Signs of the corona pandemic can be seen in the lobby of the “Albanian Star Hotel” in Durrës, but life still carries on: Guests talk among themselves, and members of staff go about their jobs wearing facemasks. At the reception, a member of staff is showing a young man the hotel’s computer software. A guest comes up to them to hand in his room key and ask about what there is to see and do in the Albanian port city. The young man gives him some advice – confidently, friendly and openly. “Just now, we were practising how to communicate with customers. Now I could put it into practice for real”, says Fabian Kodra. He is 23 years old and participating in a training program held by the GIZ which is still going ahead despite the pandemic, though of course while strictly observing all the relevant hygiene regulations.
The GIZ in Albania offers young people a variety of training programs via the German Information Centre on Migration, Vocational Training and Careers (DIMAK). The hands-on training makes it easier for them to break into the jobs market. They spend four weeks learning the basics in fields such as tourism and gastronomy. They welcome hotel guests, make the beds in the rooms and serve meals in the dining room – and in the process learn how to get things done while using their own initiative and how to present themselves as competent and willing to help. After completing the training they are awarded with a certificate. The training programs form part of the "Returning to New Opportunities" programme run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). They are aimed both at returnees as well as locals who are looking for new opportunities.