The second edition of the European Vocational Skills Week will take place from 20-24 November, aimed at making vocational education and training (VET) for quality skills and jobs more attractive.

It includes events in participating European countries, including Malta.

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 European Social Fund alone contributes up to €27 billion to education and training

The Commission has identified 14 key criteria that member states and stakeholders should use to develop quality and effective apprenticeships: (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; (8) regulatory framework; (9) involvement of social partners; (10) support for companies; (11) flexible pathways and mobility; (12) career guidance and awareness raising; (13) transparency; (14) quality assurance and graduate tracking.

The Commission supports these criteria through 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.

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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