Home / Y-med: Promoting the circulation of skills across the Mediterranean

Y-med: Promoting the circulation of skills across the Mediterranean


The 4-month internship programme for 35 youngsters from the southern shore of the Mediterranean in 21 Italian companies based in the Veneto region, has been successfully concluded.

This initiative is part of the Y-Med Programme carried out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Coordination Office for the Mediterranean with the financial support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI).


The Y-med project took place between 2019 and 2021, involving 4 countries (Italy, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia) to promote circular migration schemes and foster skills mobility in the Mediterranean region.

Y-med is implemented within the legal framework of regular migration channels for work and training purposes, which remains an under-explored and valued legal immigration channel. The quotas which are allocated in Italy every three years for this purpose (currently 7,500) are largely underused. The lack of knowledge of this opportunity and the burdensome bureaucratic procedures are among the main obstacles, despite companies’ claims of labour market shortages in sectors where attracting native workers is becoming increasingly difficult.

Y-med aims at strengthening and enhancing this legal channel, contributing to the overall development of the Mediterranean region. In fact,  after the internship in Italy and upon return to their countries, interns receive support by IOM for job placement in local companies, as well as additional training to strengthen the acquired professional skills.

The actors involved in this circular migration scheme come from the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean, and belong both to the public sector (employment agencies, ministries, embassies) and to the private sector (private employment companies, promoting agencies, chambers of commerce). The cooperation between these different stakeholders is functional to achieve a three-fold advantage for the interns, the hosting companies in Italy and the companies in the countries of origin. For example, the recruitment of interns is a joint process carried out between the companies in the involved countries.

The 35 interns participating in this edition of Y-med were 17 young men and 18 young women, including fresh graduates and undergraduates students as well as vocational training school graduates. They were employed in various sectors: from mechanical engineering, project management, communication and marketing, to ICT, hospitality and catering. These sectors were selected on the basis of the job market needs in the countries of origin.

For some Y-med interns, finding out that they could develop skills in innovative and strategic sectors within Italian companies came as a surprise, considering that Italy does not generally rank among the destinations for foreign talents, who are often directed to countries such as France or Germany when searching for career development opportunities.

Malak, a 25 year old Egyptian industrial designer and intern, affirms that: "Coming to Italy has given me the opportunity to be exposed on a daily basis to the cultural and artistic heritage and to the Made in Italy design" and, continues Malak "this unique opportunity has enriched my skills and will allow me to return to Egypt as a more experienced designer."