Skills for Jobs (S4J)

Skills for Jobs (S4J) is a project of Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and is implemented by Swisscontact. The project is part of the Economic Development and Employment Domain of the Swiss Cooperation and Strategy 2018-2021 for Albania, with specific focus on employability. The main goal of ‘Skills for Jobs’ (S4J) project is to offer young people in Albania the best vocational education and training. Better skills will help young people to get a job that they love and that pays them well.
Project duration
2019 - 2023
Financed by
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC

The project

‘Skills for Jobs’ (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. Moreover, there has long been a traditional schooling system with lack of digital and interactive teaching materials, limited digital and pedagogical skills, no virtual learning environment and lack of infrastructure. Thus, the Albanian VET system struggles in meeting market demands for professional skills and in adopting technological innovations.

The project focuses on ensuring systemic change, capacity development and empowerment of key actors. Based on this approach, S4J Phase II supports partner VET providers in Albania in terms of:

  • Employers’ and partners relations,
  • Diversification of VET offer,
  • New ways of inclusive and learning and quality,
  • Work-based learning in cooperation with employers, and
  • Organisational development.

Work-based learning, the use of technology in the classroom, blended and individualized learning, making the VET offer relevant for students, trainings on industry standards and the application of a business mindset in in the management of VET institutions are at the core of ‘Skills for Jobs’ (S4J) implementation.

Ten providers in six selected regions benefit from the project:

More than 16,000 young people access improved VSD offers (IT-based, innovative and attractive, demand-oriented and gender-sensitive) in Tourism & Hospitality, Smart Construction, Textile, ICT and more branches in Shkodra, Lezha, Tirana, Elbasan, Berat and Vlora regions.

During the second phase, two more VET providers will join the project (in the third year). More public providers will benefit from the initiatives that the project has piloted in partner schools during the first phase. The project will focus on creating better training and employment opportunities for Albanian women and men, including special needs groups. During this phase, the project will apply an approach of consolidation and scaling up simultaneously and similarly by carefully balancing the two while keeping up with innovations.

Project goals

  1. Overall goal: Young women and men from all social groups in Albania find attractive and gainful employment thanks to improved skills.
  2. Outcome 1: Young women and men have access to a performing labour market-oriented education and training in sectors with growth potential.
  3. Outcome 2: The private sector takes responsibility in the definition, provision and financing of VET at the provider level.

Project partner

  • Ministry of Finance and Economy


Phase I (2016-2019)

  1. 9716 young people (102% of the Phase I target) access improved VSD offers (IT-based, innovative and attractive, demand-oriented and gender-sensitive) in Tourism & Hospitality, Smart Construction, Textile and ICT branches, in the Shkodra, Lezha, Tirana, Berat and Vlora regions.
  2. 433 companies have signed Memorandums of Understanding with selected VSD providers, offering apprenticeships for students, co-financing VSD financially or in-kind and participating in VET network and curricula development.
  3. Out of these, 422 companies provide apprenticeships for 1422 students.
  4. Companies sponsored VSD providers financially or in-kind. Estimated sponsorship value is 520 000 CHF.
  5. Career guidance and job-finding services are offered in 7 VET providers. The services include career centres, work-based learning schemes, demand-based short-term courses, personalized development plans and graduate tracing system.
  6. 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.
  7. More girls are enrolled in VET programs with economic prospective. Among newly registered students in 2018-2019 academic year, share of female reached to 16.6%.
  8. The drop-out phenomenon is addressed through coaching for VSD, individualised learning plans, improved school culture and stronger school-parent collaboration. Drop Out Rate was reduced to 9.3% (target 10%).
  9. VET as primary education and career choice is promoted through national campaigns, such as ‘Skills Fairs’ event and regional fairs. VET providers have started to communicate their improved offer through institutional marketing activities, including meetings with students in 9th grade and their parents, opening the school to the local community, improved online presence through interactive websites and effective use of social media.
  10. More and more VET graduates are joining the labour market. One year after graduation, 34% of students graduating from VET schools in 2016 got a job one year after finishing school. For students graduating in 2017, the share of employment increased to 49%. A pre-tracer study with students graduating from VET schools in 2018 showed that 53% of them had received a job offer before finishing school.


Initial vocational education and training
Distance Learning: Best Practices from 'Skills for Jobs' Partner VET Providers
Following the commitment to support teachers and instructors in applying new ways of learning in Vocational Education and Training (VET), ‘Skills for Jobs’ S4J project presents a summary of best online teaching practices during the second half of the 2019-2020 academic year, when distance learning was applied.
Sustainable tourism
Cooking Competition as an Alternative to Remote Apprenticeships
'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. 
Initial vocational education and training
An Albanian Model For Vocational Education And Training, Inspired By Switzerland
Since 2016, ‘Skills for Jobs’ is creating career prospects for young people in Albania enrolled in vocational education by strengthening VET institutions and building long lasting collaborations with private sector companies.