Commission examines measures to encourage the use of apprenticeships

A Communication from the European Commission, issued in June 1997, sets out recommendations designed to encourage the use of apprenticeships in the Member States.

On 19 June 1997, the European Commission adopted a Communication examining different strategies to encourage the use of apprenticeships in vocational training. The Communication was drafted in response to a request by the European Council meeting in Florence in June 1996. It sets out five recommendations for encouraging the use of this form of initial vocational training in the European Union.

  1. Extending and developing apprenticeships. Developing new forms of apprenticeship, particularly in growth sectors and emerging job categories. Member States should continue to provide financial incentives to industry to encourage them to increase the number of apprenticeship places.
  2. Enhancing the quality of training. A balance must be struck between theoretical and practical training. This requires close cooperation between educational establishments an companies.
  3. Encouraging mobility for apprentices. Differences in the status of apprentices between the Member States pose an obstacle to cross-border mobility. The Commission is currently preparing a draft document to serve as a basis for a common reference framework to encourage apprenticeships in the European Union. In its current review of the LEONARDO da VINCI programme, the Commission aims to emphasise the mobility programme for apprentices.
  4. Involving the social partners. The social partners are seen to have a crucial role to play in the development and enhancement of apprenticeships.
  5. Adopting genuine apprenticeship strategies: The Communication warns that differences between national apprenticeship programmes must not hamper the search for joint approaches to shared problems.

High-quality general education and vocational training as well as the promotion of lifelong learning are among the priorities of the current European employment strategy.

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