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Commission adopts initiative to boost apprenticeships in Europe

05/10/2017
Commission adopts initiative to boost apprenticeships in Europe © Shutterstock / Phovoir

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships.

This initiative is part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, launched in June 2016. It also ties in with the European Pillar of Social Rights, which foresees a right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning.

The Commission has identified 14 key criteria that EU countries and stakeholders should use to develop quality and effective apprenticeships. This initiative will help increase the employability and personal development of apprentices and contribute towards a highly skilled and qualified workforce responsive to labour market needs.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "We want to make sure that young people learn the skills they need for work. Apprenticeships are the 'Gold Standard' in vocational education and training. 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."

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:

  1. Regulatory framework;
  2. Involvement of social partners;
  3. Support for companies;
  4.  Flexible pathways and mobility;
  5. Career guidance and awareness raising;
  6. Transparency;
  7. Quality assurance and graduate tracking.

The Commission supports the implementation of these criteria through relevant EU funding. The European Social Fund alone contributes up to 27 billion euros to education and training, and the EU supports apprenticeships also through various other instruments.

In addition, 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.