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Pilot Project on long-term mobility for apprentices. A European framework for mobility of apprentices: developing European citizenship and skills through youth integration in the labour market
Deadline: 15 Apr 2016   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono EC - Employment Social Affairs and Inclusion - ESF

 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Citizenship
 Education and Training
 Youth Workers
 European social fund (ESF)

1.INTRODUCTION - BACKGROUND

1.1. Programme/Legal base

This action covers a Pilot Project requested by the European Parliament to the Commission

for implementation within the meaning of Article 54(2)(a) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No

966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the

financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council

Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 (OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1). It shall set out to test

the viability of setting up 'A European framework for mobility of apprentices: Developing

European citizenship and skills through youth integration in the labour market'

1.2. Policy and economic background

Over recent years, considerable efforts have been made by Member States to reform their labour

markets in a way that allows for easier and quicker transitions from education and training courses into

employment. As part of this endeavour, new laws and system changes in the relation to Vocational

Education and Training (VET) have been prominent and featured at the top of the policy agenda in

many countries.

These actions have been driven largely by the need to reduce youth unemployment, currently standing at

circa 4.5 million across the EU. Paradoxically, only two-fifths of employers are confident of finding

enough skilled graduates to fill entry-level positions while a third have difficulties in recruiting staff for

skilled jobs1. In this context, VET plays a critical role in equipping young people with the right

vocational skills to meet labour demand needs and fuel company growth.

In 2014 and 2015, country specific recommendations (CSRs) concerning the transition of young

people in to the labour market were issued for several Member States. Areas covered included support

to NEETs (youth neither in education, employment or training), participation of specific target groups,

transitions between education and the labour market, segmentation and skills, vocational education and

training, as well as second chance education and early school leaving.

The European Agenda on VET has also been revised and modernised as a result of the Ministerial

Conclusions adopted in Riga in 20152. These established a new set of medium term deliverables for the

period 2015-2020, based on five priorities, including the need to promote work-based learning in all

its forms with special attention to apprenticeships. Equally, the ET2020 Working Group on VET

2014-2015 developed 20 guiding principles for high-performance apprenticeships and work-based

learning.

The forthcoming New Skills Agenda for Europe to be issued in 2016 will also further highlight the VET

agenda and its important contribution to employability, through concrete actions.

The importance and positive impact of learning mobility (including apprenticeships) for employability,

career prospects, skills and personal development has been proven by the experiences of the Lifelong

Learning Programme, Erasmus+ as well as the European Alliance for Apprenticeships. Evidence also

demonstrates that, demand for learning mobility is high: in 2015 the Erasmus+ VET Mobility Action

could only fund less than half of the applications it received.

In spite of the positive above stated developments, existing evidence from Erasmus+ Mobility for VET

learners point to very short term stays abroad by beneficiaries4. Among the main reasons cited for this

are the persistent difficulties on recognition of the skills and competences acquired abroad, different

legal statutes of trainees and apprentices in different countries, particularly when it comes to

apprenticeship contracts. Moreover, companies hesitate to send their (last-year) apprentices abroad for

too long, because in most cases they are employees of the company and are expected to learn and work

in the company with which they are under contract. This is a particular challenge for SMEs that

sometimes invest heavily in their apprentices and are then reluctant to send them abroad for long-

periods.

Also, the different education systems, and academic timetables can be significant barriers and therefore

it is often hard to find the right "window" for a mobility experience. The typical age of vocational

learners, 15 to 19 year olds (minors in some cases), can pose liability problems; furthermore, at that age

they often still have difficulties in staying away from home for long periods. Socio-cultural factors,

family ties and attachments often also act as a break on long-term apprentice mobility.

Cuts in national budgets for VET policies and related staff, have also had an impact and limited the

possibility of VET schools to develop international offices and strategic structural approaches to

mobility and internationalisation.

2. OBJECTIVE(S) - THEME(S) - PRIORITIES - EXPECTED RESULTS

2.1. Objectives

The ultimate goal of this call will be to enable young apprentices to develop their skills and enhance

employability prospects, whilst also strengthening their sense of European citizenship.

This will be done by testing different approaches for putting in place the infrastructure as well as the

institutional and contractual frameworks (e.g. developing the service structures for the organisation of

travel & accommodation, language courses, learning agreements, practical welcome information packs,

coaching methods, insurance arrangements) necessary to organise the placements of apprentices from

departure to return.

Three main objectives will guide the actions to be developed through the projects financed. Firstly, these

will set out to test whether sufficient demand and uptake exists among relevant stakeholders for

developing long-term (6-12 months) trans-national apprentice mobility placement schemes. Secondly,

projects will seek to identify obstacles

(legal, practical, institutional, academic…) that prevent

apprentices from carrying out longer term stays abroad. Finally, lessons will be drawn to disseminate

good practices and success factors on long-term work placements for apprentices.

2.2. Description of the activities to be funded / Type of actions

Projects should implement at least the following activities:

1. Prepare and organise apprenticeship trainings for VET learners of a minimum duration of 6

consecutive months and a maximum of 12 which will take place abroad in a Member State of the

European Union

2. Identify the candidates for the placement in accordance with the needs of the hosting enterprises

and the skills possessed by the apprentices

3. Organise induction/welcome sessions and language courses as preparation for, and part of, the

apprenticeship experience in the host country

4. Design and develop detailed learning agreements for the work placements of the apprentices,

including relevant curricular content with clear learning outcomes

5. Put in place specific activities to facilitate youth integration in the host location thus fostering a

sense of European citizenship among the apprentices

6. Ensure that an enterprise or group of enterprises (SMEs or other) is ready and prepared to host and

train the apprentices for the entire duration of their stay

7. The project should carry out a thorough assessment and evaluation at different stages of the

placement experience, allowing for the identification of success and enabling factors to:

• the participation of companies and apprentices regarding long-term placements;

• the integration of long-term mobility experiences in another EU Member State into

apprenticeship curricula and the validation and recognition of its learning outcomes, in

specific sectors and VET fields;

• the identification of outstanding obstacles to long-term mobility of apprentices across

EU borders

• the experience of the apprentices’ stay abroad (namely: preparation, accompaniment,

integration, relevance of the training and skills acquired, sense of European citizenship,

foreign language development, quality of the teaching and learning environment

including testimonies by the apprentices themselves) and foresee feed-back

mechanisms to the Commission.

The grant will not finance the work placements of the apprentices abroad themselves

(travel,

accommodation, local transport and subsistence of the students abroad) - this support may come from

Erasmus+, subject to obtaining a grant under Key Action 1 Mobility for VET Learners, or indeed other

sources. Although the implementation of the apprenticeship trainings abroad will not be funded by this

pilot project, they should be an integral part of the proposals.

VET learners eligible for mobility:

• Be at least 17 years old at the time of departure abroad

• Those that have the status of apprentice5

• Those whose graduation from an apprenticeship has taken place within the last 12 months prior

to the signature of the Grant Agreement.

Status of apprentices during the mobility: Participants will be subject to an apprenticeship agreement of

the host country giving the participant employee status or employed apprentice status

(ideally

remunerated); in the absence of this type of contract, the participants will be affiliated to the relevant

apprenticeship programme of the host country.

Training and recognition of mobility experience: the apprentice undergoes training in a company in the

host country which should be complemented by other learning activities. The learning outcomes of the

mobility apprenticeship should be appropriately validated and recognized upon return.

It is encouraged for actions to be developed at local or regional level, so these can focus on company

labour demand needs, ensure coherence and help put in place long lasting and sustainable networks for 

further cooperation in the field once EU funding subsides. In addition, inter-regional cross-border

mobility and cooperation in sectors with job and growth potential is particularly encouraged.

This Pilot Project differs from existing instruments such as Erasmus+ which finances the mobility of

vocational learners and recent graduates (from which they return home) or EURES and Your first

EURES Job which arrange employment across borders for young people, who are then moving to

another country with the principal aim of entering the labour market.

2.3. Expected outputs/results

Projects financed under this Call should set out to achieve the following results:

- Develop sustainable cooperation network structures between competent organisations to ensure

quality placements of VET learners and apprentices and more generally develop innovative and

sustainable schemes to overcome the impediments to VET mobility.

- Improve and develop the linguistic skills of the apprentice in the language of the host country

- Enhance European citizenship through dedicated youth integration activities for apprentices

- Ensure the formal, appropriate validation and recognition of learning outcomes acquired during the

placement period of the apprentice.

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3.1. Starting date and duration of the projects

The actual starting date of the action will either be the first day following the date when the last

of the two parties signs the grant agreement, the first day of the month following the date when

the last of the two parties signs or a date agreed upon between the parties.

Applicants should note that if their project is selected, they may receive the grant agreement

after the start date of the action that they have set. It is therefore advisable to number the

months in the work programme instead of indicating the name of the months.

 

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