In the last couple of years, we have witnessed an inspirational transformation of vocational education and training providers supported by the ‘Skills for Jobs’ project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The project team feels motivated by this development, which has already entered its consolidation phase.
With the view of expanding the partnership between providers and private sector companies and enhancing cooperation with key actors for institutional development, the project is supporting the providers to arrange several visits to these institutions.
The successive visit was held on Friday, May 11, at the “Kolin Gjoka” vocational school in Lezha, with the participation of representatives from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the German – Albanian Chamber of Commerce (DIHA), the Nordic Association for Trade and Business Development, “Turgut Ozal” College, the Austrian Institute of Excellence, the German companies Forschner and Ambiance.
The participants met Mr. Bardh Dedgjonaj, director of the “Kolin Gjoka” school, Mrs. Vera Gjeloshi, deputy director of this school and Mrs. Rudina Gjoka, head of the School Development Unit. Establishing cooperation with businesses to provide apprenticeships for the students is one of the advantages of this school, where the Development Unit has been established and has been operating for more than one year. In her presentation Mrs. Gjoka explained in detail what the steps and challenges of the process are, from the moment businesses are selected to supervising the apprenticeship delivery.
The visit coincided with the activities of the “School’s Open Day”, which crowns the completion of an intensive information and promotion campaign of vocational education for the 9th grade students and their parents (read more).
Part of this activity was the conference “Bring the business to the school and school to the business”, which was wrapped up with greetings from the ILO representative, Mrs. Zhuljeta Harasani and the Head of the German-Albanian Chamber of Commerce, Hartmut Jarosch (videos following).
Mrs. Zhuljeta Harasani, representative of the International Labour Organization (ILO), spoke about the cooperation between the school and the private sector:
“…what struck me as soon as I set foot in this school and as soon as I heard a very good presentation from teacher Rudina is that the work done here is not commonplace for Albania. Having a good infrastructure in place, combined with the curriculum and the apprenticeship experience, is something really rare to find.
…In this sense, I wish you a lot of success. But you also have to bear a great responsibility: you are very avant-garde and will need to replicate this model in other schools which might have or not have your infrastructure in place.
…I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the business representatives who are in the panel today and I am aware of their sensitivity regarding the creation of a skilled workforce. ‘Tripartitism’ is one of ILO‘s principles, that is, bringing together the state, the employer and the employee. We work hard to reach a more constructive and effective social dialogue between these parties. In this sense, I am amazed to see that this dialogue has already started in this school. “
Mr. Hartmut Jarosch, Head of the German-Albanian Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the importance of vocational education:
“Establishing a successful vocational education model in Albania takes time. It took Germany about 300 years to have it in place. It is important to bring together all the stakeholders: teachers, businesses, and especially parents, as the latter have a high impact on their children’s decisions.
It is important to change the mentality and it seems that this has already begun. It is not mandatory to have a university degree to be successful in life. In Germany, people who have completed vocational education have a very good social status. Do not forget that Mercedes does not only employ engineers, but also many workers who have graduated from vocational schools. They are welcomed and treated very well in society. “
Afterwards, the participants visited two Blended Learning Classrooms, where the 10th and 11th graders were presenting to the 9th graders the prototypes developed in vocational school labs and the benefits they would have if they opted for this school (videos following).
Elona Kola, an apprentice at the “Mrizi i Zanave” restaurant, shared her experience.
Teacher Meri Simoni‘s class, where the Hospitality & Tourism students shared their experience in the vocational school with the 9th graders.
Teacher Jetmir Shtjefni‘s class, where students of Information and Communication Technology presented to the participants the “Smart Glasses” project, which was awarded the first prize in a competition in Shkodra.
Mr. Hartmut Jarosch, Head of the German-Albanian Chamber of Commerce, referring to the inclusion of Information and Communication Technology in the vocational school offer, said:
“I’m impressed with the girls’ participation in this classroom. This is a very good thing, as it is no longer believed that ICT is only for boys. Second, ICT has definitely quite a future in Albania; it is a growing sector. There are German companies looking for employees to hire, there or remotely (from Albania).
14 years ago in Germany, I had a long discussion with my son to decide whether he would attend a general school or a vocational one and do an pprenticeship in Web Design. His decision was to go to a vocational school and now, 14 years later, he has his own Web Design company, focused on the e-commerce website; he does what he likes and is always updated with the latest developments. I see this perspective for you as well: if you are now in touch with businesses, you will develop further and will always be up to date with the latest developments in the field. “
In the ICT laboratory, Mrs. Vera Gjeloshi, deputy director and a math teacher at this school, presented Metronom, the virtual learning platform through which teachers deliver a more concrete explanation of the lesson for the students of all directions. Particularly, during this period of time, the platform is available to help Matura students to prepare for exams.
Participants to this visit were also further introduced to the Remote Apprenticeship model.
The visit was concluded with a business lunch at the “Mrizi i Zanave” restaurant, which has been supporting the “Kolin Gjoka” school by providing apprenticeships for their students since 2016.
Notice: Starting from the next academic year, ‘Skills for Jobs’ will continue to support the organization of other visits to providers covered by the project. If you are interested in participating, please write to us in the following address firstname.lastname@example.org.