Students like Erta Lipe from the Pavarësia Industrial School in Albania are diving right in. Erta, who is now in 11th grade, has always loved science and computers since she was a kid. That love made her choose a career-focused education.
Erta doesn’t just hit the books - she also runs a social media page in her free time. This isn’t just a hobby, but it helps her mom's business too. She says that computer studies give her strong basics and let her try out what she knows in real-life situations. For example, she got to work with real companies and pros during her school internships. This hands-on practice has taught her a lot, including how to manage tasks and communicate well at work.
She’s learned all sorts of things, like how to fix complex problems, create software, handle networks, and work on digital stuff. Erta believes that while theory classes are great for learning the basics, practice is what really prepares you for the real world. She’s happy that her education is lining up with what she likes and where she wants to go in the tech industry, like web design and programming. She feels ready for the future and even for more schooling in the same field.
Erta expresses that although she still has a very long way to go, she has managed to understand a little about how the labour market functions in Albania. She says that, especially for ICT students, the market offers a variety of positions and employment and internship opportunities. Therefore, she confidently says that she is on the right path. “I consider computing to be a very good choice for three reasons. Firstly, it is a direction that offers quick and immediate employment since the market demand is continuously growing. Secondly, I think that whatever higher education you choose, computing is one of those fields that will always come to your aid in the future, and some additional knowledge about it never does any harm, on the contrary. Thirdly, the diploma obtained at the end of vocational secondary education can serve you if you want to have more than one profession, thus turning it into a necessary tool to do a second or third job in your free time,” concludes Erta, while also delivering a message to young people who wish to pursue vocational education.
Erta Lipe's story highlights the symbiotic relationship between Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutions and the private sector. VET programs, like the one at Pavarësia Industrial School, often tailor their curriculum in partnership with industry leaders to ensure that the skills being taught are directly applicable to current market needs.
In this mutually beneficial arrangement, students receive the dual advantage of a theoretical foundation coupled with practical, real-world experience. By doing internships with companies, students like Erta not only apply what they’ve learned but also gain invaluable insights into working life and industry expectations. These interactions often lead to better job preparedness and employability upon graduation.
Skills for Jobs project, implemented by Swisscontact in Albania, tackles key issues in Albania's vocational education and training sector by focusing on systematic reforms, skill development, and strengthening the roles of those involved. The project helps vocational training providers form strong partnerships with private sector and others to enhance and vary what they teach. It encourages the use of innovative teaching methods and high-quality standards, promotes on-the-job training within companies, and aims to bolster the capabilities of the educational institutions themselves.