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Junior Professional Officer (JPO) programme

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Junior Professional Officer (JPO) programme

The Junior Professional Officer (JPO) programme provides young professionals with hands-on experience in multilateral technical co-operation, and is one of the best ways to gain entry level positions within the UN system. JPOs are sponsored by their own government, who fund their placement in one of a range of UN organisations.

The JPO Service Centre (JPOSC) is in charge of administering the JPO programme. Visit their webpage for more information on the JPO Programme. 

What do JPOs do?

JPOs serve primarily in one of the country offices of the participating organisations in developing countries. Under the supervision of a senior staff member, JPOs work with international and national staff and are involved in the identification, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the UN organisations-supported programmes.

Purposes of assignments vary and may have a country-specific, regional, sector-based or thematic focus. The UN organisations participating in the Programme make every effort to match individual's qualifications and interests with the requirements of the country office.

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has some useful information on their current JPOs, and staff members who began their careers as JPOS.


Candidates for the JPO Programme are selected on a highly competitive basis. The qualifications below are required for consideration:

  • Usually be under 32 years of age;
  • Academic qualifications: Master's degree (or equivalent) in a development-related discipline;
  • A minimum of two years of paid working experience in a relevant field, preferably in a developing country;
  • Language skills: written and spoken proficiency in at least two of the three working languages used by UNDP: English, French and Spanish. Fluency in Arabic, Russian or Portuguese is an asset;
  • Excellent information technology skills, including word-processing, database applications, presentation software and Internet;
  • Evidence of ability to think strategically; to express ideas clearly; to work independently and in teams; to demonstrate a sense of self-assuredness combined with cultural and gender sensitivity;
  • A strong commitment to development; an interest in adapting to varied physical and professional environments; and a desire to work with people with different language, national and cultural backgrounds;
  • Respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and the participating UN organizations Mission Statements.

British nationals and the JPO programme

The UK JPO Programme is currently inactive and UK citizens are not eligible for the JPO Programme for the time being.



UNA-UK is not an office of the UN and receives no funding from the UN system. We are not involved with UN recruitment processes and beyond guidance we provide, we cannot help you secure a job at the UN.

However, UNA-UK does employ permanent members of staff and hosts volunteers at its London office. Find out more about employment and internship opportunities with UNA-UK here.

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