Ten vocational education providers receive grants for a stronger link with private sector

Press releases, 18.04.2024

An amount of 5.4 million Euro will go for equipment, infrastructure and joint training to partnerships between vocational educational institutions and businesses in Albania

Deputy Head of Mission at Embassy of Switzerland in Albania Philipp Arnold addressing the grant award ceremony, part of the Regional Challenge Fund.
Deputy Head of Mission at Embassy of Switzerland in Albania Philipp Arnold addressing the grant award ceremony, part of the Regional Challenge Fund. © Regional Challenge Fund

The Regional Challenge Fund – a Swiss-German cooperation – announced its third round of grants for Albanian vocational education and training (VET) providers who work together with private businesses to strengthen their offer for students and meet the needs of private sector enterprises.

“When Germany and Switzerland cooperate, you can be sure of one thing: vocational education will get a little closer to the private sector”, said Philipp Arnold, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Switzerland. “The skills taught in classrooms should align seamlessly with the needs of the private sector. And this is where the approach of the Regional Challenge Fund is so useful: it bridges the gap between education and industry, between schools and business, and eventually between employees and employers”, underlined the Swiss representative.

Albania’s Minister of Economy, Culture and Innovation also congratulated the 10 winners and highlighted that the Government of Albania has initiated a series of strategic initiatives for VET education that aim at reducing skills mismatch for all occupations and a better functioning of the labour market for all.

“For Albania, investing in vocational education and training is not just an option but a strategic imperative for sustainable growth and prosperity”, said Iven Schad, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy. “Close cooperation in dual vocational training links us with Switzerland and I am therefore particularly pleased that Switzerland is co-financing the Regional Challenge Fund”, he added.

After three rounds of applications, a total of 21 projects have been awarded in Albania through the Regional Challenge Fund. This comprises 23 vocational training institutes and 128 enterprises, allocating approximately 10.4 milion Euro so far.

The third round of applications attracted a total of 155 expressions of interest from Western Balkan 6. Out of this number 39 were received from Albania. For this third grant phase, 10 successful projects from Albania were selected allocating approximately 5.4 million Euros for investments in equipment, infrastructure and training at vocational training institutes implementing cooperative training.   

The Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) enhances the sustainable competitiveness of businesses in the Western Balkan 6 on the way to the EU single market by financing VET providers and addressing skill needs in cooperation with companies. Funder by the German and Swiss governments its works through the KfW Development Bank and the chambers of commerce from the 6 Western Balkan countries.