Remarks by Ambassador Donald Lu at the Awards Ceremony for Vocational Training Graduates

Minister Ahmetaj, Minister Nikolla, Amb. Ndisi, Mr. Ilirjani, Director Micko, Ms. Laçi, dear graduates,

One of my first jobs was as a baker.  It was my first year in university and I woke up every day at five in the morning and learned to bake bread, cookies, pies and cakes.  It was a great job because the whole bakery smelled like wonderful desserts and fresh bread.

I know some of you graduates have taken advanced cooking courses, offered by amazing instructors like Xhafer Bejdo from Durres.  Others have learned about managing tourism businesses, serving customers and working as receptionists.  A special thanks to the main business partners of this project:  the Hotel Tirana International, the Serenity Hotel Tirana, and the Restaurant Delux of Durres.

I am very pleased to hear that this program has placed 164 of you as interns in Albania’s vibrant tourism sector.  I love that 62 already have found jobs.  I know that many more of you will find jobs in the days ahead.

So many talented young people in Albania are looking for good jobs.  We also know that many companies find it hard to find qualified and trained employees.  Bravo to Elton Ilirjani and the Headhunter Group for being a pioneer in finding jobs and training smart and capable Albanians to compete for those jobs.

We are proud to partner with the Swedish Government, but also with the Ministry of Finance and the Economy which runs the vocational training centers in Albania.  Our goal is that this successful pilot program can be expanded by the Finance Ministry and the Economy to include thousands of vocational trainees from across this country.

I encourage more young people to apply for this successful program this year.   You want good jobs and we want you to be ready for the modern economy.