent work), the hope is that more people will remain in Ivanjica and continue to see its economy and social bonds thrive. The project better links local educational opportunities and skills development to the needs of local employers, aligning the supply and demand sides of the local labour market and boosting the local economy more broadly.

Main activities

  • Conducting an analysis of the needs of unemployed youth in the municipality, existing labour market needs and the needs of young people for self-employment (see below, Key successes);
  • Organizing training to improve young people's skills to search for and obtain a job, gain specific competencies that local businesses are looking for and to support self-employment, incl. sharing experiences between young entrepreneurs;
  • Conducting training for the officials of the Local Youth Office to support long-term, sustainable, government-led local projects that provide counseling, guidance and awareness-raising support to  unemployed youth;
  • Based on the results of the implementation of the above, developing a model for improving the competencies of unemployed youth (incl. a guidance manual and action plan).

Key successes or innovative factors, good practices and lessons learned (if available)

  • The project has produced 2 analyses (skills and self-employment) to assess the needs of both unemployed youth and the labour market to tailor the training and job placement activities to current labour market needs. The analyses compiled the profiles and skills of youth and identified skills in demand (IT sector, management, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technologies and machine operation, 3D modelling, printing, graphic design, web programming). These analyses ensure that the project provides youth with skill training needed by employers and/or that they are able to establish their own small businesses in the community after the training.
    • Analysis of the needs of young people and the labour market identifying skills in demand in the wood-cutting and agricultural sectorsThis analysis was developed based on a survey in which 28 employers, 238 high-school students, and 118 final-year primary-school students participated. Major findings show that employers in the wood processing industry (e.g. local furniture-making companies) need CNC operators, locksmiths, mechanics, electronics, warehousemen, fitters, and carpenters. In the metal industry, there is a need for CNC operators, welders, etc. In agriculture, there is a need for technicians, technologists, etc. To address the challenge caused by emigration from Ivanjica to larger cities, the analysis recommends introducing ''dual education'' in high schools and establishing a training center for CNC machine operation.
    • Analysis of the needs of young people for self-employment - defining priority areas for starting your own businessThe analysis is based on a survey of 144 young persons in Ivanjica. The findings show that youth demonstrate an interest in starting their own businesses in a wide range of areas, including the IT sector, management, CNC technologies design and CNC machine operation, 3D modelling and printing, graphic design, and web programming.
  • By linking up with local businesses and academic institutions, the Local Youth Office, IOM and UNDP are ensuring sustainable activities that provide direct training to employment pathways. Young people who participate in the project have a significant chance of being hired by a local employer, and the Local Youth Office facilitates placement because of direct partnerships and relationships with local businesses.
  • The mix of both practical and theoretical training, tailored to the real experiences and skills that a job will require, were cited as a positive success factor for the success of the training, as it ensured that graduates had real-world experience fit for their future employment.
  • Training is fully funded and students receive a stipend while training. This makes youth participation feasible in the current challenging economic and unemployment environment.

See the latest blog about Ivanjica's good approach.

See the case study on youth, employment and education in English and Serbian, with programming tips and stories. 

See the case study on co-creating and empowering youth, Roma and migrants to develop solutions and policies jointly with governments in English and Serbian, with programming tips and stories.


The target group is internal migrants (young men and women, 15-30 years old) from the territory of the Municipality of Ivanjica including members of vulnerable groups (young Roma men and women, young people with disabilities, socially vulnerable young people as well as young people from the rural area of the municipality).

In total, 299 young people (176 women + 123 men) benefited from the programme. They improved their vocational skills, such as computer literacy, English language, business management, 3D modeling and printing, including training in CNC operations:   

  • 30 young people got a job – 10 were hired after completing the training on CNC machines and 21 were offered a job after completing the work practice
  • 10 youth were trained to become CNC operators. The training was by MATIS, a local furniture-making company. After getting the certificate from a local academy, all students were employed by MATIS.
  • 40 young people started internship/work practice with 9 local businesses engaged in the project
  • 90 youth attended English courses at various levels
  • 80 youth were trained on how to start their own business, including online businesses
  • 40 youth were trained on legal aid for young entrepreneurs and the promotion of entrepreneurial ideas on the Internet
  • 20 youth were trained on 3D modeling and printing in cooperation with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering in Kraljevo
  • 20 youth beneficiaries were provided with career counseling
  • A three-day training on professional practices, including computer literacy was organized for youth
  • All activities were promoted through distributing Info Bulletins, organizing Info Day and social networks.

See the draft Serbia results fiche in English and Serbian for more information (to be finalized at the end of the Programme in 2023).

More Projects