Getting young people straight to work in Balkan countries and Turkey Four Balkan countries and Turkey are joining forces at a seminar on 26-27 October in Budva (Montenegro) to improve the quality of apprenticeships and make it easier for young people to find jobs. The event is organised under the the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) – a platform bringing together governments and key stakeholders to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships in Europe. With Serbia having joined in 2017, all five candidate countries are now part of the Alliance. Part of the external action policy of the European Union, this event is organised by the Commission together with the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Union agency charged with supporting the growth of candidate countries by enabling skills development. The ETF Director, Cesare Onestini, said: “Countries that have a strong tradition of apprenticeship have lower youth unemployment. Building bridges between theory and practice, and between education and the labour market, is key in promoting employability as well as a fairer and more inclusive society in Europe and its neighbourhood. By investing in quality apprenticeships, the Balkan countries and Turkey are putting young people on a fast track to employment and success in life”. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships regional seminar is part of the European Vocational Skills Week, a series of event organised all over Europe to improve the attractiveness and image of vocational education and training. Dr Damir Sehovic, Minister of Education of Montenegro will open the two-day event in Montenegro on Thursday 26 October. Full program here. Background Improving the quality of apprenticeships contributes to the EU's focus on jobs, growth and investment. Last 5 October the EC has proposed a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships. This is part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe and is in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights, which defends a right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning. By helping its neighbouring countries to improve the quality of apprenticeships, the EU supports growth opportunities through the development of human capital. As part of the external action policy of the EU, the European Alliance for Apprenticeships is a platform that brings together governments with other key stakeholders from the EU and the candidate countries. In this area of work, the European Commission relies on the expertise of the ETF - the only EU agency working for political stability and opportunities for growth through learning in 29 EU’s candidate and neighbouring countries.