Recent reports highlight the potential of apprenticeships in tackling youth unemployment.
See the reports on the BBC: EU backs apprenticeships to tackle youth unemployment and German apprenticeships: A model for Europe?
This type of practical work-based learning is often the key to a successful step into employment. The reports look at examples from the well-established German "dual system" which combines apprenticeship in a company with education in a vocational school, providing learners with both the specific vocational skills and the more general skills they need for labour market success.
Increasing the number of apprentices in Europe is a priority agreed in the so-called "Copenhagen Process" for cooperation in vocational education and training (VET). Helping VET learners, including apprentices, to undertake part of their training abroad is another priority. The Leonardo da Vinci programme already funds the training placements abroad of around 60,000 initial VET learners per year, and the Commission's proposal for a successor programme, Erasmus For All, aims to support 735,000 learners in this way during its 7-year life http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/vassiliou/page/erasmus-for-all_en.htm
Practical cooperation to make it easier for apprentices to train abroad is already underway. The EuroApprenticeship project http://www.euroapprenticeship.eu is building a network which provides expertise, information and support to VET providers who are organising learning mobility abroad for apprentices.