European Youth Forum: Listen to the voice of apprentices!
The European Apprentices Network (EAN) called on employers, Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers, and institutions at all levels to listen to the voice of apprentices.
The EAN, established in 2017 by the European Youth Forum and the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU), brings together apprentices and young people working for organisations representing the interests of apprentices.
On 22 February, the EAN took the floor in the first 2018 meeting of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA), and launched its Key Priorities paper strongly calling for quality to underpin apprenticeships in Europe.
The EAN told EAfA members that apprenticeships must be understood as more than a quick fix for youth unemployment. Rather, they are learning opportunities that need to be tailored to the needs and rights of apprentices. To achieve this, the EAN proposes seven quality criteria, aiming to ensure that quality education is placed back at the centre of apprenticeship schemes, and that apprentices’ social and labour rights are better recognised. Moreover, the EAN argues that efforts to improve quality must go hand in hand with better access to information and targeted measures to tackle discrimination, allowing apprenticeships to become truly qualitative experiences accessible to all.
At EU and national level, apprenticeships have received considerable attention in recent years, as a tool to foster skills development and lifelong learning. The EAN welcomes this focus but believes that for apprenticeships to be a valuable pathway for young people, the key is investing in quality and sustainable solutions. This means that apprenticeships schemes must be prepared to respond to an ever changing labour market. They must be based on a long term vision, fostering skills development for life, not just for a job.
With its Key Priorities paper, the EAN wants to take advantage of the momentum Vocational Education and Training and apprenticeships are gaining both at EU and national level, to be part of the conversation, and ensure that quality is prioritised.
Zuzana Vaneckova, Board member of the European Youth Forum and member of the EAN said: “Everyone should listen to young people when decisions about them are made – when it comes to apprenticeships and VET, the EAN will make sure that young apprentices are always at the table, we’re ready to engage!”
To find out more about the EAN, its members, and its Key Priorities paper, check the EAN’s new website.