Guidelines to enable trainees to acquire high-quality work experience under safe and fair conditions, and to increase their chances of finding a good quality job, have been proposed today by the European Commission.
The proposal for a Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships would in particular call on Member States to ensure that national law or practice respects the principles set out in the guidelines, and to adapt their legislation where necessary.
Traineeships are a key element of the Youth Guarantee proposed by the European Commission in December 2012 and adopted by the EU's Council of Ministers in April 2013.
Currently one in three traineeships is substandard with regard to working conditions or learning content, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey. Many of these substandard traineeships are used by employers to replace entry level jobs.
The guidelines would increase transparency with regard to traineeship conditions, for example by requiring that traineeships be based on a written traineeship agreement.
The agreement should cover learning content (educational objectives, supervision) and working conditions (limited duration, working time, clear indication whether trainees would be paid or otherwise compensated and whether they would qualify for social security).
Indeed, traineeship providers would be asked to disclose in the vacancy notice whether the traineeship would be paid.
By setting common quality standards for traineeships, the adoption of the Quality Framework for Traineeships would support the implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes by Member States.
The proposed Framework does not cover traineeships that form part of university degree or that are mandatory to access a specific profession.