What is the Programme About
Albania is a middle-income country that over the past two and half decades has made a significant stride in establishing a consolidated market economy. Due to strong growth performance (annual growth rate at 6%), Albania grew from the poorest nation in Europe in the early 1990s to the status of middle-income country in 2008. Despite the growth trend, the structure of the country’s economy is dominated by small enterprises (95%), which despite having a substantial contribution in terms of both economic growth and employment, have limited potential for job creation. With a narrow export and production base, and limited innovation capacities, the competitiveness of Albania’s economy is weak. The Albanian Government has committed to transforming the economy from an import-dependent, consumption-based, and informal economy, to one that is based on sustainable job-creation and increased productivity. As such, it has largely recognized the need to systematically address employment by re-orienting the vocational education and training system towards labor market needs and modernizing and extending the outreach of employment services.
Main employment challenges
• More jobs: What can Albania do to create more jobs, and manage the benefits of growth more inclusive? What can be done to better integrate the young into the workforce?
• Better jobs: How can the quality of education be improved to lead to better jobs?
• Sustainable jobs: Sustainable job creation needs to rely on private sector growth and structural reforms to increase the long-term potential of the economy.
To achieve the programme purpose and finally the programme goal, the programme will focus in 3 strategic fields that will aim to improve the governance and quality of service provision in VET and employment promotion in Albania.
· Outcome 1: The institutional capacity of key actors in VET and Employment (Ministry, NAVETQ, NAES) is strengthened
· Outcome 2: The employment service portfolio is based on a balanced demand-and supply-side oriented approach
· Outcome 3: A standardized Quality Assurance (QA) framework is in place that improves the image of VET and fosters linkages between school and world of work
What have we accomplished so far?
Since the beginning of this phase, in January 2019, in a comprehensive and participatory approach, MFE, NES and NAVETQ has been involved in a consultation process of the Yearly Operational Plan (YPO), addressing the needs for interventions as described in priority activities for the first year in the SD4E project document. During this consolidation phase, SD4E will focus on moving away from direct technical assistance towards capacity development approach, ensuring that the staff of all the relevant institutions have the skills and the tools to implement the employment and skills development reform.
The programme staff has ensured that all the project activities abide to the following principles: (1) have the full ownership of the national counterparts; (2) are implemented in a participatory approach, involving all the relevant individuals at the local and central level; and (3) are coordinated with all the other actors, who contribute to the employment and skills development reform agenda.
As a result of the joint efforts, in the reporting period, the partners, with the support of the SD4E, achieved the following main results:
At the central level
1. Action Plan 2019 – 2022 of the National Employment and Skills Strategy was revised based on findings from the mid-term review, and wide consultations with stakeholders (Thematic Group, IPMG, Civil Society Organisations). The NESS Action Plan 2019-2022 was adopted by the Council of Ministers (DCM No. 659, dated 10.10.2019).
2. Comprehensive functional analysis of the Ministry and NES was conducted and new organisational structure and modern functions were proposed for the National Employment and Skills Agency (NAES). These proposals were adopted by the Government through the Decision of Council of Ministers, No. 554, dated 31.07.2019) on the Organization and Functioning of NAES. The organizational setup of NAES was adopted in December 2019 by and Order of the Prime Minister.
3. A proposal of functions and structures for the responsible Policies Department at the Ministry level was developed and endorsed by the Deputy Minister of MoFE.
4. The Concept of the Social Employment Fund – based on the stipulations of the Employment Promotion Law – was developed by a team of experts engaged by UNDP. The first bylaw on the Social Employment Fund was submitted for approval in October 2019.
5. The bylaws on Employment Promotion Programmes (ALMPs) were partially developed during July – November 2019. One bylaw on the Wage Subsidies, On-the-Job-Training and Internships Programmes was submitted for approval (adopted by the Council of Ministers on 15.01.2020)
6. A comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for all institutions responsible to implement employment and VET policies was developed and consulted with MoFE, NAES and NAVETQ.
7. Impact evaluation report on the Employment Promotion Programmes, implemented during 2016-2017 by NES;
At the meso-level
1. Assessment and revision report of the current typology and implementation approach of the ALMPs to better address the needs of the unemployed jobseekers registered in the Employment Offices.
2. The Active Labour Market Programmes were reconceptualized based on an approach that focuses on the profiling and needs of the jobseekers. Existing programmes were re-designed with regards to delivery mode; new packages, such as the Community Employment Programme were introduced and endorsed by MoFE and NAES Management;
3. Ensuring the sustainability of the previous phase of SD4E’s initiatives, the Self-Employment Programme has been taken on board by the MoFE, as an integral part of the EPPs, part of the EPPs reform, targeting unemployed jobseekers, registered in the Employment Offices.
4. The Self-Assessment of 44 public VET providers was carried out for the first time and a full report was developed and endorsed by NAVETQ;
5. The support to NAVETQ on the implementation and further development of the Albanian Qualifications Framework commenced with a study visit of key national stakeholders to Ireland, as the first country that developed a National Qualifications Framework based on a social partnership approach.
6. A comprehensive VET review, including a description of the current level of VET reform implementation, an outcome analysis of the VET system and a road map for systemic private sector engagement in VET is being carried out by SD4E. More than 100 representatives from the government (MoFE, NAVETQ, NES), VET providers, private companies and students of VET were consulted in focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. The first draft report was prepared by the expert.
7. The consultation process for a systemic private sector engagement in VET commenced as part of the VET review process. A workshop with the participation of main employers’ organizations and associations (Union of Albanian Producers, Albanian Tourism Association, Albanian Food Industry, Albanian IT Association) took place in November 2019. Consultation process focused on the engagement of private sector in: a) labour market observation and skills needs’ analysis; design of VET qualifications and Programmes; c) work-based learning implementation and d) assessment of professional competences
The new Employment Promotion Law has paved the road for the establishment of the National Agency for Employment and Skills (NAES), the reconceptualization of the relationship with the employers, establishment of a labour market information system and others. One key novelty of the Employment Promotion Law is the establishment of the Social Employment Fund that will be managed by NAES and will finance different types of employment programmes for people with disabilities. SD4E has supported the MoFE to draft the main by-law which regulates the organization and functioning of this new agency.
Efforts have been made by the MoFE to increase the number of VET teachers for the academic year 2019-2020. To date, the MoFE, in close collaboration with all the VET schools, have planned and budgeted a total increase of 100 teachers, which will decrease the weekly workload of VET teachers to 25 hours and respond to the need to engage new staff in the schools.