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Priority for apprentices

Posted by Nick Prag at 25 June 2015, 12:30 CET |
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More than forty companies and other organisations joined the European Alliance for Apprenticeships this week, committing to making available around 140,000 apprenticeships and training opportunities for young people.

The alliance (EafA) brings together public authorities, businesses, social partners, chambers, vocational education and training providers, youth representatives, and other key actors to promote apprenticeship schemes and initiatives across Europe.

EafA, launched in July 2013, and coordinated by the European Commission, has a remit to reform apprenticeship systems, promote the benefits of apprenticeships, and encourage smart use of funding and resources.

Why is this important? Apprenticeships, as well as work-based learning, ease the transition from education and training to work. Not only that, but evidence suggests that countries with a strong VET and apprenticeship system have lower levels of youth unemployment.

EAfA therefore promotes youth employment through boosting the quality and supply of apprenticeships. It also reduces the disparity between skills and labour demand.

For their part, companies which take on apprentices are likely to benefit from a net profit on their investment, either during the apprenticeship or soon after by employing a fully trained worker.

At the same time, VET students and apprentices will learn valuable workplace skills in a professional environment, ensuring a greater degree of future employability.

The Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen has welcomed the new partners. “Helping Europe’s young people to access quality jobs is at the top of my priorities”, she said. “Together we will create new opportunities for young people to learn the skills and gain the experience needed in the labour market. “

Apprenticeships are seen as part of the tool-kit to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment in Europe. With more than 6 million young people currently unemployed in the European Union, businesses point at difficulties in finding employees with the necessary skills and stress the need to shorten the gap between skills provided and skills needed.

We look forward to more companies and other organisations following this example and becoming involved in this important initiative.

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.