On 5 October 2017, the European Commission has published a new initiative entitled European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-3586_en.htm. In welcoming the long-awaited initiative, ETUCE echoes the message of the European trade union movement, especially with regards to the achievement that this European Framework represents.

Across the last years, the European trade union movement has been requesting to set up quality criteria for apprenticeship in order to ensure fair training and working conditions for apprentices in Europe, and to avoid exploitation of non-remunerated apprentices.

The European Commission initiative follows the same line of the recommendations identified by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) ( https://www.etuc.org/publications/european-quality-framework-apprenticeships#.Wcs1syNRXqA ) in the course of a project wherein ETUCE was an active partner.

Among the 14 quality criteria set by the initiative, ETUCE underlines the importance of point 9 on the involvement of social partners in designing and improving apprenticeship systems in Europe. “It is for us no surprise” said Susan Flocken, ETUCE Europe Director “that in countries where education social partners are involved (e.g. in Austria & Germany), apprenticeship systems are of the highest quality and succeed in delivering quality outcomes for all students. Today, we welcome that the European Commission recognises what we have been long stating and asking for”.

VET teachers, trainers and school leaders are at the heart of education and training and apprenticeship systems. To the extent that the profession, the working environment and its status are respected, quality is to improve. Thus, ETUCE also welcomes the attention that this new initiative gives to VET teachers and trainers, in particular on the importance of their cooperation and the need to support their professional development. However, more efforts are needed to improve the status of VET in society. To this end, the Education social partners are to jointly organise a public hearing in conjunction with the second European Vocational Education and Skills Week, on 24 November 2017. “The hearing is the occasion to exchange experiences on the challenges that teachers, trainers and schools leaders in VET face in their everyday work, and to identify the support they need in order to improve both their working conditions and the quality and image of VET and apprenticeship systems across Europe”, concluded Susan Flocken.

The hearing can be attended by interested stakeholders and is available for a limited number of participants. For further information, please contact the ETUCE secretariat: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.