Vocational education offers young people the great advantage of being prepared for the labour market through apprenticeships in business. Apprenticeships are a unique opportunity to expose the students to the world of work so that they gain the necessary professional and soft skills. During this process, students are counselled by both school and in-business instructors to help them make well-informed career choices and to get employed in job positions that suit their skills, flairs and education.
Before ‘Skills for Jobs’ started operating, businesses offered only short-term apprenticeships. To better match companies’ commitments and requirements, we designed a year-round apprenticeship model and apprenticeship schemes for different educational directions.
What makes this model successful?
1. Establishing Relations with Companies
The key ingredient for ensuring quality apprenticeships for the vocational education students is the collaboration with a broad network of partner companies. All partner schools have a person at the Development Unit who is responsible for establishing and coordinating relationships with businesses (see point 5 below). Schools contact companies and employers who see mutual benefits in such collaboration.
2. Collaboration with Industry Leaders
Vocational schools aim to attract the best private sector players in their regions. They seek to work with companies that have a clear vision for the future and are willing to invest in further growth of their business.
3. A Win-Win Situation for All Parties Involved
A precondition for the arrangement of the apprenticeships is that the three parties get involved and benefit:
- Apprentices improve their skills through practical learning;
- Companies invest in training their prospective employees;
- Public vocational education institutions help reduce public expenditures on practical training.
4. Creating an Inspiring Environment
Our partner schools and the project team have a common goal: to create in Albania an environment that cultivates learning through apprenticeships. Both the project team and partner VET providers, in collaboration with employment agencies, work to increase awareness among beneficiary groups. To reach apprenticeship agreements, they develop instruments that enable monitoring and much more.
5. Business Relations Coordinator at the Development Unit
The Business Relations Coordinator in the Development Unit is responsible for establishing links between schools and private companies and organizing various activities to connect students to jobs. S4J provides ongoing support and training to Business Relations Coordinators, so that this key function is consolidated for all partner providers.
6. Parents’ Involvement
Support by parents and family members throughout the apprenticeship period is crucial. Higher involved parents, higher chances for successful apprenticeships.
7. Trained In-Company Instructors
Training in-company instructors is one of the many aspects that the project considers as a key element to improve the quality of apprenticeships and to ensure that all students involved will benefit from them. If the instructors are committed to their new apprentices, this will inspire youngsters to make a significant contribution to the company.