Cooking Competition as an Alternative to Remote Apprenticeships

Sustainable tourism
'Skills for Jobs' project is supporting 10 VET providers in Albania apply the Swiss apprenticeship model and new ways of learning among other things. While schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the project boosted distance learning through MesoVET online platform, while businesses got involved in carrying out remote apprenticeships for students. 

Merita Koço teaches in the ‘Hospitality-Tourism’ direction at ‘Commercial School’ in Vlora, one of 'Skills for Jobs' partner schools, and is responsible of following students in apprenticeships. But in March 2020, after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything changed.

In the beginning of each academic year, ‘Commercial School’ in Vlora drafts the yearly apprenticeships plan, a considerable part of them being carried out in businesses. However, due to the pandemic, plans changed. The school staff had to come up with new ideas and modalities on how apprenticeships would be carried out, this time at a distance.

"This was very challenging for teachers and students, especially for the ‘Hotels-Tourism’ direction, ‘Kitchen-Pastry’ profile. This profile needs stimulating environments, working tools and material base. Meanwhile, constant supervision and contact with the student is imperative."
Merita Koço 

To carry out apprenticeships in a new form, teacher Merita had to change the plan and choose modules and topics that could be done at home and with the material base that students had at disposal. MesoVET online platform assisted in this. 

Rozelja Kuka during ‘House Kitchen’ TV competition

Rozelja Kuka is a 12th grade student in the ‘Hotel-Tourism’ direction at ‘Commercial School’ in Vlora. For her, the distance learning experience has been quite positive.

"Initially it was a little challenging, but I was constantly in touch with teacher Merita who helped me a lot. During lockdown we used ‘MesoVET’ platform to share photos and videos from home cooking, and then evaluated each other for the best work."
Rozelja Kuka

The project took on greater proportions when ‘One TV’ local television agreed to cooperate with the ‘Commercial School’ in Vlora for the ‘House Kitchen’ TV competition. This was an initiative by Aldo Mehmeti, kitchen chef at ‘Marina Bay’ resort in Vlora, with the participation of school students. Each Friday, students cooked from their homes and competed on live broadcast. During the show, they were presenting ingredients and preparation of the dish they were cooking. Finally, the dish was evaluated for its preparation and the extend of following cooking rules.

Chef Aldo Mehmeti

The involvement of Chef Aldo in the evaluation process was very important in the competition. He followed students step by step with valuable comments on their cooking and ways of improvement.

Rozelja is one of the participants and the winner of the competition.

"I really liked the experience because it was fun and new. Moreover, as the winner of the competition, I was hired by ‘Marina Bay’ resort during Summer months."
Rozelja Kuka
"Students’ parents kept writing to thank me for the opportunity we gave their children for being part of the competition."
Merita Koço