A tracer study is essential for evaluating schools’ performance in preparing future professionals for the job market. Yet, most of the vocational institutions in Albania do not have a system in place to monitor the information about students who graduate from school. Without this process, VET institutions cannot get accurate feedback on the level of employability of their students or adjust their offer and qualifications to better meet labour market needs.
Since 2016 ‘Skills for Jobs’ S4J is supporting initially 5 partner VET providers and later in 2017, two more VET providers to establish a provider-level tracing system. Having a system in place allows the institutions to acknowledge and measure the rate of students who find an attractive job after graduation.
As tracing the employability of graduates is one of the main functions of the schools’ Development Unit, over the past months ‘Skills for Jobs’ S4J has provided capacity building and consistent assistance for school teachers engaged in the process.
The first tracer study was completed in 2017, focusing on students who graduated in 2016. In May 2017, a questionnaire was developed jointly with the school staff, using online tools. A lottery was organized as an incentive for ex-students to fill in the tracing questionnaire. Despite the difficulties in reaching all target population, a response rate of 50% was achieved.
Tracer Study for graduates of 2017 completed in July 2018
During the second round of graduate tracer, data was gathered in 6 vocational schools, including the 2 new partner schools. However, the comparison between the two tracers was possible only between the 4 partner schools that the project supported since 2016. In comparison with the first tracer study, the results look optimistic.
75% of the students who graduated in 2016 participated in the questionnaire (compared to 50% in the first study). 49% of the students that graduated in 2017 had got a job within one year after graduating from the vocational school (compared to 33.4% for students that graduated in 2016).
More graduates had entered the labour market and less students from the 2017 cohort of graduates (10%) had continued further education. For employed graduates, 56% of them had got a job offer before even graduating from school (a huge increase compared to the 35% rate in first tracer study).
The exposure to the world of work from the early days of their studies in vocational education helps young people thrive in the labour market. Data from a snapshot study conducted in May 2018 show that 53% of the students in ‘Skills for Jobs’ (S4J) partner schools graduating in 2018 had already received and accepted a job offer before finishing the vocational school (baseline 2016: 12.5%).
In the second year of the tracer study, graduates used more means of finding a job, compared to the first tracer study, including contacts established during practice near businesses and through their teachers.