High youth unemployment remains a major challenge for Albania. Helvetas is enabling businesses, government and citizens to create jobs, improve labor matching and develop in-demand skills.
Around the world, young people are on average twice as likely as other age groups to be unemployed. In countries with an already high overall unemployment rate, such as Albania, this means that every third of 15-25 year-olds is struggling to find a job.
Albania’s economy is growing, but the growth is not translating into enough jobs. This is especially true for young and low-educated people. Their skills do not match those demanded by employers. They lack the business acumen necessary in a competitive work environment. They are more likely to remain unemployed long-term, which leads to skills degradation.
RisiAlbania aims to increase employment opportunities for young Albanian women and men, aged 15 to 29, through private sector growth, demand-oriented training, and job intermediation. The project started in 2013, and the current phase has been launched in 2017.
In both phases, RisiAlbania has focused on sectors with a high potential to create jobs for the youth: agricultural business, tourism, and information & communications technology (ICT). In total, the project helped create 946 new jobs and 5,378 matches during the first phase.
In Phase I, RisiAlbania partnered with ALMOOC, the country’s first Massive Open Online Course, to offer training in relevant programming languages, and over 1,600 Albanians took advantage of the opportunity. A national competition supported by RisiAlbania has promoted the development of new attractive products for tourists. By improving agricultural processing, the project has created jobs for the youth and socially disadvantaged groups in rural areas.
Iva Kërtusha (24), a full-time employee at a software company and a part-time instructor at Epoka University
To improve job matching, RisiAlbania partnered with local business to create Profesionisti, a recruitment service for low- and middle-skilled workers. Duapuane, the first employment portal in Albania, developed a viable business model with the project’s support. Shows on Albania’s major television channels and radio stations sparked off a nationwide discussion about unemployment. Over 70% of their audience said that the programmes had changed their attitudes to job search and career.
Rubin Kadiu (33) was inspired by Club FM radio show, launched with the support of the project, to start his own business - an electronics store in Tirana
Today, the project continues to support mechanisms and institutions that mediate between job seekers and employers, including the National Employment Service. In agriculture, the main priority is developing growth-oriented business models in rural areas and in subsectors that have potential for youth employment such as fruits and vegetables and medical aromatic plans. In tourism, the project is targeted at strengthening the links between businesses, tour operators, and local government in southern Albania. In the ICT sector, RisiAlbania focuses on promoting the Albanian comparative advantages in Business Process Outsourcing, stimulating investment and improving the regulatory framework.
The project is a mandate of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) implemented by Helvetas and Partners Albania.