Participants in Cedefop's conference on work-based learning (12-13 June) called for the implementation of European Union (EU) policy initiatives on developing apprenticeship and other forms of work-based learning across Europe in order to address rising youth unemployment. The conference gathered more than 150 experts on vocational education and training from around the world, policy-makers from the European Commission and Member States as well as social partners' representatives.

High-level participants included EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou, German Parliamentary Secretary of State, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Thomas Rachel and Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris.

In her keynote speech, Ms Vassiliou said that the risk of a lost generation is 'a real threat' but added that 'at EU-level we are working with the Member States to put Europe back on the road to jobs and growth'.

Referring to the launch of a European Alliance for Apprenticeships (Leipzig, 2 July), the Commissioner noted that 'it will be only by pooling the efforts of EU Member States, social partners, business, other relevant actors and the European Commission that we will be able to develop high-quality apprenticeships across Europe'.

Thomas Rachel told the conference that 'the dual system is the backbone of Germany's economic success' and that his country wants to support its European partners 'in their reform process'.

Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris highlighted the importance of vocational education and training, especially in countries like Greece, pointing out that 'the reform should have started before the crisis'.

Cedefop Acting Director Christian Lettmayr said in the closing statement: 'There may be limits to growth but there are no limits to change.'


Watch the conference highlights and interviews with the main speakers below:

pic2Cedefop conference on

 work-based learning -highlights




Interview with Antonio

Silva Mendes,Director, European Commission, DG Education

and Culture



Interview with Cedefop Acting Director Christian Lettmayr







Interview with German Parliamentary

Secretary of State, Federal Ministry of Education and Research,

Thomas Rachel



Interview, in Greek,

with Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris