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Young talents at the ILO -  The Junior Professional Officer Programme at a glance

For 35 years, the Junior Professional Officer Programme (or JPO Programme, formerly known as the Associate Expert Programme) has been an important and flexible tool of the ILO to attract and retain young talented professionals. The programme reflects the interest and priorities of different donor countries that fund young professionals for a duration of 2-3 years in different areas and locations.

For the ILO, the programme is particularly valuable because it can cope with the changing needs in terms of staff and priorities, as it offers on-the-job training opportunities to young professionals and enhances the source of potential future talents for the Organisation.

Once a donor has approved the final choice of a candidate, the young professional receives through the programme, and as a first or second working experience, a unique opportunity to discover the UN system.

Currently there are 30-40 JPOs assigned worldwide (to ILO field offices, decent work teams and/or TC projects) and at Headquarters (with interregional projects, research activities and/or programming work).

Objectives of the programme

The basic principles of the Junior Professional Officer Programme have been set forth in Resolution 849 (XXXII) issued by ECOSOC in August 1961. The objectives of the Programme are to:

• give young professionals a hands-on experience of ILO development projects;

• promote ILO's multi-bilateral technical cooperation;

• enhance ILO's technical assistance to developing countries;

• train selected university graduates from developing countries in line with donor government funding commitments; and

• prepare a body of future experts for UN and bilateral aid programmes


About our Junior Professional Officers

A JPO usually has a Master’s degree in combination with some years of working experience. Most are recruited at P1/P2 level and the specifics of the desired profiles are defined by the donor.

About the donors

The ILO Junior Professional Officer Programme has been in operation for over 35 years. During that time the scheme has grown steadily and JPOs are now provided by donor countries namely: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Republic of Korea, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. New donors are also interested in sponsoring JPOs.

The procedures of recruitment

The ILO submits a vacancy list to donor countries quarterly. The governments select the posts which are of interest to them in accordance with their policies and priorities. The posts are mostly advertised through the websites of the national Ministries of Foreign Affairs. On specific occasions, positions might also be posted on the ILO website. A preliminary selection of candidates is usually carried-out by national recruitment services, an interview/selection stage is then organized including the relevant ILO Technical Department or region; and a final decision is taken by the donor country in close consultation with the ILO.

Further information

The ILO Junior Professional Officer Programme is managed by the Resourcing Unit (HR/TALENT-RES) in the Talent Branch of the Human Resources Development Department

For further information, please contact:

FAQs on the JPO Programme

Last update: 04.12.2013