”Through this experience I gained new knowledge, and now I can supplement my theoretical knowledge with practice. I have great support from my mentor and other colleagues who are always available to help me in my work, and I am acquiring experience in performing several tasks.”
–Intern at Societe General Bank
In a country where unemployment regularly tops 36%, Macedonia’s youth are especially disadvantaged: More than half its citizens aged 18-24 do not have a job. The Macedonia Competitiveness Project’s National Internship and Job Program, known as “My Career,” targets this problem head-on, matching job-seekers with internships and positions to bridge the gap between demand and supply of skilled workers, particularly recent graduates and other youths.
The success of this Program is transforming the labor market in Macedonia, increasing acceptance of internships among companies and making it easier for them to recruit and hire the best available talent. Internships are also gaining popularity among youths as a way to break into the job market.
The main tool is the Internship and Job Portal, www.mycareer.com.mk, a free, web-based application which in its first year registered 4,795 students and 246 companies. By early January 2010, 520 students had completed internships found through the portal, and 100 were offered full-time jobs.
Next Sense, a software developer focusing on e-business solutions, has given internships to nine graduates so far through My Career and offered three of them full-time jobs.
“The fact that I was offered employment upon completion of the internship, for me was verification for the success of the internship and acknowledgement of my commitment,” said Iva Lozanovska, intern-turned-employee at Next Sense’s.
Societe General Bank, another My Career partner, also praises the Program: “We have had interns before, but it was limited to candidates that expressed interest and the number varied depending on the students that had visited our website, said Slavko Sazdovski, the bank’s human resources manager. “Now through My Career portal we are able to establish a direct link and secure a steady inflow of interns that resulted in over 80 internships.”