The European Apprentices Network (EAN), established in 2017 by the European Youth Forum and the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU), with the support of the European Commission, brings together apprentices, and young people working for organisations representing the interests of apprentices. The members of the EAN come from twelve European countries (eleven EU Member States and one EU candidate country). The EAN meets in the framework of the meetings of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA).
Apprenticeships are often presented as an invaluable opportunity to ease the transition from education to the labour market, as they have the potential to help young apprentices as well as older workers to acquire new skills and develop their competences, while also increasing their employability. However, in many instances such potential is not harnessed, as quality of apprenticeships is lacking, the learning value of apprenticeships is not prioritised and apprentices’ rights are not upheld as they should. The EAN aims to provide a space for apprentices, a group that, historically, has always been underrepresented, to have their voice heard and provide their contribution to improve apprenticeship systems in Europe.
As a first step, the EAN has identified seven key priorities for the years to come and encourages all stakeholders, particularly policy makers at all levels, to shape apprenticeship programmes on the basis of these priorities. From the need to ensure a much stronger focus on quality of work-based learning, as well as on the right to decent working conditions to be recognised in written contracts, to the need to advocate for more inclusive apprenticeships, including by demanding more accessible information and equal access to educational and training opportunities for all, the EAN calls for apprenticeships to be considered more than a quick fix to youth unemployment, but rather learning opportunities to be tailored to the needs and rights of apprentices themselves.
The seven key priorities of the European Apprentices Network:
- Quality education and quality assurance
- Rights, responsibilities and protection
- Legally binding agreements
- Promoting apprenticeships
- Accessible information
Read and download the full Key Priorities for Quality Apprenticeships document!