Albania: the role of vocational education and training in the development of the country

Albania is currently implementing various educational reforms. They are aimed at improving the competitiveness of enterprises and the economy through a skilled workforce. In this process, Swisscontact supports a strong role of vocational education and training.

A skilled workforce is a key factor in the economic development and competitiveness of a country. Producing a skilled workforce has been challenging for many countries including Albania. Issues that have led to this poor performance include:

  • poor application of skills in the world of work, especially among young people,
  • the availability of skilled workers in the labour market,
  • the migration of skilled workers to other European markets.

Swiss apprenticeship as a guiding example

Swisscontact is working in Albania to overcome these challenges. The “Skills for Jobs” project supports the Albanian government and the private sector in their efforts to build an efficient Albanian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system that is inspired by the Swiss model. In order for Albania to better nurture and further develop its workforce, it has to invest in improving the quality and relevance of what the education system is offering. Furthermore, it needs to increase the share of those who attend vocational education (vs gymnasium) and offer opportunities for upskilling the many youngsters who have finished gymnasium and do not pursue any further education.

To align the interests and efforts of many different stakeholders in the reform process of the employment and skills system, Swisscontact has established the “Skills for Jobs Academy”, a platform for discussion and dialogue. Earlier this year, the Academy facilitated a meeting between policymakers, academics, managers, teachers, instructors of VET providers, employers, students and parents to develop a common understanding, alignment and commitment.

Three days – plenty of topics

Labour market-oriented offers and demand-driven skills development were at the heart of the discussions during the Academy’s “Summer School 2019” event. Building on the experience exchange and the expertise from various institutions, the Summer School facilitated the reflection on how to make labour markets and skills policies more effective, efficient and sustainable through a continuous and structured dialogue. It highlighted the importance of the quality and relevance of the offer for a functioning education system within a holistic agenda and taking into consideration the ramifications of the changing nature of work in a digital era.

The event only marked the beginning of a series of efforts. The “Skills for Jobs” project will undertake to promote quality and relevance of the VET system by facilitating an ever-growing collaboration between employers (focus on the companies), providers and policymakers. Only if all actors work together, Albania will succeed in sustainably improving their vocational training system.

“Skills for Jobs” is an SDC-project implemented by Swisscontact in Albania.