ILO in Central and Eastern Europe

  • Vitalie Groza, sports club owner, Balti, Republic of Moldova

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    Even though 2021 was a difficult year, with labour markets not yet recovered from the impact the COVID-19 pandemic, Vitalie managed to launch his own business and change his status from unemployed to employer. Thanks to a grant for launching a business, provided by the National Employment Agency with the support of the ILO, he opened a gym in a populated zone of Balti, the second largest city of Moldova. “In addition to the financial help, I also received training and mentoring, which helped me to develop my business and create four new jobs. And I couldn’t stop there. Recently, we opened a shop on the premises of the sports club where we produce personalized sports wear for our customers.”

  • Natalia Samoilenko, Director of a methodological center for vocational schools, Sumy, Ukraine

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    Natalia is passionate about training and has always been an early adopter of new methodologies. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced vocational schools in Ukraine to close down, she saw the crisis as a chance to modernize vocational training and to accelerate the development of online learning solutions for students. When hearing of the ILO course 'Modular Content Creation and Digital TVET', Natalia didn't hesitate to take part. The course helped Natalia and her team to develop e-learning modules, training videos, and virtual simulators for four occupations (car mechanics, electrician, cooks, and tailors). The material is now being tested with 800 students in 4 schools in Sumy region, in the North East of Ukraine. At the final stage it will be used for all 67,000 vocational students in these four occupations across the country. “The project is especially important during the pandemic”, Natalia says, “because it makes learning accessible to all.”

  • Ardit Kuka, judge, civil court, Dibër, Albania

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    As there are no labour courts in Albania, Ardit also works on labour disputes. A recent ILO training jointly organized with the Albanian School of Magistrates and funded by SIDA helped him on how to use international labour standards when dispensing justice at the civil court of Diber, North-West Albania.  “In 2021, labour disputes constituted of 20% of the civil cases I examined. I could immediately apply my new knowledge when dealing with a case of dismissal. For the resolution of the case and interpretation of the Labour Code, I referred to ILO Conventions on Termination of Employment, according to which the employer must give opportunities to the worker to improve performance before terminating the contract”.

  • Alma Subasic, business owner, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    Alma is the proud owner of “Šapa Lab Furniture”, a new company specialized in producing accessories for pets established in 2020. It is one of the new businesses supported through the EU-funded EU4Business project, implemented by the ILO. Alma’s company started well, currently engaging five associates: product designer, carpenters, and tailors.  “The idea for my business emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic when I had the time to design furniture and accessories for pets that would be a novelty on the market. Without the mentors who helped me, my idea would have never translated into a viable business plan.”

  • Aleksandar Kovač, student and business owner, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    Aleksandar, a student at the Faculty of Medicine in Banja Luka, combined his medical education and passion for IT. He launched the online platform “e-Clinic”. “The platform simplifies the way patients book appointments and provides all the relevant information in one place”, explains Aleksandar. The e-Clinic platform is currently used by eight health institutions who pay a monthly fee. As per mid-2022, there were 531 registered users and 3,850 appointments made monthly. “For me, the ILO support delivered under the EU4Business project was a turning point in terms of entrepreneurship. With top mentors, I have learned the key requirements to keep a business afloat and successful”. EU4Business is a project supported by the European Union and Germany. In total, more than 900 new jobs were created through this project. 

  • Darko Mirchevski, Technical Consultant, Skopje, North Macedonia

    Beneficiary stories: How did the ILO help? 

    The information and Communication Technology industry is the fastest-growing sector in North Macedonia. As an IT student, Darko needed to deepen his technical knowledge and gain practical experience. He took the "Full Stack with Java Academy for software development", supported by the ILO Local Employment Partnership project at the Bitola Startup Center, with EU funding. The programme consisting of 160 hours of training and 60 hours of mentoring teaches web application development. “With its extensive programme and experienced lecturers, the ILO project enabled both learning state-of-the-art technologies and practice. After successfully completing the course, I immediately got a job as a technical consultant at ⋮IWConnect, an IT company offering business solutions.”

CHART OF THE MONTH: Medium and large companies in North Macedonia endure spike in energy prices without support

The Government intervened with support measures to protect households and small enterprises from quickly rising energy prices. However, medium and large enterprises accounting for 43 per cent of employment have been left without support. A recent survey done by the employers’ organisation of the Western Balkan country with support from the ILO finds that the big majority of companies has been facing a sharp increase of operating cost. One third of businesses considers temporary closure if energy costs do not decrease.

Percentage of companies reporting higher operating cost due to hike of energy prices

Source: Keeping the lights on: Challenges and opportunities for companies on the liberalized energy market in North Macedonia. Organization of Employers of Macedonia, 2022.


Our work in figures 2021