The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the development arm of the United Nations system, with offices in 180 countries. Globally, the organization employs 17,000 people and manages a budget of USD 5 billion each year.
The UNDP office in Skopje employs a team of 65 and currently manages a portfolio of projects in environmental protection, good governance and social inclusion worth USD 15 million per year.
UNDP is seeking a Skills/Business Specialist to coordinate the activities relevant to the two selected industries while establishing strong relationships with the private sector and national partners.
UNDP in the country provides a continuous support to the Government in preparation and implementation of the Operational Plan for Active Labour Market Measures (ALMMs) since 2007. To address some of the structural challenges that hinder the country’s growth, such as skills shortages at the labour market, in 2010 UNDP also established close cooperation with all national institutions to support ongoing reforms of the education system.
New project funded by the British Government, to be implemented by UNDP, aims to address the paradox of the simultaneous coexistence of high unemployment rates and very low labour-force participation rates, on one side, and, crippling shortages of skilled labour, especially in the textiles and construction industries on the other. In that context, “skills trap” phenomenon, is present and is characterized with few incentives for people to invest in developing a higher level of skills knowing that there are scare job opportunities available at the local labour market. At the same time, employers across a variety of sectors are unlikely to upgrade their production process or service model that use a higher level of skills, knowing that they will be unable to find needed labor force.
The country’s educational system is still not fully adapted to the needs of the private-sector economy. Changing industry needs do not spur changes in the vocational training system in a flexible and timely fashion. Young people have little exposure to the demands of the workplace before graduation, thus making them less attractive to employers. Those who choose to enter the job market have a strong preference to work in the public administration, which is seen as more secure and less demanding than the private sector, even when private-sector salaries are higher.
These challenges are exacerbated by competitive pressures that businesses face to adapt to changing industry trends, new technologies and greater automation. Unless workers can adapt, their jobs are at risk. Yet working adults have few options outside the workplace to learn the new skills, such as IT-driven manufacturing processes, that the market demands. Lifelong learning is at best an emerging concept; there are few certified providers of training that can help unemployed adults improve their employability or assist already-employed workers in “upskilling.”
The management of the project require an experienced Skills/Business Specialist with a specialization in technical disciplines and understanding of the complexity of the labour market. Her/His tasks include delivering the results specified in the project document within the established timeframe and budget, as well as regular reporting to the donor and the main beneficiaries.
The Skills/Business Specialist will report to the Project Manager She/He will closely work on a daily basis with the project team comprising of Project Manager, National Technical Advisor and Project Associate. The Specialist will be located in Skopje but will frequently travel throughout the country.
The salary for the position is classified as SB 4 and depends on experience and qualifications.
Objective of the assignment
The incumbent’s duties are outlined below and will be fulfilled in line with the prevailing UNDP rules and procedures as well as with due compliance with the UNDP internal control framework.
Summary of key functions:
Description of responsibilities:
1. Ensuring effective coordination of the assigned project activities by maintaining the delivery of appropriate technical and administrative outputs, while tracking the project progress by monitoring and reporting;
- Coordinate project activities based on the relevant Project Document under the supervision and guidance of the Project Manager. Coordinate work of consultants and experts, with a view to achieving project results;
- Develop ToRs and ensure accomplishment of work-plans of international and national consultants, coordinate their work, including monitoring and quality assurance of agreed milestones;
- Contribute to the development of project progress reports for the donor and the main project beneficiary (Ministry of Education and Science);
- Manage and monitor the project risks initially identified, submit new risks to the Project Manager for consideration and decision on possible action if required.
- Identify opportunities for deepening cooperation and recommending adequate approaches to dealing with different stakeholders based on information gathered during project implementation;
- Maintain regular communication on relevant project issues with local and international counterparties, consultants and experts and ensuring quality and timely delivery of all agreed outputs
2. Provide advisory support on issues relevant for overcoming the skills gap in the two selected industries to the Government and other partners:
- Identify, collect and analyze relevant information and data for workforce requirements for the textile and construction industries by taking into account future trends;
- Identify and synthesize best practices and lessons learnt from other countries regarding new work profiles and innovative approaches in workforce development;
- Provide inputs to enable development of evidence-based policies for reskilling/upskilling of the workforce that will address challenges and needs in collaboration with the Government and other strategic partners.
3. Build the strategic partnerships with the local private sector, FDIs and relevant business support associations needed to achieve results:
- Establish strong relationships with the local private sector, FDIs and relevant business support associations, academia to facilitate transfer of the latest developments in the selected industries.
- Cooperate with other Project stakeholders, ensuring full understanding, cooperation and an appropriate fit of the project activities with the main needs of the beneficiaries;
- Establishing effective linkages with other relevant projects and initiatives in the sector with a view to developing substantive partnerships and generating synergies.
- Integrity: Demonstrates commitment to UNDP's mission, vision and values.
- Respect for diversity: Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
- Treats all people fairly without favoritism.
- Takes initiative
- Identifies opportunities and challenges and recommends options
- Checks assumptions against facts
- Assumes responsibility for decisions and outcomes
- Analyzes complex technical materials (including data) and makes concise, relevant recommendations
- Knowledgeable in designing innovative approaches and methods
- Contributes reliable production of knowledge services and transactions
- Identifies and addresses potential challenges quickly and develop action plans
- Sees specific opportunities for immediate improvement within own field
- Listens to develop awareness of client needs
- Respects differences of opinion
- Finds common ground to solve problems
- Gains trust of peers, partners, clients
- Presents complex, conceptual ideas in practical terms to others
- Meets goals and timelines for delivery of products or services
- Embraces expanded responsibilities and challenges self to excel
- Takes responsibility for addressing critical situations
- Demonstrates commitment to clients and quality
- Works to agreed goals dealing with challenges constructively
- Takes responsibility for project implementation and/or team deliverables
- Knowledge of and sensitivity to the private sector working culture as well as international practicies;
- Has strong knowledge of the current skills gap in the textile and/or construction industries;
- Knowledge of existing national support schemes for companies, especially in workforce skills building and job creation;
- Knowledge of and sensitivity to economic development issues in the country;
- Strong research, analytical, reporting and writing abilities.
- A university degree in a development-related discipline (construction or textile engineering, economy or a similar field) is required. A Masters of Science is not mandatory but is a strong asset.
- At least 4 years (2 years for candidates with master’s degree) of cumulative professional experience with the private sector in commercial and/or economic development areas. Experience related to the textile and/or construction industries is not mandatory but is a strong asset.
- Professional experience with the private sector in reskilling/upskilling of the workforce and/or human resource management is not mandatory but is a strong asset.
- Experience in collaborating with chambers of commerce and industry associations in the textile and/or construction industries, as well as with local governments and national institutions is not mandatory but is a strong asset.
- Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills are required in both Macedonian and English. Knowledge of Albanian or other languages used in the country is an asset.
Important applicant information
All posts in the SC categories are subject to local recruitment.
Applicant information about UNDP rosters
Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.
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Contract Duration: 12 months with possibility for extension