For the past 4 years, the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) has promoted the value of this form of learning. EAfA is now entering a new development phase with the European Network of Apprentices. The Erasmus+ programme is also making great progress to facilitate mobility of apprentices across Europe.
The EAfA is a unique platform that brings governments together with other key players such as businesses, social partners, chambers, vocational education and training (VET) providers, regions, youth representatives or think tanks. The goal is to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeship in Europe. More recently, the mobility of apprentices has also emerged as an important topic.
During a recent event in Malta, the EAfA celebrated 4 years of success since its launch in 2013, taking stock of its achievements while also showing a way forward. This was the chance to officially launch the brand new European Network of Apprentices, with the support of the European Youth Forum and OBESSU, that makes sure that the voices of young apprentices are heard in discussions on VET and apprenticeships in Europe. This network promotes quality apprenticeships, which put the learner at the centre and respects the rights of young people as students and as workers. Involving young people in decisions that affect them is crucial. That’s why the European Network of Apprentices will work to ensure that these young people are represented in the set-up, design and implementation of apprenticeship programmes.
Apprenticeships have been in the spotlight recently. During the 30th anniversary celebratory event held on 13 June in Strasbourg, Jens Schmitz, a German apprentice, received a symbolic award together with another 32 representatives of the Erasmus+ generation, one from each of the participating European countries. The awards, handed out by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, recognise extraordinary Erasmus+ stories that have set an example for the younger generations.
To facilitate access to VET mobility, the new Erasmus+ app was also launched during the celebrations. Aimed at simplifying applications procedures and enhancing the Erasmus+ experience, the app will certainly make life easier for many young Erasmus+ apprentices.