Apprenticeships are a particularly successful form of work-based learning, which is based on the following principles:
- Apprenticeships are part of formal education and training programmes and lead to a nationally recognised qualification;
- Apprenticeships combine company-based training (periods of practical work experience at a workplace) with school-based education (periods of theoretical/ practical education in a school or training centre);
Most often there is a contractual relationship between the employer and the apprentice, with the apprentice being paid for his/her work.
Apprenticeships differ from other types of in-company learning, such as internships/traineeships, which are often outside formal education and training programmes, and not linked to recognised qualifications. For open market traineeships, a Quality Framework for Traineeships was adopted in 2014.
The apprenticeships are quite important and play a key role in the youth employment. VET-systems with strong work-based learning, such as apprenticeships, are effective in easing the transition of young people into jobs. By alternating between school and work, the apprentice develops the skills and knowledge that employers are looking for. This benefits the companies which get a better access to skilled workers. Typically, 60-70% of apprentices secure employment immediately upon completion, and training firms usually recoup their training investments by the end or shortly after the training period. Moreover, countries with strong apprenticeship systems tend to have less youth unemployment than others.
I am of the opinion that Basque Country´s companies must get on board.
Apprenticeships depend on the willingness of companies to engage with VET schools and training centres, and to invest in the future skills of young people. Larger companies are more likely to be active in this type of training. Across the EU, 44% of companies with more than 250 employees offer apprenticeships, compared to only 22% of companies with 10-49 employees.
At the same time, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including micro-enterprises are the backbone of the European economy providing around 2/3 of private sector employment in Europe. They can face more difficulties in providing apprenticeship placements due to a lack of resources and personnel to supervise apprentices, as well as expertise to manage administrative requirements.
Supporting companies, and in particular SMEs, is crucial in order to boost the supply of apprenticeships across Europe.
Taking into account Basque country brings together and enjoys an strong link between, businesses, social partners, training providers and other key actors we should coordinate efforts through various initiatives aiming to strengthen the access to, the supply, the quality and the attractiveness of apprenticeshios in Basque Country. So we should provide:
- Financial incentives
- Infrastructure and non-financial support
- Support to in- company trainers.