Com­mis­sion an­nounces 2017 VET week – adopts ini­tia­tive to boost ap­pren­tice­ships in Europe

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - BUSINESS & FINANCE -

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of the first Euro­pean Vo­ca­tional Skills Week, the se­cond edi­tion will take place from 20 to 24 Novem­ber. This is a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion ini­tia­tive aimed at mak­ing vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing (VET) for qual­ity skills and jobs more at­trac­tive. It in­cludes events in par­tic­i­pat­ing Euro­pean coun­tries, in­clud­ing Malta. Stake­hold­ers tak­ing part in the Week have the chance to share ex­am­ples of ex­cel­lence in VET.

Mean­time, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has adopted a pro­posal for a Euro­pean Frame­work for Qual­ity and Ef­fec­tive Ap­pren­tice­ships. This ini­tia­tive is part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, launched in June 2016. It also ties in with the Euro­pean Pil­lar of So­cial Rights, which fore­sees a right to qual­ity and in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing and life-long learn­ing.

The Com­mis­sion has iden­ti­fied 14 key cri­te­ria that mem­ber states and stake­hold­ers should use to de­velop qual­ity and ef­fec­tive ap­pren­tice­ships. This ini­tia­tive will help in­crease the em­ploy­a­bil­ity and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment of ap­pren­tices and con­trib­ute to a highly skilled and qual­i­fied work­force re­spon­sive to labour mar­ket needs.

Vice-Pres­i­dent for the Euro and So­cial Di­a­logue in charge of Fi­nan­cial Sta­bil­ity, Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices and Cap­i­tal Mar­kets Union, Valdis Dom­brovskis said: “Tak­ing on an ap­pren­tice­ship is of­ten the nec­es­sary step­ping stone for a young per­son to be pro­pelled into his or her ca­reer. To­day we come with pro­pos­als to fur­ther im­prove this valu­able train­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, so it ben­e­fits both em­ploy­ers and learn­ers. While re­spect­ing the di­ver­sity of ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing sys­tems in mem­ber states, our ul­ti­mate goal is to fa­cil­i­tate the in­te­gra­tion of young peo­ple in the labour mar­ket.”

Vice-Pres­i­dent for Jobs, Growth, In­vest­ment and Com­pet­i­tive­ness Jyrki Katainen said: “By pro­vid­ing di­rect links be­tween the­ory and prac­tise, be­tween ed­u­ca­tion and the labour mar­ket, qual­ity and ef­fec­tive ap­pren­tice­ships are con­crete ways to help young peo­ple to en­ter the world of work and stand strong in life, while strength­en­ing Europe’s hu­man cap­i­tal. This is key to boost­ing the com­pet­i­tive­ness of our so­ci­eties and economies.”

Com­mis­sioner for Em­ploy­ment, So­cial Af­fairs, Skills and Labour Mo­bil­ity, Mar­i­anne Thyssen said: “We want to make sure that young peo­ple learn the skills they need for work. Ap­pren­tice­ships are the ‘Gold Stan­dard’ in vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing. Two out of three ap­pren­tices move straight into jobs af­ter fin­ish­ing their ed­u­ca­tion. With to­day’s new frame­work, we de­fine what makes ap­pren­tice­ships shine. Once adopted, the frame­work will en­sure that both learn­ers and em­ploy­ers ben­e­fit from qual­ity ap­pren­tice­ships.”

To as­sess the qual­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness of an ap­pren­tice­ship, the pro­posed Frame­work pro­poses seven cri­te­ria for learn­ing and work­ing con­di­tions: (1) Writ­ten con­tract; (2) Learn­ing out­comes; (3) Ped­a­gog­i­cal sup­port; (4) Work­place com­po­nent; (5) Pay and/or com­pen­sa­tion; (6) So­cial pro­tec­tion; (7) Work, health and safety con­di­tions.

The Frame­work also pro­poses seven cri­te­ria for frame­work con­di­tions: (8) Reg­u­la­tory frame­work; (9) In­volve­ment of so­cial part­ners; (10) Sup­port for com­pa­nies; (11) Flex­i­ble path­ways and mo­bil­ity; (12) Ca­reer guid­ance and rais­ing aware­ness; (13) Trans­parency; (14) Qual­ity as­sur­ance and grad­u­ate track­ing.

The Com­mis­sion sup­ports the im­ple­men­ta­tion of these cri­te­ria through rel­e­vant EU fund­ing. The Euro­pean So­cial Fund alone con­trib­utes up to €27 bil­lion to ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, and the EU also sup­ports ap­pren­tice­ships through var­i­ous other in­stru­ments.

In ad­di­tion, the Euro­pean Al­liance for Ap­pren­tice­ships has so far mo­bilised over 750,000 places for young peo­ple. At least 390,000 ap­pren­tice­ships have al­ready been of­fered un­der the Youth Guar­an­tee. Eras­mus+ sup­ports mo­bil­ity for ap­pren­tices, in­clud­ing a new Eras­musPro ini­tia­tive aimed at sup­port­ing 50,000 place­ments of vo­ca­tional learn­ers in com­pa­nies abroad for the pe­riod 2018-2020.

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