Apprenticeship and similar schemes give young people a head start on the labour market. Awareness raising, targeted thematic peer learning and the use of European funds were tabled as key components of cooperation on dual training at a meeting of Ministers from Germany and other EU Member States, the European Commission and Cedefop.
In Germany, Austria and Denmark where more than 30% of vocational students participate in apprenticeships or other forms of work-based vocational training, youth unemployment is far below 15% - whereas in countries where less than 6% of vocational students are enrolled in this type of training (Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Estonia), youth unemployment levels tend to be above 25%.
The key advantage of combining theoretical studies with working in a company gives young people the chance to acquire job-specific and soft skills and to get to know the day-to-day reality of the world of work. Deputy Director General for Education of the European Commission Xavier Prats- Monné stressed that investing in work-based learning can bring a win-win situation for learners and companies. He reiterated the European Commission’s commitment to establishing a European alliance for modern, high-quality and attractive apprenticeships, as stated in Rethinking Education (Commission Communication of 20 November 2012). A well-equipped toolbox to underpin the key actions of this ‘federation for excellence’ is required, as Antonio Silva Mendes, European Commission, Director in DG EAC underlined.
Cedefop’s Director Christian Lettmayr will point to the importance and key challenges of dual training in this complex European setting in his keynote speech on 11 December 2012.