Albania has an incredible found of build culture heritage. Only the World Heritage Sites of Berat and Gjirokastra list approximately 800 monuments. Albania as a country started to protect their culture heritage relatively early. The historical Cities of Berat and Gjirokastra have been declared as museum cities since 1961. In 1962 were established specialized institutions, called “conservation ateliers”, responsible for maintenance and restoration works on monuments. These institutions employed the most skilled craftsmen at the time and functioned until the beginning of ‘90’s as schools for new apprentices.
Nowadays the skills and knowledge of the master craftsmen that learned and worked within the “ateliers” are not formally recognized and as a result many of them are left out of the market. Many of them are still full of energy and want to continue working longer and make sure that their knowledge will be transferred to the younger generations. If there is no way to engage them, the risk for their knowledge to be lost forever is high. Nevertheless, the need for their skills is also high. Monuments need constant repair and maintenance by people that have a good knowledge of traditional materials and techniques.
“Skills for Employability of Tomorrow” aims to establish a training for historical repair skills. This project started in 2016 and till now 169 experienced master craftspeople and young dedicated apprentices have been trained from four training modules, in timber, stone and plaster repair techniques in historic buildings in Berat, Durrës, Gjirokastra and Korça.
The 5th module is taking place this year in Berat.
The training is targeting both senior crafts persons and new apprentices, securing in the same time the involvement of the old craftsmen and the salvage of their knowledge by transferring it to the younger trainees.
The course is developed throughout the 6 months intensive training. During the first two months of the training the crafts persons and new apprentices, are introduced to theoretical topics of conservation, building typology, documentation, materials and techniques. After this period the young apprentices would be working in monuments restoration under the supervision of the senior crafts. Beside the practical work the trainees would follow and some theoretical lectures basically on the specific material and technique they choose to follow.