The European Committee of the Regions and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships are organising a joint high-level conference this week. At the opening session on 3 June, the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit and the chair of the CoR’s SEDEC Commission Anne Karjalainen highlighted the pivotal role of regions and cities in providing quality and effective apprenticeships for all.
Commissioner Schmit and SEDEC Chair Anne Karjalainen concluded that local and regional authorities can promote apprenticeships both in their role as employers as well as being catalysers that encourage employers to take on apprentices and build links with all relevant stakeholders. They highlighted there is need for more cooperation and reforms to make vocational and educational training (VET) and apprenticeships more resilient and fit for the future challenges.
“Modernising and strengthening VET systems is crucial in view of the green and digital transitions and to ensure fair recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. Young people are among those who have hit the hardest by the rising unemployment during the pandemic, and their education and training plans have been profoundly disrupted. We have to prioritise action to help them integrate the labour market and find quality jobs. Local and regional authorities are in key position to promote apprenticeships and other forms of work-based learning, as well as short-term VET programmes targeting the unemployed. Therefore, one of the six priorities of the renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships is collaborating with local and regional actors through a number of activities”, said Commissioner Nicolas Schmit.
“Regions and cities are drivers of growth and innovation, and have a central role in the conduct of employment and education, including VET and apprenticeships. It is therefore imperative to complement European and national efforts by emphasizing the role of local and regional actors and valorising the needs of local contexts”, stated the SEDEC Chair Anne Karjalainen, member of Kerava City Council.
CoR members Daniela Ballico (Mayor of Ciampino, IT/ECR), Emil Boc (Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, RO/EPP), Csaba Borboly (President of Harghita County Council, RO/EPP), Mark Weinmeister (Secretary of State for European Affairs of the Land of Hesse, DE/EPP) and Gillian Coughlan (Member of Cork City Council, IE/Renew E.) also took the floor to discuss various topics, which included adult upskilling and reskilling, the international dimension of apprenticeships, mobilising local end regional actors and encouraging cross-border cooperation.
In an apprenticeship, people share their time between learning in a school and training in a company. This allows them to gain real work experience to become ready for the world of work. As part of the Youth Employment Support package of 1 July 2020, the Commission launched a renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships.
Before this week’s high-level conference, the CoR’s SEDEC Commission and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) have held three online events on the impact of COVID-19, on the twin transition on apprenticeships and on the upskilling and reskilling at the health sector. All these events have been organised in close cooperation with the European Association of Regional and Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning (EARLALL), the German delegation at the CoR, and the Basque Government.