New initiative for youth employment through skills development presented in Tirana

Feb 24, 2015

Briefings by the Swiss Foundation for Innovation

The Embassy of Switzerland, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and UNDP embarked on a new initiative which aims to develop skills for young people necessary for the labour market.

“Vocational education and skills development are no longer foreign concepts in Albania’s context. In fact they are the real and needed alternative that promises to improve the employment perspectives especially for the young”, said Swiss Ambassador H.E. Christoph Graf. He went on to note that  that training and employment opportunities are paramount for Albania’s youth due to the country’s young average age, youth’s ability to adapt to change and embrace the newest, and the need for early exposure to skills and employment as a way to improve lives.
“That is why together with the UNDP and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth we have set out in this new initiative that aims to increase employability for young women and men. This project will support the broader frame-work and promote new and diversified ways for employment”, continued the Ambassador.
The Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, Mr. Erion Veliaj highlighted: “Vocational training is one of the key elements of the new economic model and this is why it is an important priority for the government. We have just completed a comprehensive reform that is now showing initial results – yet the full outcomes will require many years. In this framework, projects like the one we are launching today provide a very important assistance not only by guaranteeing employment for Albanian men and women. First of all, such projects enable us to see the dual system in action – a system that saved countries like Switzerland and Germany from the economic crisis and a system that we are well poised to apply”.
The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative Ms. Zineb-Touimi Benjelloun emphasized that youth and youth employment require the joint efforts of various institutions and many actors. “The programme presented today puts youth and youth employment at its center. Youth employment challenge is multifaceted. Therefore this program also calls for multiple levels of intervention”, said Ms. Benjelloun.
The ‘Skills Development for Employment’ programme aims to increase employment opportunities for young women and men in both urban and rural areas of Albania. The programme comes at a time when vocational education and training have received more attention and is viewed as a viable means of preparing young people for gainful professions and employment. It addresses a persistent problem in Albania’s economy: mismatch between labor market requirements and skills gained through education. An important element that will be developed is the ‘dual educational system’ that provides youth an opportunity to both learn and work at the same time.
Examples of already established dual system elements were presented during the launching event.
Swiss Embassy’s contribution includes the financial support of nearly 2.8 million Euros as well as linkages with the reputed Swiss dual education system that combines learning with gainful work.
This is the latest initiative in a long series of programmes and projects that the Swiss Federation has funded and supported in Albania in the last 20 years. One of the achievements was the improvement made in secondary vocational schools throughout Albania where new curricula, teacher training and high quality equipment and workshops were established, providing opportunities for youth especially from rural areas to gain skills and find employment or self-employment.
UNDP works with the government and people of Albania, including its civil society and businesses, to strengthen the rule of law, promote human rights and freedoms, protect the environment and support economic and social reforms for social inclusion and an equitable society.
Since 2009, UNDP has supported labor market interventions in the form of active labor market measures through public private partnerships for youth employment thus tackling the labor exclusion of low skilled and vulnerable youth as well as other socially excluded groups.

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