Skills for Jobs

With international support and inspired by the Europe 2020 agenda, Albania has developed a national strategy on skills and jobs (2014-2020) to ensure greater opportunities for youth to secure decent work and income over the life-cycle, contributing to a virtuous circle of poverty reduction, sustainable development and social inclusion.

At the central level, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth is in charge of vocational skills development and employment promotion sectors. Its ultimate goal is to build a labour-market focused skills development system to enhance the employment and entrepreneurship perspectives for the rural and urban unemployed, while addressing their skills needs at the same time, both in the formal and informal sectors. The understanding of the importance of cooperation with the private sector in the framework of such undertaking is gaining weight.

The Project

Skills for Jobs (S4J) is a project mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), implemented by Swisscontact Albania. It is part of the Economic Development Domain of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Albania (2014-2017), with specific focus on promotion of employment opportunities and skills development.

S4J was designed to address main Vocational Education and Training (VET) challenges such as low quality and status, insufficient financing, weak labour market orientation, and poor private sector engagement. The project addresses these challenges by supporting VET providers to offer innovative learning methods, company-based training and career services for smoother school to work transition. The use of smart phones and social media, applying a combination of blended and individualized learning, and work-based training is at the core of S4J implementation.

The project focuses on 4 sectors with potential for growth and job creation in Albania:

  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • ICT (also as a crosscutting theme)
  • Textile
  • Construction

Swisscontact applies a regional approach for the implementation of the project focusing in the regions of Vlora, Lezha and Berat. Five providers in the three selected regions benefit from the project: The industrial ‘Pavaresia’ School, the ‘Commercial’ School and the Vocational Training Centre in Vlora; ‘Kolin Gjoka’ School in Lezha; and ‘Kristo Isak’ School in Berat.

6'500 students and trainees, the management and teaching staff of 5 VET providers and 150 companies are direct beneficiaries. The project interventions build on the 20 years of Swisscontact's experience in Vocational Skills Development (VSD) in Albania, focusing on three areas: 

  1. Introducing new ways of learning and teaching as well as new ways of working in the school environment and companies (where practical learning should take place more and more)
  2. Bringing businesses into schools and schools into businesses (to ensure that VSD is designed but also delivered jointly between schools and companies) by promoting one-to-one relations
  3. Advancing career guidance for students and trainees, and facilitate their insertion in the labour market.


The project seeks to achieve these two outcomes:

  1. Young people will access market oriented formal and non-formal education and training programmes in selected sectors.
  2. The private sector will play a strengthened role in the gender-sensitive provision of VSD in selected multifunctional centres.

These outcomes are related to the following results:

  1. 6’500 students and trainees benefit from IT-based, innovative and attractive, demand-oriented and gender-sensitive skills development in Vlora, Lezha and Berat.
  2. The private sector is engaged in VSD through direct relations between companies and VET providers through apprenticeship schemes, internships, curricula development, sponsorship programs, students’ evaluation, on-the site teacher training, public endorsement of VET as viable career choice for girls and boys.
  3. Career guidance and job-finding services are offered in 5 VET providers. The services include career centres, work-based learning schemes, demand-based short-term courses, personalized development plans and graduate tracing system. 
  4. Schools are modernised with virtual learning and school management platforms and investment in IT equipment. Infrastructure is made more attractive, with improved learning and recreational spaces.
  5. More girls are enrolled in VET programs with economic prospective such as ICT.
  6. The (hidden) drop-out phenomenon is addressed through coaching for VSD, individualised learning plans, improved school culture and stronger school-parent collaboration. 
  7. VET as primary education and career choice is promoted through national campaigns, Skills Olympics, and regional fairs. VET providers are promoted based on institutional marketing plans, including improved online presence through interactive websites and effective use of social media.

Project countries

  • Albania

Project duration

2015 - 2018


  • SDC

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97