Skills boosting camp and weekends

Skills boosting camp and weekends

Boosting the skills of low-performance teenagers for their integration in Vocational Education and employment

Implementation period: 07/2022 – 07/2023

Financed by: UNICEF Albania

Over a timespan of two years, our project has made significant steps in engaging youth and promoting Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Albania. We targeted two key groups: 9th-grade students with the aim of introducing them to VET and 10th-grade low-performing students already enrolled in VET to enhance their integration and reduce dropout rates.

“Skills Boost Camps”

In July 2022, CCS launched the “Skills Boost” camps in Tirana and Korca districts. Welcoming over 150 youngsters that finished 9th grade, these camps served as incubators of creativity and skill development, by providing hands-on experiences in VET subjects like cooking and sewing, career orientation sessions, and opportunities for personal growth through activities such as communicating through arts, sports tournaments, IT workshops and much more. Guest speakers, such as the singer Marsela Cibukaj, added a touch of inspiration to career orientation sessions, by sharing the challenges, lessons, and skills necessary for a successful career.

“The VET Days”

Transitioning into the second year, the focus shifted to 250 9th-grade students enrolled in secondary education schools across the project areas. Through “The VET Days,” students visited professional schools’ ground, engaged in mini-courses, and interacted with teachers and former students. This immersive exposure to VET education encouraged many students to consider enrolling, thus contributing to their academic and personal development. VET days have been embraced with enthusiasm both from secondary and professional schools representing a model to be followed and multiplied at a larger scale. 

Skills Boost Weekends

At the heart of this project are the “Skills Boost Weekends”, that have had the largest impact and reverberation thought VET schools. Implemented in 19 schools in 7 districts of Albania, this component of the project targeted around 1000 10th grade students in 7 districts of Albania. In a series of colourful activities carried out both in Albania’s beautiful touristic attractions, and in schools, students immersed in activities that combined subjects as language and communication, math, and ICT with career orientation discussions, softs skills focus group discussions, environmental protection and voluntary work, hands-on workshops, including bicycle days maintenance, which propelled students towards personal growth, stronger connection with peers and educators, and increased involvement and desire to attend school.

Impact Beyond the Classroom

The project’s impact extended beyond confines of school walls of the participating schools, fostering collaboration among educators, students, parents, businesses, municipal and educational institutions, and the local community. Improved group dynamics and communication skills among students and teachers is but one of the many positive outcomes of our approach. Together, we hope to have provided a model that the schools can replicate for a more integrated and empowered generation of youth in Albania.

Beneficiaries:

  • +250 9th grade students have participated in the VET Days aimed at familiarising and promoting VET education.
  • Two ‘Skill Boost Camps’ organised and Korca and Tirane with the participation of around 150 9th grade students.
  • +330 Skill Boost Weekend activities organised to date within the school grounds, businesses, cultural and historical sites, museums, natural parks, nature etc. 
  • +1400 10th grade VET students have participated at least once in the Skill Boost Weekends, to date.
  • +40 VET teachers trained in program implementation and identifying and addressing behaviours related to trauma in students.
  • +40 Secondary Education and VET teachers trained in program implementation for the VET Schools Days
  • 21 VET schools in 7 regions
  • 6 Secondary Education schools from 3 regions
  • +15 experts on education, Career orientation, environment, arts, psychology, sports, and green mobility involved.

Designed documents:

  • Program in modules for the development of VET student’s basic skills.
  • Guidelines for testing practical learning experiences of 9th grade Secondary Education students in VET schools.

Achievements:

  • In the first year of implementation of the project, about 90% of students have had positive changes in the psycho-emotional aspect: they are friendlier, more communicative with their teachers and peers.
  • Also, 86% of students have had positive changes in school attendance. None of the students involved in the project has left school.
  • 79% of students have improved basic digital skills in the use of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, the use of computers for collecting and processing information, etc.
  • 75% of students have improved basic communication skills through self-presentation, interpersonal communication, graphics, PowerPoint, photos, and videos, etc.
  • 79% of students have improved basic mathematical skills in using measurement units, calculating the costs of a trip, or a meal, etc.