Ap­pren­tice­ships abroad: Com­mis­sion gives boost to long-term place­ments across the EU

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is pre-fi­nanc­ing seven pilot projects that of­fer long-term ap­pren­tice­ships abroad.

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

The aim of these projects is to test ex­per­i­ment place­ments of at least 6 months, in an ef­fort to pro­mote ap­pren­tice­ships abroad of a longer du­ra­tion.

Com­mis­sioner for Em­ploy­ment, So­cial Af­fairs, Skills and Labour Mo­bil­ity, Mar­i­anne Thyssen, com­mented: "Ev­i­dence has shown that long-term mo­bil­ity ex­pe­ri­ences im­prove so­cial, job-spe­cific and lan­guage skills – much more than short-term stays abroad. Con­trary to univer­sity stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in year-long pro­grammes like Eras­mus, how­ever, the vast ma­jor­ity of Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing learn­ers tend to go abroad for rather short pe­ri­ods. This is why we are cre­at­ing more long-term op­por­tu­ni­ties, which will ul­ti­mately in­crease their chances on the job mar­ket. With these pilot projects and our new Eras­musPro ini­tia­tive, we ex­pect to mo­bilise up to 50,000 long-term mo­bil­ity op­por­tu­ni­ties for VET learn­ers by 2020."

Al­ready to­day, around 650,000 vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing learn­ers and grad­u­ates can ben­e­fit from Eras­mus+ fund­ing to sup­port their mo­bil­ity ex­pe­ri­ences of 2 weeks to 12 months abroad. De­spite the ben­e­fits of long-term place­ments, how­ever, less than 1% of them stays abroad for more than 6 months. The pilot-projects launched this year will there­fore of­fer 238 ap­pren­tices a po­si­tion in an­other EU coun­try for a pe­riod from 6 to 12 months, to iden­tify good prac­tices and bot­tle­necks with longer-term ap­pren­tice­ships abroad. These 238 place­ments come in ad­di­tion to the 100 ap­pren­tices cur­rently in­volved in sim­i­lar projects fi­nanced by the Com­mis­sion in 2016. As part of the Com­mis­sion's over­all ef­fort to im­prove the long-term mo­bil­ity of vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing learn­ers, in De­cem­ber 2016 the Com­mis­sion also pro­posed Eras­musPro ini­tia­tive which will be­come op­er­a­tional in 2018 and which will al­low an ad­di­tional 50,000 young peo­ple to spend be­tween 3 and 12 months in an­other Mem­ber State.

Both the pilot projects and Eras­musPro are the first steps to­wards a Euro­pean frame­work for the long-term mo­bil­ity of ap­pren­tices. This will pro­vide con­crete guid­ance for Mem­ber States to give young peo­ple the chance to de­velop their skills and en­hance their em­ploy­a­bil­ity, while strength­en­ing their sense of Euro­pean ci­ti­zen­ship through ex­pe­ri­ence in an­other EU coun­try.

The Com­mis­sion has al­ready given a lot of sup­port for the mo­bil­ity for Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing learn­ers. Un­der the Eras­mus+ pro­gramme, for ex­am­ple, around 650,000 VET learn­ers and re­cent VET grad­u­ates will ben­e­fit from fund­ing to sup­port their mo­bil­ity ex­pe­ri­ences abroad. These range from a pe­riod of 2 weeks to 12 months.

How­ever, the Com­mis­sion aims to strengthen op­por­tu­ni­ties for more long-term mo­bil­ity and there­fore more in-depth ex­pe­ri­ences for VET learn­ers and ap­pren­tices, to help them carry out a more sub­stan­tial part of their train­ing in an­other Euro­pean coun­try.

The pre-fi­nanc­ing of pilot projects is an ex­am­ple of this in prac­tice. So far, the Com­mis­sion has launched two calls for pilot pro­pos­als (in 2016 and 2017). 9 projects have been awarded grants. This year's projects are be­ing led by six Mem­ber States (Bel­gium, Fin­land, France, Ger­many, Italy and Spain); al­though 21 Mem­ber States are in­volved in the part­ner­ships. The projects of­fer ap­pren­tice­ships in a broad range of pro­fes­sions and sec­tors, such as tourism, ca­ter­ing, health care, trade and lo­gis­tics, IT, mar­ket­ing, con­struc­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing (me­tal, elec­tron­ics,...) and agri­cul­ture. The pro­fes­sional, per­sonal and so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence gained while liv­ing and work­ing abroad will com­ple­ment and en­rich the ap­pren­tice's stud­ies at "home".

The seven pilot projects for 2017 aim to: • Eval­u­ate the de­mand and ca­pac­ity for long-term transna­tional ap­pren­tice mo­bil­ity schemes; • Iden­tify bot­tle­necks for long

du­ra­tion mo­bil­ity • Iden­tify and dis­sem­i­nate good prac­tices and suc­cess fac­tors for long-term work place­ments for ap­pren­tices. The 2017 projects will run un­til end 2018 - early 2019.

The aim of im­prov­ing the longterm mo­bil­ity for VET learn­ers is also why the Com­mis­sion has pro­posed ' Eras­musPro' in De­cem­ber 2016 as part of the Eras­mus+ pro­gramme, es­pe­cially de­signed to sup­port long-term place­ments of VET learn­ers abroad. Eras­musPro will be­come op­er­a­tional in 2018 and open up the pos­si­bil­ity for an ad­di­tional 50,000 young peo­ple to spend be­tween 3 and 12 months in an­other Mem­ber State.

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