Win-Win for Kosovo and Germany

Michael Sauer is a consultant at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare in Kosovo, a country he has been committed to since 2001. He is fascinated by the dynamics of Europe’s youngest society whose population is only 25 on average.

This link opens a YouTube video. Please observe the applicable data protection provisions provided there. Please use ‘settings’ to turn on English subtitles.


One of the responsibilities of political scientist Michael Sauer, PhD is to set up a vocational training scheme for young Kosovans in the German construction industry. Following their apprenticeship, they can return and share their newly gained knowledge with building companies back home.

Michael Sauer in an in-depth discussion with the Kosovan labor secretary.

The ongoing dialog with decision-makers is vital to Michael Sauer’s job as a migration consultant focusing on labor policy.

An interview with Michael Sauer:

Why are you so committed to Kosovo?

The Republic of Kosovo has fascinated me for a long time. I visited for the first time in 2001 to 2003 when I helped build the youth organization of the national Red Cross. At an average age of only 25 years, Kosovo is the youngest country in Europe. You meet young people working everywhere, also in leadership positions. This makes this society particularly vibrant and dynamic.

How would you describe your work?

This young population presents both an opportunity and a challenge. Youth unemployment stands at 60 percent, and a lot of young talent has left the country. As I see it, you will have to create legal ways for people to migrate in order to eliminate illegal migration. As a CIM-placed Integrated Expert, I advise the labor secretary on these kinds of questions. I believe that migration actually is an opportunity for this country. People who currently see no prospects for themselves at home can go to Germany to train or work and build a future. Later, they can return to Kosovo and share their experiences and expertise, this way helping the country to develop further.

Besonders im Handwerk ist eine praxisorientierte Ausbildung wichtig.

Especially in the trades, practical on-the-job training is key.

Can you give a specific example?

Smaller German businesses currently have quite a problem to fill their apprenticeship positions. Kosovo, on the other hand, has lots of young people who would love to go to Germany for vocational training. Some return home after completing their training and they can be instrumental in shaping their country’s advancement. We recently developed an apprenticeship partner program together with the Bavarian Association of the Construction Guilds whose members will take on apprentices from Kosovo. In turn, the guilds will help improve the vocational training system in Kosovo, for instance by training teachers or offering internships to Kosovan trainees.

How do these efforts improve training in Kosovo directly?

Vocational training in Kosovo is not practice-oriented. Partnerships between schools and companies as we know it from the German dual education system do not exist. In Kosovo, young people learn how to do electric installations from textbooks instead of directly at the switchbox. Many enter these training programs only to go on to university, and too few actually take up work at companies after their training. This is also due to the lack of career counseling. We would like to prove that establishing a comprehensive professional training program that involves a high degree of practical experience benefits all parties – the young people, the companies and the entire industry.

Meeting with applicants for one of the highly popular apprenticeship placements in Kosovo.

More time spent at the workbench and less over textbooks is the key to vocational training.

On behalf of

The Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) is jointly run by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Placement Services (ZAV) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA). Together, they have been providing development and labour market policy expertise for over 35 years. CIM places experts from the EU and those who have settled in Germany in developing countries and emerging economies. It offers a network for those who have migrated to Germany and who wish to support development in their country of origin, and it advises individuals and decision-makers on migration issues. Our main commissioning party is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


Find information or assistance for your ideas.