The European Alliance for Apprenticeships is launched today by Commissioners Androulla Vassiliou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth) and László Andor (Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) at the 2013 WorldSkills competition in Leipzig, Germany.
The Alliance will help to fight youth unemployment by improving the quality and supply of apprenticeships across the EU through a broad partnership of key employment and education stakeholders. It also seeks to change attitudes to apprenticeships. It will in particular identify the most successful apprenticeship schemes in the EU and apply appropriate solutions in each Member State.
The Alliance is supported by the first-ever joint Declaration by the European Commission, the Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers and European level trade union and employer organisations (the European Trade Union Confederation - ETUC, BusinessEurope, the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public services - CEEP and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises - UAPME). The Alliance promotes measures which will be supported by the European Social Fund, the Youth Employment Initiative and Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training and youth.
"We call on all stakeholders to join the European Alliance for Apprenticeships and contribute to more and better apprenticeships in Europe," said the Commissioners in a joint statement. "Apprenticeships can play a crucial role in tackling youth unemployment by giving young people the skills and experience sought by employers."
Countries with strong vocational education and training (VET) systems, such as Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands and Austria, tend to have less youth unemployment. The Commission confirms this analysis in the latest European Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review which indicates that apprenticeships and traineeships are often a stepping stone to a permanent job. This is why apprenticeships are a key element of the Youth Guarantee , proposed by the Commission as part of the Youth Employment Package in December 2012 and adopted by the Council in April 2013.
"We need to pull together and act now to ensure that our young people get the skills they need to succeed in their personal and professional lives," said Commissioner Vassiliou. "Given the unacceptable levels of youth unemployment there is an urgent need for those responsible for education and employment to work together to facilitate the transition of young Europeans from school to the world of work", added Commissioner Andor.
The Alliance will support national reforms seeking to set up or strengthen apprenticeship schemes. The Commission invites all potential partners to join the Alliance: public authorities, businesses, trade unions, chambers of commerce, providers of vocational education and training, youth representatives and employment services. It is encouraging them to make firm commitments on boosting public and private funding for apprenticeship-type schemes.