Promoting, boosting long-term apprenticeships across EU
The Commission is pre-financing pilot projects that offer long-term placements abroad
8 September, 2017
The Commission is pre-financing seven pilot projects that offer long-term apprenticeships abroad. The aim of these projects is to test experimental placements of at least six months, in an effort to promote longer-duration apprenticeships abroad, the EU press service reported. The pilot projects for 2017 aim to evaluate the demand and capacity for long-term transnational apprentice mobility schemes; identify bottlenecks for long-duration mobility; and identify and disseminate good practices and success factors for long-term work placements for apprentices. They will run until end of 2018 - early 2019.
So far, the Commission has launched two calls for pilot proposals, and nine projects have been awarded grants. This year's projects are being led by six Member States - Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, while 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 and agriculture. The professional, personal and social experience gained while living and working abroad will complement and enrich the apprentice's studies at home.
“Evidence has shown that long-term mobility experiences improve social, job-specific and language skills much more than short-term stays abroad,” Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said. “Contrary to university students participating in year-long programmes like Erasmus, however, the vast majority of Vocational Education and Training (VET) 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,” she pointed out.
As of today, around 650,000 VET learners and graduates can benefit from Erasmus+ funding to support their mobility experiences of two weeks to 12 months abroad. Despite the benefits of long-term placements, however, less than 1% of them stay abroad for more than six months. The pilot-projects launched this year will therefore offer 238 apprentices a position in another EU country for a period from six 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 VET learners, in December 2016 the Commission also launched the ErasmusPro initiative, which will become operational in 2018 and will allow an additional 50,000 young people to spend between three 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.