Cedefopactingasacatalyst"Our role as a European Union agency is to act as a catalyst and facilitate apprenticeship programmes," said Cedefop Director James Calleja at the ministerial meeting which endorsed the Riga conclusions on vocational education and training (VET) on Monday. A panellist in the afternoon session which focused on the European alliance for apprenticeships (EAfA), Mr Calleja contributed to the discussion on how to get companies on board, particularly SMEs: "We will focus on how we can foster more partnerships between governments and businesses to promote apprenticeships. We need to help instil a culture of apprenticeships as it exists in Switzerland and some Member States." The alliance was launched in 2013 to fight youth unemployment in Europe. It is supported by the Commission, Member States and the European social partners. Mr Calleja urged VET stakeholders to "transform the EAfA into action at national, regional and local levels to help local alliances between businesses, young people and public institutions and secure return on investment for companies but above all for individuals." "One lesson I have learned," he added, "is that employers involvement is very important. Financial resources must be increased to entice businesses and schools to engage in apprenticeships; for their own good and for the good of young people and society as a whole."

Click here to read more