Gati.al: On Demand Professionals
The world of work is changing rapidly. Already more and more people are using their smart phones to look for professionals of all fields. The Gati.al platform is doing exactly this: connecting customers with market professionals. Business to Business: It is also a bridge between businesses; for example, when an IT business needs to get in touch with Coding or Programming experts.
Set up with the support of S4J, Gati.al was launched in June 2018. In the same year, it was awarded as the best mobility platform for 2018 in the 6th edition of ICT Awards Albania.
Gati.al helps professionals adjust to the demands of the moment. It also provides market experiences to VET students, particularly those studying technical profiles such as mechanics, construction and ICT, a portion of whom will be self-employed in the future.
For a wider insight, we had a chat with Julian Demeti, founder of the ‘Albanian Business Partner’ (ABP), company which also developed the Gati.al platform.
Q: How has the Gati.al platform progressed since it was launched until present?
A: Gati.al was created exactly when the market needed this platform; but, at that time people in Albania were not used to such online services. Usually, we find professionals through the recommendation of acquaintances. The platform operates with a referral system based on the quality of the service that the users receive. Customers were not familiarized to the registration forms, leading to a limited use of the platform. This made us decide to allow the open use of the platform; hence, customers can contact the professionals directly without having to register.
With the support of the ‘Skills for Jobs’ project we launched a promotion campaign which increased the number of professionals registered on the platform. The campaign also aimed at the 13th grade students of the vocational schools, who were to graduate soon and wanted to be self-employed, as well as the opportunity for apprenticeships for certain professionals. In addition to the fact that young professionals need to get promoted in the market, they are more keen of using the technology.
The number of users increases every year and we already have 3,024 professionals registered on the platform (2,879 verified) and 217 professions. A good portion of the users still ask us to suggest the best professionals. The platform enables clients to write a reference / comment once the work is completed, but this has not yet become a common practice in Albania.
Q: What about during the period of social distancing?
A: We estimate the flow on the platform through visits and phone calls. The first 2 weeks of isolation there was no activity. However, since recently we are returning to normality, there has been a growing demand for services from both individuals and businesses such as bars, restaurants, etc. which have used this period of time for a number of repairs, maintenance and renovation works.
Q: The ‘Albanian Business Partner’ company provides vocational apprenticeships to the students of ‘Gjergj Canco’ vocational school in Tirana. How has the vocational practice progressed during this period?
A: At the moment we have 25 apprentices from ‘Gjergj Canco’ school and we are ready to host another group. During this period, the company has performed its normal activities. We have been in constant communication with the apprentices and have proceeded as scheduled with the online apprenticeships. We give the students assignments and meet with them online 2-3 times per week to see their work progress and provide instructions as needed. Students have made tremendous progress over the last 2 months. Of course, not everyone has the same commitment, which is also affected by the internet access or lack of infrastructure, but we have tried to make their work as simple and flexible as possible. We have also engaged the apprentices with real projects for which they have been paid according to the contract with the company.
So far, our apprentices have been selected from the best students. But, the best in theoretical subjects are not necessarily the best in practice. For this reason, together with the school, it was decided that for the next academic year, we will provide apprenticeship opportunities to all students. After testing them in practice, we will select the best ones. We will also provide online classes with basic data to all students of the school and, after the test, the best will be selected. As such, the spirit of competition among young people will also increase.
Together with the school teachers we have discussed about their own training needs, in order for them to keep up with the trainings provided by us. Also, since our company is part of the school’s board of directors, we have thought of involving the parents’ council in the meetings of the school’s board of directors, making sure that we are all on the same boat and the students have support from all involved.