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EU boost for long-term apprenticeships in Europe

05 October 2017, 21:49 CET
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EU boost for long-term apprenticeships in Europe

Photo © jörn buchheim - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission adopted Thursday a proposal for a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships, with a view to increasing the employability and personal development of apprentices

The Commission has identified 14 key criteria that Member States and stakeholders should use to develop quality and effective apprenticeships.

Currently, there are around 3.7 million apprenticeship students in Europe. While some EU Member States have very long and effective traditions regarding apprenticeships, others are in the process of establishing or strengthening their apprenticeship systems.

Overall, 60-70% of apprentices move into a job directly following their apprenticeship, and in some cases this increases to 90%.

"Apprenticeships are the 'Gold Standard' in vocational education and training," said Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen: "Two out of three apprentices move straight into jobs after finishing their education. With today's new framework, we define what makes apprenticeships shine. Once adopted, the framework will ensure that both learners and employers benefit from quality apprenticeships," she said.

To assess the quality and effectiveness of an apprenticeship, the proposed Framework proposes seven criteria for learning and working conditions:

(1) Written contract; (2) Learning outcomes; (3) Pedagogical support; (4) Workplace component; (5) Pay and/or compensation; (6) Social protection; (7) Work, health and safety conditions.

The Framework also proposes seven criteria for framework conditions:

(8) Regulatory framework; (9) Involvement of social partners; (10) Support for companies; (11) Flexible pathways and mobility; (12) Career guidance and awareness raising; (13) Transparency; (14) Quality assurance and graduate tracking.

The EU gives support to implementation of the criteria through the European Social Fund, which contributes up to 27 billion euros to education and training, and through various other instruments.

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships has so far mobilised over 750,000 places for young people. At least 390,000 apprenticeships have already been offered under the Youth Guarantee. Erasmus+ supports mobility for apprentices, including a new ErasmusPro initiative aimed at supporting 50,000 placements of vocational learners in companies abroad for the period 2018-2020. As efforts are bearing fruit to expand the number of apprenticeships, it is vital to know what the criteria for success are. This is what the new Framework provides.

The proposal will now be discussed by Member States with a view to it being adopted by the Council. The Commission says it is already preparing a new set of support services to help Member States and stakeholders implement this Framework through knowledge sharing, networking and peer-learning activities.

Proposed Initiative to boost apprenticeship

Initiative to boost apprenticeships in 
Europe - background guide

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