On 25 and 26 May, members of the country reviews steering groups from Malta, Lithuania, Greece, Italy and Slovenia met in Thessaloniki for a policy-learning exercise. They discussed apprenticeship schemes in their countries, bringing in different experiences and perspectives, and learned more on how the reviews work.

All participants agreed on the importance of structural reforms to make apprenticeship a valuable formal learning pathway, linked to the national qualification framework, that eases transition of young people into the labour market. The importance of cooperation and dialogue between different stakeholders at national level, and the role of Cedefop as facilitator of dialogue and exchange of information at European and national levels were also stressed.

The participating countries will meet again in November 2016 at a policy-learning forum on apprenticeship, organised by Cedefop, to discuss reform progress.

Cedefop has been undertaking these reviews as a country-specific, focused exercise to support European Union Member States reforming their vocational education and training systems. In 2014, the agency piloted two apprenticeship reviews, in Malta and Lithuania. In 2015-16, reviews are being carried out in another three countries that volunteered: Greece, Italy, and Slovenia.

The idea is to produce detailed country-specific knowledge and to help national policy-makers, social partners, and practitioners to get a better understanding of apprenticeships and work-based learning, improve apprenticeship quality and ultimately contribute to job creation and growth.