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Skills for Jobs (S4J)

Skills for Jobs’ (S4J) main goal 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.

To achieve this, the project focuses its work in three main areas:

  1. Improve learning, make it attractive and fun, both for students and teachers, by introducing technology and New Ways into the learning process as well as in the work environment;
  2. Bringing business to schools and schools to businesses, by promoting one-to-one relations with companies to develop training programs for teachers, provide practical learning for students, and get involved in GSD and sponsorship schemes;
  3. Provide Career Guidance and Life-Long Learning opportunities for students and trainees and facilitate their insertion in the labour market.

The Project

‘Skills for Jobs’ (S4J) is a project mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by Swisscontact Albania. It is part of the Economic Development Domain of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Albania (2014-2017 and 2018-2021), with specific focus on promotion of employment opportunities and skills development.

‘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. The project addresses these challenges by supporting VET providers in Albania to upgrade their offer by introducing innovative learning methods, company-based training and career services for smoother school to work transition. The use of smart phones and social media, applying a combination of blended and individualized learning, and work-based training is at the core of ‘Skills for Jobs’ (S4J) implementation.

The project focuses on 4 sectors with potential for growth and job creation in Albania: Tourism and Hospitality, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Textile and Construction (with a focus on energy efficiency buildings).

Seven providers in the five selected regions benefit from the project: the vocational ‘Hamdi Bushati’ school in Shkodra, the vocational ‘Kolin Gjoka’ school in Lezha, the electro-technical ‘Gjergj Canco’ school in Tirana, the vocational ‘Kristo Isak’ school in Berat and the Commercial school, the industrial ‘Pavarësia’ school and the Vocational Training Centre in Vlora.

9'500 students and trainees, the management and teaching staff of all 7 VET providers and 180 private sector companies are direct beneficiaries of the project.


  1. 7‘576 young people (63% of the 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. 336 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, 325 companies provide apprenticeships for 781 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 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 Olympics’ 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.