Press release | 10 February 2012
A €3 million project, with funding by the European Union to improve the employability of the Albanian labour force was launched on 10th of February, 2012 in Tirana, Albania. Implemented by the International Labour Organisation in partnership with relevant ministries and the social partners the project will seek to enhance the capacity of the Labour Inspectorate to assess working conditions, introduce health and safety legislation in line with EU law and close the existing gap between the skills demanded by the market and those taught through vocational education and training.
The global crisis has highlighted the importance of human resources for growth and prosperity. Albania’s economic growth is yet to be matched by a substantial growth in jobs. Currently, Albania has a low employment rate compared with the EU average, very low employment of women, high rates of long-term and discouraged jobseekers, and a mismatch between skills demanded and skills offered in the labour market. This new EU-ILO programme seeks to redress these problems by aligning Albanian health and safety legislation to the EU standards, developing a gender-sensitive Employment and Training Strategy for 2013-2020, raising the capacities of the National Employment Service, the State Labour Inspectorate, and improve vocational education and training through demand-driven qualifications and partnerships with the private sector. Improving capacities will be instrumental to the enforcement of health and safety legislation especially in the construction, mining and energy sectors where workers are more exposed to improper working conditions.
The project’s objectives
The project is composed of three main components all linked to the improvement of labour market institutions and increasing employability of the Albanian labour force:
Component 1 - Modernisation of the State Labour Inspectorate;
The project aims at facilitating the implementation of European occupational safety and health standards through harmonization of legislation, improvement of human and technical capacities of the State Labour Inspectorate and raising awareness on occupational risks and preventive measures
Component 2: Modernisation of the National Employment Service (NES)
The new programme will provide support in improving the quality of services provided to jobseekers and employers, in line with the EU Employment service standards; increasing understanding of skills needs, based on labour market demand, through skill needs surveys, also at regional level; improving quality and relevance of training provided by the 10 public vocational education and training centres; improving the flexibility and adaptability of Active Labour Market Programs at all levels, including self-employment; improving employment services for vulnerable groups, including youth, women and people with disabilities. Special attention will be devoted to vulnerable groups, including youth, women and people with disabilities.
Component 3- Vocational Education and Training (VET) Reform
The skills provided by the vocational education and training system need to be in line, both in terms of quantity and quality, to the labour market requirements. Therefore the new EU-ILO project will actively involve trade unions and employers’ organizations in aligning vocational education to the labour market demand as well as in the adaptation of existing regulations and legal frameworks. Assessment and monitoring of the impact of training programmes will be further strengthened, evaluation studies will be systematically carried out and results will be disseminated through an efficient Management Information System.
During the launch ceremony, the Head of the EU Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi noted the importance of human resources for welfare and prosperity, stating that “meeting Albania’s challenges towards the EU – its political, economic and social development – relies on the capacities of people here, of Albanians”.
Since 2004, the EU has supported the development of education and training in Albania with €19 million. This project will be implemented by the International Labour Organisation in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sciences, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the social partners over a period of 2 years.