The European Commission's "We Mean Business" campaign aims to encourage companies to create more trainee placements to boost young people's skills and employability.
The European Commission's "We Mean Business" campaign was launched today, 17th April 2012. The campaign aims to encourage companies to increase their trainee placements in what the Commission sees as a mutually beneficial relationship for both the companies and young people. Traineeships can help young people make a smooth transition from education and training to a first good job, and the placements can help companies identify future employees with fresh ideas who could be key to future productivity and competitiveness. In 2012-2013, the Commission will provide funding support for a total of 280 000 placements through its Leonardo da Vinci and Erasmus schemes for vocational and higher education students.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: “We Mean Business will support efforts by Member States to combat youth unemployment, which has reached unacceptably high levels in some EU countries. In particular, we want to raise awareness of the value of international placements, which can improve an individual's language skills as well as helping them to be more self-confident and adaptable. Our studies show that employers increasingly value these kinds of skills."
Studies have shown that trainees with foreign language skills can help enterprises to enter new markets. On the other hand, businesses with workforces that lack language and communication skills can end up costing the companies. In a 2006 Commission survey of nearly 2000 European businesses, 11% of respondents lost a contract as a result of lack of language skills, costing them up to €50 million in total.