Building the Kosovo Workforce through Internships

Speeches Shim

Friday, December 11, 2020
Image of Hallakate portal

Kosovo’s largest demographic is youth under 35 years of age, and internships have become an integral part of preparing this group to join the workforce.  However, until recently, many businesses saw little value to their company for the time invested in internships as students lacked the necessary skills.  To change this mindset, USAID’s After School Support for Teens activity partnered with businesses across Kosovo to provide learning opportunities where students could gain the necessary skills for the 21st-century workforce.  Prominent Kosovo businesses, such as Kosovo’s leading digital media marketing company, have begun to take the lead in offering internships and training the workforce while recognizing the value to both the student and the company.

The owner of Kosovo’s first social media agency, Valon Canhasi, emphasizes the importance of internships in youth career development and building the workforce.  “I find internships particularly important as a process for developing a career path for young students.  I know that because I had to do my internship in my family business.  I believe it had an impact on me to be good at what I do today.  I especially enjoy working with the post-conflict generation because they bring a whole different point of view on a lot of things, and that also helps us entrepreneurs learn more about the new generation.” 

Interns in Valon’s company, Hallakate, gain experience managing digital content and social media while writing content.  Valon explains that tech startups in Kosovo offer the core ingredients of leadership needed for building the 21st-century workforce:   influence, inspiration, passion, motivation, and purpose.  “With all-new opportunities in the connected world, I believe that we can and should be the driving economic force in Kosovo.  We have all the ingredients to succeed; we are young and digital!”  In addition to offering internships in his company, Canhasi has helped to develop a professional social media community in Kosovo by training over 1,000 students who are ready to enter the workforce.

Through partnerships with Kosovo businesses, USAID’s After School Support for Teens activity offers internships to students looking to upgrade their skills through work experience.  To date, 563 students have completed an internship in companies or volunteered in student clubs through USAID’s program.