In Tirana on December 12, Cultural Heritage without Borders – Albania (CHwB Albania), the Institute of Monuments of Culture, the Regional Directorates for National Culture in Gjirokastra, Berat and Korça; the National Directorates of Public Vocational Training in Gjirokastra and Korça and “Stiliano Bandilli” High School, Berat, held a ceremony to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The MoU is the affirmation of the commitment of the parties to launch the “Skills for Employability of Tomorrow” programme. With technical support from domestic and international experts, the programme will provide certification for senior craftspeople (former employees of “ateliers”) and the transferring of their knowledge to new apprentices. The program aims to increase the employment opportunities of certified people and improve the level of interventions in cultural heritage buildings, according to the criteria defined in national and international legislation.
The Executive Director of CHwB Albania, Lejla Hadžić, welcomed the opportunity to conclude the MoU with the Institute of Monuments of Culture and the partners, and acknowledged the important contribution that this intensive training can give to developing the national curricula in the field of conservation and restoration in line with EU standards; to develop & continuously implement certified vocational training in historical crafts; to create prerequisites for newly certified craftspeople to be continuously employed; to enhance accessibility to training/employment opportunities and to improve the quality of restoration works in Albania.
“We are embarking on 26-month-long intensive modules in 3 historical cities of Albania: Gjirokastra, Berat and Korça. The goal is to have 60 senior craftspersons certified, while together with them to have also 100 young apprentices skilled for historical repair. This allows the Ministry of Culture to pursue its battle on the regulation of profession, to result in conservation companies employing the certified and skilled masters. This allows us to create employment opportunities for them and others. Ultimately this leads us to more quality conservation and finally to a better utilization of heritage for local development,” said Ms. Hadžić.
The Minister of Culture, Mirela Kumbaro, expressed how delighted she is about signing this new MoU. She thanked the partners for funding the project and for the trust they have shown. Ms. Kumbaro said that the partners must continuously join forces to preserve the knowledge for cultural heritage. “I consider this project very important, and this is not the first collaboration with CHwB Albania. We have found a partner whose actions are shown in the field. The model of CHwB is of vital importance because it is now followed by other actors in Gjirokastra and Berat,” stated Minister Kumbaro.
Albin Gega, Director of Education Policies, Vocational Training and Qualifications at the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, emphasized that the Ministry hopes to offer its support to many similar initiatives. Pointing to the new law on crafts, he highlighted its benefits, which protects every Albanian production within the area of cultural heritage, as an incentive for people who practice this craft, and sets correct market prices in the field.
The Ambassador of Sweden, H.E. Johan Ndisi, was pleased to acknowledge that the partners and donors laid the foundation for a successful collaboration that intends to enhance the potential and capacity of human resources in the field of cultural heritage. “It is important the fact that this program responds to specific needs. With its values and objectives, and with the European curriculum, it will increase the quality of the restorations in Albania. The partnership in this agreement is multi-dimensional, and I am happy for that. Heritage is an important asset for tourism of Albania,” Mr. Ndisi stressed.
For H.E. Anke Holstein, deputy head of Mission of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania, this MoU is the example of a perfect combination. “I’m happy that in this combination we have youth and heritage. With this MoU the youth has a model for dreaming and building their future in the country,” she said.
The “Skills for Employability of Tomorrow” programme will be implemented through two modules of 6-month intensive training in the cities of Gjirokastra, Berat and Korça. The training consists of 3 parts (theory, theory-practice and practice). Both modules will be implemented during the period 2016-2017 and will be the first pilot program of this type in Albania.
“Skills for Employability of Tomorrow” is funded by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Government of Sweden.