‘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 (2018-2021), with specific focus on promotion of employment opportunities and skills development.
The project is in its second phase, which started in April 2019 and will last until June 2023. During this phase, the project aims at supporting 10 000 students (6 360 more compared to Phase I) and 6 000 trainees (1 500 more compared to Phase I).
‘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 focusing 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 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:
Two more VET providers will join project during the second phase (in the third year). More public providers will benefit from the initiatives that the project has piloted in partner schools during the first phase.
Phase I (2016-2019)
- 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.
- 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.
- Out of these, 422 companies provide apprenticeships for 1422 students.
- Companies sponsored VSD providers financially or in-kind. Estimated sponsorship value is 520 000 CHF.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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%).
- 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.
- 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.