The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) was

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1 European Alliance for Apprenticeships Funding opportunities The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) was launched on 2 July 2013 in the context of the WorldSkills competition in Leipzig, Germany. Important political milestones were the joint declaration by European Social Partners, the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission at the launch event and a Council Declaration on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships adopted on 15 October The EafA aims to increase the quality, supply and attractiveness of apprenticeships across Europe and to change mind-sets towards this type of learning. The Alliance is a platform that brings together key stakeholders from the employment and education sectors in order to coordinate and upscale different initiatives for successful apprenticeship-type schemes. The EAfA is based on three strands. Under the strand of Targeted knowledge transfer and support for reform of apprenticeship systems, the Commission facilitates knowledge transfer through various measures, helping stakeholders who are developing work-based learning, including apprenticeships. The added value of apprenticeship-type schemes is highlighted under the strand of Promoting the benefi ts of apprenticeships. Finally, Making smart use of EU funding and resources is the third strand, providing funding for apprenticeship initiatives and reforms to leverage public and private national funding. This brochure aims at presenting an overview of available EU funding opportunities. ehrenberg-bilder - Fotolia.com

2 Funding for apprenticeship initiatives and reform To ensure that a real impact is made, Member States should prioritise apprenticeship measures in their national budgets. At the same time, companies that engage apprentices are likely to benefi t from a net profi t on their investment, either during the apprenticeship or soon after by employing a fully trained worker. Furthermore, VET students and apprentices will be able to learn valuable workplace skills in a professional environment, ensuring a greater degree of future employability. In the long run, such schemes are likely to contribute to increased tax revenue, less welfare payments, and high levels of social inclusion for all. In order to promote apprenticeship-type schemes and to complement national budgets, there is also signifi cant EU funding available to help in this area: Erasmus+ provides funding for learning experiences abroad for vocational education and training (VET) learners, including apprentices, and for teachers and trainers. It also provides funding for strategic partnerships involving education and training providers, social partners and companies, and for policy reform initiatives to strengthen apprenticeship schemes. The European Social Fund can be used in support of apprenticeship reform at national level and initiatives to boost apprenticeship supply and quality. A tailor-made consultancy service on policy planning for apprenticeship and traineeship schemes has been set up, which can also serve to improve strategic use of the European Social Fund. Additionally, funding under the Youth Employment Initiative will be used to support apprenticeships as direct support targeting young people not in employment, education or training. This funding stream supports regions experiencing youth (ages 15 24) unemployment rates of 25% or over in the period Moreover, under the EURES axis of the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation there is funding available for the development of targeted mobility schemes such as Your fi rst EURES Job. The European Investment Bank can provide support in form of loans to both the private and public sectors under the programme of Skills and Jobs Investing for Youth. Funding under Erasmus+ Mobility a) Mobility for VET learners: Traineeship/apprenticeship abroad for 2 weeks to 12 months in a company, other workplace or in a VET school with periods of work-based learning in a company. b) Mobility for VET staff: Training, job shadowing or observations, teaching assignments abroad for 2 days to 2 months for teachers, in-company trainers, training managers, guidance counsellors, administrators. More information on VET mobility can be found on the homepage of DG EAC in the Erasmus+ programme guide on page 47. A VET organisation sending learners and/or staff abroad and the coordinator of a national VET consortium. Individuals cannot apply directly for a grant but they are the ultimate benefi ciaries of the grant as learners (apprentices or VET students and recent VET graduates) or staff such as teachers and trainers or international mobility offi cers and guidance counsellors etc. Contact the national agency of your country. A list of national agencies is available at More information on how to apply can be found in the Erasmus+ programme guide, part c on page 195. TESTIMONIAL Initial VET mobility Andreas Karagiorgis from a technical school of Limassol Cyprus went to Glasgow: During the placement period we were working daily in the engineering department of the hosting institution, under the supervision of teachers of the college, so as to be trained on issues related to the modern automotive systems diagnostics. The participation in the Leonardo da Vinci Mobility programme offered me unique and unforgettable experiences. 2 goodluz - Fotolia.com

3 TESTIMONIAL Teacher mobility Salomeja Cesnuleviciene from Kaunas food Industry and Trade Training Center in Lithuania went to Estonia: I visited Narva vocational education centre. During the visit I took part in theoretical and practical teaching lessons. The organisation of practical teaching left a great impression. I was impressed by the variety of methods used in technical lessons, by the trainer s ability to manage the group, his capacity to make students gain interest in the profession. I tried to give as much information as I could about teaching processes in our school and I had an opportunity to give theoretical and practical lessons. When I came back to our school I shared my impressions and discussed this professional experience with my superiors. Also I am sharing this new experience with my students during theoretical and practical lessons. The collaboration between Narva vocational education centre and our school continues, as our school signed an agreement for future cooperation. Micromonkey - Fotolia.com Cooperation for Innovation a) Strategic Partnerships: Cooperation between any type of organisation active in any fi eld of education, training and youth or other socio-economic sectors as well as organisations carrying out activities that are transversal to different fi elds (e.g. local and regional authorities, recognition and validation centres, chambers of commerce, trade organisations, guidance centres, cultural organisations) for 2 or 3 years that leads to development and implementation of innovative practices for high quality teaching, training, learning, institutional modernisation and societal innovation. Strategic partnerships in VET could focus on developing partnerships between education and employment, including work based learning. More information on strategic partnerships can be found in the Erasmus+ programme guide on page 95. b) Sector Skills Alliances: SSAs are transnational projects drawing on evidence of trends in a specifi c economic sector and skills needed in order to perform in one or more professional fi elds. They are put up for 2 or 3 years and can create not yet existing professional profi les and develop corresponding curricula or adapt existing curricula to new skills needs for professions. More information on Sector Skills Alliances can be found in the Erasmus+ programme guide on page 119. a) Strategic Partnerships are transnational and involve a minimum of 3 organisations from 3 different programme countries. b) Sector Skills Alliances consist of a minimum of 9 participating organisations from at least 3 programme countries, including at least 2 Member States. An organisation can only be involved in one SSA at the same time. Priority sectors are defi ned for each annual call. In 2014, proposals may come from the following sectors only: Textile/clothing/ leather, commerce, advanced manufacturing, ICT, eco-innovation (environmental technologies) and cultural and creative sectors. a) Applications for strategic partnerships should be submitted to the national agency where the applicant organisation is established. b) Applications for SSAs should be submitted to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. More information on how to apply can be found in the Erasmus+ programme guide, part c on page 195. SKILL ENERGY BSR Skill Alliance Energy saving and sustainable Construction in the Baltic Sea Region. This Sector Skills Alliance has put together partners from the construction sector from 5 different countries associated with 60 players from 11 countries. The Alliance has developed curricula with work-based learning periods for different target groups. This training will be transferred to VET providers in 11 countries, including implementation of dual courses. For more details visit: Policy reform Peer learning and mutual learning activities through working groups or regular meetings of Directors General for Vocational Education and Training, putting forward evidence on various apprenticeships systems and their benefi ts through studies and conferences, support to Implementing European tools on certifi cation and quality assurance in VET (ECVET and EQAVET), policy experimentations, specifi c calls for proposals. EXAMPLE A call for proposal Support for Policy Reform targeting national authorities for apprenticeships was launched on 26 March 2014, targeting national ministries responsible for education, employment and economic affairs, social partners, relevant intermediary bodies, VET providers, companies and other relevant stakeholders. The objective of the call is to support the introduction or modernisation of apprenticeships within initial VET systems. Grant applications must come from at least two entities from at least two different programme countries, thus ensuring that the work is done in partnership at national level. 3

4 Funding under the European Social Fund shutterstock.com In the new programming period the European Social Fund continues to support education, training and vocational training for skills and life-long learning. It covers formal, non-formal and informal learning pathways. Among others, vocational education and training systems and lifelong learning are priorities. The ESF approach stresses the need of dual learning systems and apprenticeships in order to facilitate transition from education to work. Member States with identifi ed challenges and needs in this area are therefore invited to choose these investment priorities. Currently, the Commission and Member States are negotiating the partnership agreements and operational programmes which will set the framework for the European structural and investments funds (ESI) in the seven upcoming years and will defi ne the investment priorities that countries set for themselves. The ESI funds and the ESF in particular have a crucial role to play in contributing to the targets set by the Europe 2020 strategy, allowing a clear link between policy and funding. The ESF co-fi nances projects in a wide variety of areas: ESF projects promote skills development and training, in particular for transferable EXAMPLE Lithuania In 2013 the ESF funded project Organisation of vocational training through apprenticeship form in labour market training centre was launched. It is planned that 900 students of general education schools and VET schools will complete the respective VET programmes in apprenticeship form and acquire a qualifi cation. The main activities of the project are the organisation of VET in a real work environment and the preparation of means and ideas for effective apprenticeships in VET. The objective of the project is to pilot apprenticeship schemes in cooperation between employers and VET providers and to prepare practical recommendations for further apprenticeship/work-based learning implementation in Lithuania. competences, such as digital skills, languages and entrepreneurship, vocational education providers are helped to align their teaching to the demands of the labour market, encouraging more apprenticeships and company trainee schemes, enhancement of worker mobility and quality assurance schemes for vocational education and alignement with European standards, the ESF is encouraging vocational-training institutions to improve the relevance and the range of courses they offer to companies and individuals. In particular, ensuring that what is taught is what is needed to get a job, improve performance and offer the trainee or apprentice better job prospects. A helpdesk on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes has been set up to provide strategic, operational and policy advice for entities that are planning, setting up, running or evaluating apprenticeship and traineeship schemes, which can also serve to improve strategic use of the ESF. For more details visit: The target group of the ESF actions are individual people, the ESF participants. However, to implement an ESF project it is not possible to apply as an individual. Only organisations or companies can submit an application, such as: public bodies at national, regional and local level in charge of delivering services in the areas of youth employment, education and training policies, civil society and other private organisations delivering services in the policy fi elds above, The project promoters (beneficiaries) are determined and selected by the ESF managing authorities at member state level according to nationally set rules. The ESF is managed at national and/or regional level. To fi nd out more, visit the ESF homepage and contact the responsible ESF managing authority in your country or region. social partners or their members, e.g. companies wishing to improve the qualifications of their staff. 4

5 Funding under the Youth Employment Initiative To further increase the EU fi nancial support available to the regions and individuals struggling most with youth employment and inactivity, the European Council agreed in February 2013 to create a dedicated Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). Actions that can be supported by YEI are: provision of traineeships and apprenticeships, quality vocational education and training. YEI support will concentrate on young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) aged below 25, residing in regions* experiencing youth unemployment rates above 25% in The young people supported are NEETs, inactive or unemployed (including long-term unemployed) whether or not registered as job-seekers and residing in eligible regions. Where the member state considers relevant, the YEI will also target those aged under 30 years. The precise measures to be supported through the YEI are agreed between the European Commission and the Member States in the context of the European Social Fund programming process. *Eligible countries are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom. Funding under the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation Under the EURES axis of the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) the mobility scheme Your First EURES Job will be continued. From 2014 onwards it will be a targeted job mobility scheme that also covers traineeship and apprenticeship placements. The target groups are young people aged and employers (all businesses, SMEs in particular). those seeking jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships employers The employment services implementing Your fi rst EURES job as well as the relevant information points in the EU countries can be found on the homepage of Your fi rst EURES job. The projects under the third call will be announced by mid EXAMPLE Under the third call of Your fi rst EURES job, apprenticeships and traineeships were included for the fi rst time. Projects will support apprentices and trainees seeking training opportunities abroad through language courses, support for interviews, relocation costs, etc. Rido - Fotolia.com 5

6 Financing by the European Investment Bank What is being financed The programme of the European Investment Bank (EIB) complements the EU Youth Employment Initiative and fi nances investment, working capital and youth oriented training programmes. This is done through loans to both public and private entities as well as fi nancial intermediaries. In 2013 the EIB launched the Skills and Jobs Investing for Youth programme: a) Jobs for Youth to provide SMEs with better access to fi nance and link EIB fi nancing to the employment of young people in SMEs b) Investment in Skills to support job-related skills and on-the-job-training by investing in education and research facilities, as well as vocational training, student loans and mobility programmes. The programme s focus is on the EU Member States. public sector as promoter and borrower of loans: EU, national and regional youth unemployment programmes can get up to 75% fi nancing of total programme costs related to skills/training and/or employment (e.g. wage subsidies) in the regions where youth unemployment rate is above 25%, public sector, PPPs or corporates as promoters and borrowers: Investments in secondary/tertiary vocational training facilities can get up to 50% of costs, corporate borrowers: Vocational training in corporates can get all costs fi nanced, including salaries and wages of apprentices up to EUR 6,000 per year, SMEs and Mid-caps that hire young people and/or provide training and meet the eligibility criteria under the relevant EIB fi nancing to a partner bank, a) For the jobs pillar of the initiative, SMEs and Mid-caps shall receive fi nancing via EIB partner banks. The list of partner banks is published on the EIB website. b) For the skills pillar of the initiative, both public and private entities with qualifying projects are eligible to apply for fi nancing to the EIB. The EIB s fi nancing will support up to 50% of the total project cost and up to 75% in regions where the youth unemployment rate is above 25%. EXAMPLE Région Centre Lycées, France The Région Centre is a large rural region, situated in the centre of France, south of Paris. It is a priority region for youth employment, as youth unemployment rate currently stands at 28.8%. A recent EIB loan is fi nancing, among others, the construction and modernisation of 14 vocational schools, providing state-of-the-art facilities for vocational students and apprentices. On the one hand, the project supports the Lycée Professionnels, which offers upper secondary vocational qualifi cations in various fi elds of study. On the other it supports the Centre de Formation des Apprentis (CFA), a training centre which provides vocational education to apprentices aged 16 to 25 years. 6 Robert Kneschke - Fotolia.com

7 Useful links DG EAC homepage European Alliance for Apprenticeships EAfA hotline Youth Employment EU cooperation on Vocational Education and Training Erasmus+ Tailor-made consultancy service on apprenticeships and traineeships LinkedIn group on apprenticeships in Europe Youth Guarantee Your first EURES job European Investment Bank Notes 7

8 European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Directorate-General for Education and Culture May 2014

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