Today, on 22 June 2015, the Latvian Presidency, the EU ministers responsible for vocational education and training (VET), the European Commission and the European-level cross-sectoral social partners are endorsing the "Riga Conclusions" on a new set of priorities to improve Vocational Education and Training (VET) for the period of 2015-2020.

ETUCE, the European trade union social partner in education, representing 11 million teachers and trainers in Europe, welcomes and supports the agreement as it attempts to improve vocational education and training in Europe with special focus on improving initial and continuous professional development of VET teachers and trainers.

The 5th priority of the "Riga Conclusions" says the following:

"In support of successful implementation of reforms and to raise the overall quality and efficiency of VET: Introduce systematic approaches to, and opportunities for, initial and continuous professional development of VET teachers, trainers and mentors in both school and work based settings."

Furthermore, today the Latvian Presidency and the European Commission are organising a conference on "Boosting the European Alliance for Apprenticeship" in Riga. During the conference, ETUCE and the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) are to sign a joint pledge to enhance joint and individual actions to:

  • improve the esteem, image and quality of VET and apprenticeships,
  • improve social dialogue on this issue at European and national level, and
  • improve cooperation between schools and companies on organisation and quality assurance of apprenticeships.

Several teacher trade unions  - individually or jointly with other unions -  committed to the goals of the European Alliance for Apprenticeship back in 2013 with special attention to improve teaching in apprenticeship:

Today the following teacher unions join the pledgers:

  • CMKOS and CMOS, Czech Republic
  • OAJ, Finland
  • Utdanningsforbundet, Norway
  • FNE, Portugal
  • SINDEP, Portugal

ETUCE wishes teacher unions and other unions the best of success to achieve their goals in improving apprenticeships in Europe via effective social dialogue.