Conference in Brussels: Paving the way to the European Alliance for Apprenticeships

Youth employment: EU support for apprenticeship and traineeship schemes

Brussels, 10-6-2013 — / — The importance of good quality apprenticeships and traineeships in the transition from education to work and for implementing the Youth Guarantee was the main focus of a conference hosted by László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in Brussels on 5-6th June. The Conference also looked at how EU funds can be used to help develop new schemes or improve existing ones, and what makes a traineeship or apprenticeship scheme successful in terms of labour market outcomes.The Youth Guarantee, agreed by the EU’s Council of Employment and Social Affairs Ministers, calls on Member States to ensure that young people are offered a job, further education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed or leaving school (see IP/12/1311MEMO/12/938SPEECH/12/910MEMO/13/152).

Commissioner Andor said: “Good quality apprenticeship and traineeships are two of the four options under a Youth Guarantee. Boosting apprenticeships and traineeships in the EU is thus crucial to putting a Youth Guarantee in place, in both quantitative and qualitative terms. Stepping up the number of apprenticeships and traineeships will increase opportunities for young people, and raising their vocational skills is an attractive alternative to academic education.”

“Only last week on 29 May, the Commission issued proposals for country specific Recommendations as part of the European Semester. They set out what we consider to be priority reforms, to take us out of the crisis and into a sustainable future. The Commission recommended a special focus on the Youth Guarantee for 12 Member States, and the need to reform vocational training systems for no less than 17 Member States, including stronger work-based learning components and apprenticeship schemes.”

Referring to the European Social Fund (ESF) Partnership Agreements for the next financial perspectives (2014-20), he underlined: “We expect to see the Member States with Country Specific Recommendations relating to them to focus closely on Youth Guarantees and apprenticeship schemes. Two European Social Fund investment priorities are relevant here: the sustainable labour market integration of young people neither in employment, education or training, and increasing the labour market relevance of education and training systems, including through apprenticeships.”

Helpdesk on apprenticeships and traineeships

Participants to the conference were also informed about a unique service offered by the European Commission to all Member States: a Helpdesk on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes and programmes. It provides tailor-made strategic, operational and policy advice on setting up, running, improving and evaluating such schemes. It delivers practical help on implementation for policy makers at national, regional and local level, for ESF Managing Authorities, for employers and fortrade unions. It will run until the end of 2014.

The Helpdesk forms part of a wider project entitled ‘Providing targeted advice on ESF support to apprenticeship and traineeship schemes’, which also includes tailor-made training courses for national authorities, a seminar on monitoring and evaluation and a resource website.

Paving the way to the European Alliance for Apprenticeships

The Conference also marked an important milestone in the roadmap towards establishing the European Alliance for Apprenticeships, which is part of the Youth Employment Package adopted by the Commission on 5 December 2012 (see IP/12/1311 and MEMO/12/938). It provided an opportunity to stakeholders to refine their next actions in country-specific advice sessions.

The following topics were discussed in thematic working groups:

  • traineeships: key challenges and good practices
  • apprenticeships: key challenges and good practice
  • involvement of key actors (social partners, employers) in traineeship and apprenticeship schemes
  • sources of financing and financing models for apprenticeships/traineeships
  • quality assurance of apprenticeships and traineeships
  • changing mind-sets towards apprenticeships – how can they be made more attractive?

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships will be launched in Leipzig on 2 July 2013.

The Conference ‘Advice on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes with ESF support’ took place in Brussels on 5-6 June 2013 and gathered more than 150 employment, training and education experts from 27 EU Member States and Croatia, representing national authorities, in particular those managing ESF, as well as public and private employment services, social partners and civil society.

For more information:

ESF Technical Assistance:

More on the Conference:

Youth Employment Page:

László Andor’s website:

Follow László Andor on Twitter:!/LaszloAndorEU

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