You are here

EU Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships

EESC opinion: EU Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships

In its opinion, the EESC acknowledges the positive role that apprenticeships can play in improving employability and providing for skills that are relevant to the labour market, for both young persons and adults. The Committee welcomes the fact that Member States are invited to promote the active involvement of social partners in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship schemes in line with national industrial relations systems and education and training practices. However, it also believes that apprentices themselves and other relevant stakeholders – such as youth and parent organisations and students' unions should also be actively involved in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship schemes. A stronger emphasis is needed on the ways in which apprentices can take ownership of their apprenticeship pathways. Giving apprentices an ability to influence their learning experience would create more productive learning experiences, which also benefits the placement provider. The EESC calls for initiatives that explore the potential of transnational mobility of apprentices in the EU. It welcomes the intention to monitor the implementation of the Recommendation with the support of the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training (ACVT), as well as through the European Semester, and suggests the development of indicators to assess the impact at national level. Finally, the Committee expresses its readiness to assess the implementation of the Recommendation in Member States, from the perspective of organised civil society.


Key points

  • The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships, as part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe of June 2016 and taking into account key contributions from the social partners. The initiative ties in with the European Pillar of Social Rights, which foresees a right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning. and based on important contributions from social partners.
  • The Commission has identified 14 key criteria that Member States and stakeholders should use to develop quality and effective apprenticeships. This initiative should help increase the employability and personal development of apprentices and contribute towards a highly skilled and qualified workforce responsive to labour market needs.
  • In its opinion, the EESC acknowledges the positive role that apprenticeships can play in increasing skills and employability, particularly for young persons, but highlights that unemployment is a complex phenomenon and a holistic approach is needed to tackle its root causes beyond the issue of skills mismatch.
  • The Committee agrees with the choice of the recommendation as a legal instrument, as this encourages the coordination between Member States while at the same time it leaves flexibility at national level. The definition and criteria drawn up by the European Commission in the proposal for a Council Recommendation respect the diversity of the national schemes in the field of apprenticeships.
  • The EESC welcomes the fact that Member States are invited to promote the active involvement of social partners in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship schemes in line with national industrial relations systems and education and training practices.
  • It also believes that apprentices and other relevant stakeholders – such as youth and parent organisations and students' unions should also be actively involved in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship schemes.
  • A stronger emphasis is needed on the ways in which apprentices can take ownership of their apprenticeship pathways. Giving apprentices an ability to influence their learning experience would create more productive learning experiences, which also benefits the placement provider.
  • The EESC calls for initiatives that explore the potential of transnational mobility of apprentices in the EU.
  • It welcomes the intention to monitor the implementation of the Recommendation with the support of the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training (ACVT), as well as through the European Semester, and suggests the development of indicators to assess the impact at national level.
  • Finally, the Committee expresses its readiness to assess the implementation of the Recommendation in Member States, from the perspective of organised civil society.