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.
During recent years the construction industry has become one of the most important sectors contributing to Kosovo’s economic growth. The construction sector in Kosovo has so far utilized several hundred million Euro that were primarily used for the construction of new homes, or for the rehabilitation and development of the road infrastructure. The construction industry remains a sector with highly promising economic potential for Kosovo. Roughly estimated, in order to meet the existing market demand, in the next few years Kosovo will need some 50,000 new apartments, including the associated infrastructure, such as roads, kindergartens, schools, leisure facilities In addition, as a result of an accelerated economic development Kosovo is facing an increased demand for commercial premises such as production facilities, office space and hotels. Additionally, Kosovo is faced with a number of challenges and requirements in the next decade with regard to urban planning, regional urban planning and the need to secure workable solutions in its growing population. Improving the design and efficiency of construction and civil engineering will be challenges that would need the services for future architects.
The initiative of the programme was supported from feedback and inputs from the following documents and stakeholders:
(a) National Education Strategy and EU best practices – the programs was developed in the context of the general guidelines and strategic directions of the national education strategy, national research strategy and national economic development strategy. The programme board has also relied on the provisions and recommendations of the EC Directives on minimum standards for the study and profession.
(b) The programme board has actively participated in national activities and events organized by the Kosovo Association of Architects and Civil Engineers, USAID Private Sector Development Project and the World Bank references on the future trends of the industry.
(c) The programme board has also taken inputs from the UBT international partners as part of the Tempus Project as well as other sister universities in Austria, Ireland and Estonia.
(d) The programme board has also taken the views and recommendations presented in the Staff Annual Survey and Student Annual Survey from its existing Bachelor programme in Architecture. There is strong urge and need to offer a consecutive programme of education that offers the opportunity for more advanced and focused studies on architecture and spatial planning.
The practical work is integrated and credited as part of the courses. Students are offered the opportunity to practically apply the theoretical framework as part of the courses through studio work and laboratory equipment. Additionally, the programme has a number of partnerships in the area with institutions and construction industry