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Getting young people straight into work in Balkan countries and Turkey

Year/Date: 26/10/2017


Four Balkan countries and Turkey are joining forces in Budva (Montenegro) on 26-27 October to strengthen the quality of apprenticeships and increase the employability of young people. The event is organised in the framework of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) – a platform bringing together governments and key stakeholders to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships in Europe. With Serbia having joined in 2017, all five candidate countries are now part of the Alliance. Part of the external action policy of the European Union, this event is organised by the Commission together with the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Union agency charged with supporting candidate countries’ growth by enabling skills development.

As EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen said during the recent launch of the European Commission' proposal of the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeship: 'We want to make sure that young people learn the skills they need for work. Apprenticeships are the 'Gold Standard' in vocational education and training. Two out of three apprentices move straight into jobs after finishing their education. With today's new framework, we define what makes apprenticeships shine. Once adopted, the framework will ensure that both learners and employers benefit from quality apprenticeships.'

ETF Director, Cesare Onestini, said: 'Countries that have a strong tradition of apprenticeship have lower youth unemployment. Building bridges between theory and practice, and between education and the labour market, is key in promoting employability as well as a fairer and more inclusive society in Europe and its neighbourhood. By investing in quality apprenticeships, the Balkan countries and Turkey are putting young people on a fast track to employment and success in life.'

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships regional seminar is part of the European Vocational Skills Week, a series of event organised all over Europe to improve the attractiveness and image of vocational education and training. Dr Damir Sehovic, Minister of Education of Montenegro will open the two-day event in Montenegro on Thursday 26 October.


Improving the quality of apprenticeships contributes to the EU's priority on jobs, growth and investment. Last 5 October the EC has proposed a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships. This is part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe and is in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights, which defends a right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning.

By helping its neighbouring countries to improve the quality of apprenticeships, the EU is supporting the development of human capital opportunities for growth. As part of the external action policy of the EU, the European Alliance for Apprenticeships is the platform which brings together governments with other key stakeholders from the EU and the candidate countries. In this area of work, the European Commission relies on the expertise of theETF - the only EU agency working for political stability and opportunities for growth through learning in 29 EU’s candidate and neighbouring countries.

More info

• European Pillar of Social Rights

• New Skills Agenda for Europe

• Proposed Initiative to boost apprenticeship



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