On 2 December 2016, the tri-partite Advisory Committee on Vocational Training (ACVT) adopted unanimously an Opinion on a Shared Vision on Quality and Effective Apprenticeships and Work-based Learning. The opinion represents an important call from governments, trade unions and employers' organisations from EU Member States and partner countries to further strengthen efforts to increase quality and effectiveness of apprenticeships and work-based learning.
It comes at a right moment and supports the actions to modernise vocational education and training (VET) defined in the Investing in Europe's Youth package adopted this week by the Commission.
The European Commissioner for employment, social affairs, skills and labour mobility, Marianne Thyssen reacted to the opinion by stating: "I welcome that trade unions, employers and governments from across Europe have agreed on key elements of apprenticeships, work-based learning and priority areas for action. Building on this ambitious shared vision, the Commission will work together with member states and social partners to support apprenticeship reforms, including a quality framework for apprenticeships and measures to step up long term mobility of apprentices."
The opinion is a significant contribution from EU VET stakeholders on initiatives announced in the Commission Work Programme 2017, particularly on the proposal to establish a European Quality Framework on Apprenticeships. It furthers calls on the Commission to develop a set of support services for knowledge sharing, networking and cooperation to assist where needed apprenticeship and work-based learning reforms at national level as well as promote higher levels of mobility of apprentices across Europe.
At the meeting of ACVT In June 2016, European Social partners proposed to adopt an ACVT opinion on the topic of apprenticeships as a follow up to their projects 'A European quality framework for apprenticeships' and 'Cost effectiveness of apprenticeship schemes' and their subsequent joint statement on 30 May 2016.
In its last meeting in November 2016, the Committee discussed a draft Opinion on quality and effective apprenticeships and work-based learning. A revised version of the Opinion was adopted through a written procedure on 2 December 2016 with a strong support expressed by Member States and social partners' representatives. Also EFTA and candidate countries showed their agreement with the text.