Learning initiatives will only work if there is buy-in, Cedefop director warns

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Written by Seun Robert-Edomi on 17 February 2014 in News
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According to Calleja, apprenticeships provides the skills that companies need,

Young people with vocational education and training (VET) qualifications, which include a significant amount of work-based learning, have higher employment rates compared to those who come from general education. 

That was the view of Cedefop director James Calleja who was addressing the European Commission's monitoring conference in Brussels last week.

In his keynote speech, Calleja said that according to Cedefop research, employers place a premium on work experience, and in countries where VET is well developed, includes work-based learning and is governed together with social partners, it results in better labour-market outcomes for VET graduates.

Calleja referenced apprenticeships as a popular form of work-based learning, especially in several European countries. The European alliance for apprenticeships, which was launched in 2013, aims to bring together public authorities, businesses, social partners, VET providers, youth representatives and other key actors to promote apprenticeship schemes and initiatives across Europe. 

"The revival of apprenticeships can only work if learners and enterprises buy in - and this is a challenge, in particular in countries with high youth unemployment rates or a small share of VET," he said.

According to Calleja, apprenticeships provides the skills that companies need, acts as a stepping stone to the labour market, offers learners a formally recognised qualification, which entitles them to exercise an occupation, and gives them access to further education and training.

"If we want to give more young people a chance to get an apprenticeship, we have to encourage more enterprises in more countries to train, and also in other sectors and occupations than those in craft-type professions traditionally taking on apprentices, such as ICT, sales, healthcare or renewable energies.

"It is a risk if we expect too much in virtually no time; what we need is policy learning from good and bad experiences, to understand what works and what doesn't," he concluded.

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