FACT SHEET: People First

Speeches Shim

A group of staff who work at a hotel pose on stairs in front of hotel sign
The "HH Boutique" Hotel in Dhërmi operates as a genuine hotel and restaurant business but with staff entirely made up of young trainees and interns.
Hung Vo for USAID/Albania


Name: People First
Duration: September 2016 – September 2018
Budget: $749,744
Implementer:  The Headhunter


Despite the great economic potential, Albanian’s tourism sector does not generate the job growth that its potential would otherwise suggest. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s report, tourism accounts for 4.1% of GDP and directly supports 50,500 jobs or 5.3% of the labor force. This is expected to grow to 62,000 jobs by 2025. However, as the tourist season is still very short in Albania, jobs in tourism are viewed as low-skilled, seasonal jobs rather than a career.

People First is a 24-month human resources focused project that leverages private sector expertise to promote employability of Albanians in the tourism sector through the provision of employer-valued technical and practical trainings. The project creates partnerships between prospective employees, Vocational Training Centers, and businesses, and establish pathways for prospective employees, particularly youth and women, to gain skills and enter the workforce. The project focuses in four regions: Albania’s southern coast, Durres-Kavaja corridor, Shkodra and Albania’s northern mountains, and the Korca region including Lake Ohrid, Pogradec, and Voskopoja.

The purpose of the activities is to contribute to improvements in tourism sector, including improvements to Albania’s business enabling environment and workforce capacities, and to serve as catalysts for job creation and economic growth. The project will be implemented by The Headhunter, Albania’s largest human resource company, together with Junior Achievement Albania to outreach and motivate youth, including young women and minorities.



Based on data from the skills partnerships and market research, People First will be design a market-based training program or “Skills Academy” targeted for youth and women. Skills Academy will include training for the entry level jobs in the tourism industry. The training program will be unique in that it will be competency–based and practice–oriented, and as such linked to short and long-term internship and job placements opportunities.


As providers of vocational education whose operations are funded and regulated by the Albanian government, VTC’s are best positioned to provide such skills. People First will train VTC instructors from each of the four project sites on market based approaches to training development and soft skills (customer service, time management, effective communication, including cross-cultural communication, problem solving, and teamwork). It will also discuss teaching methods with a focus on interactive methodology, including specific techniques to encourage woman and youth to participate in the classroom activities.


People First will establish focus groups with business owners and human resources managers to assess the knowledge, skills, and traits that they need for tourist sector jobs. The project will facilitate discussions among business owners and the National Labor Office and VTCs on practical education opportunities, including internships and job placements, and develop a training program for business owners and human resources managers. The training will have in focus on hiring, staff development, mentoring/supervision, and performance appraisals.

  • At least 10 businesses provide active input into the skills partnerships and curriculum
  • At least 4 VTCs offer branded tourism training programs in tourism “hot spots”
  • At least 2,000 individuals complete the training programs for the tourism sector
  • At least 85% of graduates complete an internship
  • At least 85% of graduates report that career guidance increased their job opportunities