Youth unemployment: studies show apprenticeships and traineeships useful but need to be improved
The dramatically high youth unemployment rates in Europe call for immediate action by Member States. One of the priorities for action is to ensure a smooth school-to-work transition for young people. Two studies undertaken for the European Commission on apprenticeships and traineeships in all EU Member States recommend that these schemes should be more responsive to labour market requirements, better adapted to business needs and offer more guarantees in terms of quality and perspectives for young people.
European Commissioner of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said: "The European Council has underlined the importance of apprenticeships and traineeships for young people, especially in the context of youth guarantees and new mobility schemes. These new studies shed more light onto these schemes and help us to prepare our upcoming initiatives on improving the transition from school to work. Apprenticeships and traineeships can build bridges for young people to enter the labour market and so help to tackle Europe's excessive levels of youth unemployment. But such apprenticeships and traineeships must ensure that youngsters are given the best possible chance of getting a sustainable job afterwards. We also support this through more targeted use of the European Social Fund."
The studies' results will provide input to the preparation of two Commission initiatives by the end of 2012; a draft Council Recommendation on Youth Guarantees, to ensure that young people are either in employment, education or training within four months of leaving school, and the definition of a Quality Framework for Traineeships.
The study on apprenticeships recommends that there should be:
homogeneous quality standards for apprenticeship-type studies
a balance between specific occupational skills and general skills and competences
the involvement of the social partners in the design and organisation of apprenticeships, as this is an essential factor for their success and
initiatives taken with students to improve the general image of the vocational education system.
The study on traineeships indicates that:
there is a need for a clear definition of traineeships at EU level
where possible, traineeships should take place as a part of the study curriculum rather than after students leave education
a concerted effort should be made at both EU and national levels to increase the supply of traineeships, especially in SMEs
there is a need for some financial support to trainees, especially those from less privileged backgrounds and
steps should be taken to encourage open and transparent recruitment processes for traineeships.
The traineeship study complements the public consultation on the quality of traineeships launched as part of the Commission's April 2012 Employment Package