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Debating work-based learning and circular mobility in the Maghreb at the European Parliament

Thematic Area: ; VET Governance
Year/Date: 20/10/2016


Work-based learning and circular mobility were the subject of an exchange of views organised on 13 October in the European Parliament by the EP Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb Countries with the participation of representatives of three North African countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), the European Commission and the European Training Foundation.

The debate highlighted the key challenges for skills in the region:

• Unemployment among 15-24 year-olds is double the average for the general population in most countries in the region, with more than 20% of young people not in education, employment or training;

• The unemployment rate for graduates is significantly higher than for non-graduates in most countries in the region;

• Only small proportion of young people follow a vocational pathway at secondary level (10%).

On the other hand, work-based learning, which is a key priority for the Riga Medium-term deliverables, is well established in the region, accounting for 80% of training places in Tunisia and around 50% in Morocco and Algeria.

Key messages that emerged from the discussion were:

• The need to improve vocational education and training provision in terms of access and quality, with a clear focus on employability;

• The need to improve work-based learning by empowering businesses to play their role in training the next generations of workers;

• The need to promote and support circular mobility between countries in the region, and between north and south, also taking advantage of enterprise supply chains in order to promote employability.

Mr Handel, President of the Employment Commission in the EP, recalled the issue of youth unemployment and its linkages with migration and highlighted the need to improve VET attractiveness to foster socio-economic development. 'We need to refocus cooperation between EU and the Maghreb making sure skills and vocational and education training are getting equal opportunities like the academic education,' he said. 'We have also to make sure we do not encourage brain drain, but we accompany the country development.'

Mme Ounissi, Secretary of State of the Tunisian VET and employment ministry, summarised the main needs to improve the quality of apprenticeship through institutional empowerment and teachers training, revision of apprenticeship legal framework and increased exposition to the EU good practices notably the European Alliance for Apprenticeship.

Mr Mohamed Slassi from CGEM (National employers’ federation) Morocco insisted on supporting SMEs (more than 98% of enterprises) as main lever of jo b creation for becoming a proactive contributor to work based learning (WBL) in the Maghreb. He also highlighted the opportunity of existing methodology and tools for a regional sectorial qualifications framework (supported by ETF) to cooperate notably around common potential sectors (automotive, aeronautic, tourism and textile) to ensure circular WBL mobility between Maghreb countries and beyond.

Mr Zaki Riabi from the VET Ministry in Algeria highlighting the importance of apprenticeship for youth employability said 'our target at mid-term perspective is to increase the WBL mode to 75% of VET enrolment in Algeria.'

Mr Pier Antonio Panzeri, Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union said 'Vocational education and training systems can be part of the solution. European experience shows that counties with extensive quality work-based learning have the highest rates of youth employment. The Maghreb countries are on the right track in this respect.'

Ms Madlen Serban, Director of the European Training Foundation said  'Circular mobility in the context of vocational education and training and work-based learning, whether it be south-south, north-south or south-north is an important factor in enhancing the quality of training and the employability of its graduates.'

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