Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion


The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) is a multi-stakeholder platform aiming at:

  • Strengthening the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships in Europe
  • Promoting the mobility of apprentices

These aims are promoted through national commitments and voluntary pledges from stakeholders.

In July 2020, Commissioner Nicolas Schmit launched the renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA), giving new impetus to the EU commitment towards apprenticeships and setting out six ambitious priorities.

The renewed EAfA’s six priorities were first established in the Youth Employment Support package of 1 July 2020. They were a synthesis of inputs from different EU documents and policies, the first and foremost of which being the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships.

The renewed EAfA’s priorities include:

  • encouraging commitment among Member States and companies to quality and effective apprenticeships by fostering national apprenticeship coalitions
  • incentivising support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in providing a stable supply of quality and effective apprenticeships
  • mobilising local and regional authorities as catalysts for apprenticeships within the local business environment
  • strengthening social dialogue through more active involvement by national social partner organisations
  • proactively engaging European sectoral social dialogue committees on apprenticeships, with a view to obtaining agreement on joint sectoral pledges
  • supporting the representation of apprentices in Member States by relaunching the European Apprentices Network (EAN)

Who are the members?

In addition to national governments, members of EAfA include companies and business organisations, chambers of industry, commerce and crafts, education and training providers, youth and non-profit organisations, regional and local authorities, social partners, professional bodies and networks as well as research institutes and think tanks.

EAfA is a platform for sharing experiences and learning from best practices. It allows members to:

  • find partners
  • promote events
  • develop new ideas and activities
  • provide access to the latest news and tools on apprenticeships

The Alliance is open to all EU, EFTA and candidate countries, and stakeholders from these countries.

What are the benefits?

Apprenticeships ease the transition from education and training to work. They combine company-based training with school-based education, and lead to a nationally recognised qualification when completed.

Apprentices learn valuable workplace skills in a professional environment, which ensures a greater degree of future employability

Companies providing apprenticeships are likely to benefit from a net profit on their investment. This can be either during the apprenticeship, or soon after by employing a fully trained worker.

Evidence suggests that countries with a strong vocational education and training (VET) and apprenticeship system have lower levels of youth unemployment. Often there is a contractual relationship between the employer and the apprentice, with the apprentice being paid for their work.

The EAfA promotes youth employment and supports the aim of the Youth Guarantee, while reducing the disparity between skills supply and demand on the labour market.

What has been done so far?

The Alliance has mobilised EU Member States, EFTA and EU candidate countries, and a large number of stakeholders to engage in quality apprenticeships.

It has facilitated networking, cooperation and sharing of good practices, with Cedefop and the European Training Foundation (ETF) providing strategic expert support.

The Alliance has equally contributed to raising awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships.

Since the launch of the renewed EAfA, members have engaged in knowledge-sharing activities such as Live Discussions, webinars and high-level events.

The Alliance has created a range of activities to help facilitate quality and effective apprenticeships through the online library, Online Training Modules and the EAfA Podcast series.

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