‘Professional Development in the UK - Leaders for the Future’ is a new professional development project coordinated by the British Council’s office in Kosovo and funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF). The aim of the programme is to build the capacity of public administration staff in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro, all of which are in the process of accession to the EU, and to strengthen ties between the countries’ institutions and the UK.
Over the past year, the British Council has engaged with these countries’ governments on defining key areas for reform, identifying potential future leaders within public bodies and connecting them with their UK counterparts through a work attachment programme. The key areas of development range from strengthening the rule of law, the independent media and transparency within the public sector, to supporting EU accession and social entrepreneurship, increasing employment opportunities for unemployed and marginalised groups, and increasing the use of digital and social media tools to inform and engage citizens transparently.
A total of 18 influential and mid to high level civil servants were identified and travelled to the UK on either a four or six week work attachment programme, completing placements across a wide range of prestigious institutions. These included, among others, the Cabinet Office, Department for International Development, House of Commons, Press Association, Save the Children, UNICEF and the British Film Institute.
The selected candidates acquired the knowledge, skills and confidence to better introduce and implement reforms in the key development areas of their governments and societies, and developed strong ties with their UK counterparts. The first alumni meeting took place in Prishtina, Kosovo on 16 April 2016.