In Albania, many young people lack the opportunity for practical vocational training. Expensive training places and a difficult transition into professional life are the result. Swisscontact has taken up this challenge with the "Skills for Jobs" (S4J) project. The study tour to Switzerland shows possible solutions and provides inspiration for change. Fation Dragoshi, Swisscontact's project manager, explains: "Step by step, we are pushing ahead changes that schools and companies can implement. On this study tour the participants experience a well-functioning system. They can get an idea, ask questions and discuss with each other how this can be implemented in Albania. They are converging into a real community that drives change in Albania."
Schools and companies hand in hand
The journey starts with a visit to the Zurich career centre. Participants will learn how the education system in Switzerland works, especially vocational training. They are amazed at the close cooperation between companies, schools and authorities. Jasmina Lumanaj, director of a vocational school, says: "In Albania, the relationship between schools and the private sector is difficult.” Drilon Shameti, who trains caterers in his business, agrees: "I want to learn how to collaborate better with the schools. I want to offer the young people the best possible education."
For the next generation, the industry and Switzerland
Another stopover point is a visit to a company that employs apprentices, the hosting provider Aspectra. Markus Häfeli is the master and tells what it means for a company to train apprentices. He emphasizes that the apprentices are fully involved in every day work and assume responsibility from the very beginning. The advantages clearly outweigh the costs. "We're passing on the opportunity we got back then. We train the specialists that the industry needs and we support the successful training model," summarizes Häfeli. The participants listen, discuss and want to know: Who decides on the apprentice wage? How do apprentices find their companies?
In the second part, participants visit Interxion's DataCenter, where Aspectra has its server rooms. They experience where and what the apprentices are working on. And there's a surprise: The guide is Albanian – an Aspectra employee guides the participants through the data center in their native language. They discuss and comment on cooling systems, transformers and generators with the employee.
Skills for Jobs: practice-oriented training for a successful future
Albania intends to strengthen and improve its vocational training system within the framework of the National Strategy for Skills and Jobs (2014-2020). Swisscontact is supporting this by implementing the SDC-project "Skills for Jobs", which addresses the challenges of vocational education and training in Albania. “Skills for Jobs” improves the quality of Albanian vocational education and training by strengthening practical training and by closer cooperation between schools and the private sector. In this way, more young people benefit from a good education.