The Kosovo labour market demand for architecture professionals has been particularly high in recent years. Based on a recent study of higher education graduate demand in economic and skill sectors (EC/LSE, 2015) in Western Balkans and Kosovo, construction and architecture technicians and professionals is one of the most dynamic occupations in employment growth in Kosovo. The construction and architecture sector captures nearly 20 percent of annual economic activity in Kosovo and in recent years has been the key source of growth and income generation. The high demand construction and architecture has been very high due to increased government spending (5.5% of GDP, circa 260 million Euro), foreign direct investment (IMF, 2015) and private investments. The construction boom has not lost any pace since the post-war reconstruction phase. In order to meet the existing market demand Kosovo will need in the next years some 60,000 new apartments including infrastructure, roads, kindergardens and schools.
Construction and architecture is one of the main pillars of the newly adopted Kosovo National Development Plan. The plan stresses the need for improved regulatory framework, investments and human capital creation in the sector. As part of the human capital creation, the plan calls on education institution to play a more active role in both increasing the share of students enrolled in related programs but also pay greater attention to specialist studies to advance the knowledge base. UBT on the other hand uses an indicator framework to assess demand for professionals and economic sectors. The indicator framework is composed of: (1) skill sectors employing most of professionals (to differentiate among all workers in the sector), (2) share of professionals’ distribution in all economic sectors (ISCO) and (3) job creation tendency in the past decade for the respective economic sector (NACE). According to Kosovo Labour Force Survey (2015), the economic sectors with the highest share of employment and job creation are trade, manufacturing and construction.
If the know-how is created at education institutions in close interaction with industry, the competitive advantage build on cheap labour may position professionals and firms in the sector in terms of better income, employment and overall social welfare. Therefore, domestic knowledge growth and development are key to gain and retain competitiveness. Based on the job creation indicator, construction and architecture rate among the top performing and job creation industries.
In summary, on the basis of Labour Force Survey construction, architecture and urban planning are the skill areas employing the highest share of professionals. The sector has created around 48,000 jobs in the past decade and according to economic projections another 10,000 new jobs will be created until 2025 (USAID, 2014). About 36 percent of jobs created in the sector related to higher professional and technical skills.
The institution has a wide network of institutions and industry network to enable students work placement. The programme in itself has attracted both students and people already engaged in the labour market and the study choice seems to have been mainly oriented as skills upgrading process. The programme emphasizes the importance of practical work both in terms of the share of hours dedicated to practical laboratory experience and its focus on an industry-based thesis and application. The programme includes a Capstone/Thesis component which aims to promote and generate industry-relevant research, knowledge and projects. The theory-practice section above outlines the laboratories that the institution has acquired to enable students a greater emphasis on the practical component. Furthermore, the institution has attracted industry practitioners to lecture at the institution as a means to reinforce students’ insights into the latest developments in the industry. A complete list of agreements with industry as well as student mobility options has been described in detail in the Student Employment and Career Section of this report.