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PETRA II

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1) OBJECTIVE

To raise the status of vocational education and initial training, and to stimulate exchanges of experience between Member States and transnational cooperation between training bodies. To extend the PETRA programme until 31 December 1994.

2) COMMUNITY MEASURES

Council Decision 91/387/EEC of 22 July 1991 amending Decision 87/569/EEC concerning an action programme for the vocational training of young people and their preparation for adult and working life (PETRA).

3) CONTENTS

The programme is adopted for a three-year period from 1 January 1992. Its aim is to support and supplement, through measures at Community level, the policies of the Member States, which are seeking to ensure that all young people who so wish receive two or more years' vocational training in addition to their compulsory full-time education, leading to a recognized vocational qualification.

The programme is intended in particular to:

  • raise the quality of vocational and technical education and initial training;
  • encourage and diversify vocational-training provision;
  • add a Community dimension to vocational qualifications;
  • stimulate cooperation and the development of training partnerships transnationally and within each Member State;
  • allow the following young people to benefit from periods of training or work experience in other Member States: young people receiving technical and vocational education, young job-seekers, young workers, young unemployed people.

Support for transnational cooperation, including specific assistance for initiatives involving young people in planning, organizing and implementing activities. Such cooperation is above all intended to promote within the Community:

  • vocational training or work experience placements in another Member State; these must lead to a certificate and form a recognized part of the young person's training course;
  • joint development of initial vocational training modules compatible with national training systems;
  • joint training of instructors working in initial vocational training.

Support for measures aimed at introducing a Community dimension into the processes and systems of vocational information and guidance, by:

  • supporting national contact points or centres to create a network for the exchange of guidance data and to explore effective means of transferring up-to-date guidance information throughout the Community:
  • standardizing the content of training programmes and supporting supplementary training for vocational guidance specialists and advisers on the European aspects of guidance.

Technical assistance, as necessary, in the implementation of the programme; comparative studies on vocational education and training issues, including surveys on the effectiveness of youth training programmes, and review of the evolution of vocational qualifications.

4) DEADLINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LEGISLATION IN THE MEMBER STATES

Not applicable.

5) DATE OF ENTRY INTO FORCE (if different from the above)

6) REFERENCES

Official Journal L 214, 02.08.1991

7) FOLLOW-UP WORK

Commission report on the implementation of the PETRA programme in accordance with Article 8 of Decision 91/387/EEC (COM(93) 704 final).

The Community provided aid amounting to ECU 104.2 million for the period 1992-94. Community action under PETRA to attain the objectives set out in the Decision and to support Member States' activities can be classified in the categories of Action I, II, III and additional measures.

Under Action I, i.e. support for vocational training placements or training periods in a company in another Member State for young people undergoing initial vocational training, young workers, young job-seekers and young people receiving advanced vocational training, from 1992-94 involved 36 000 young people.

For Action II, entailing support for activities of transnational cooperation to carry out joint innovatory training projects between several Member States, including youth initiative projects, within the European Network of Training Partnerships, an estimated 100 000 young people and 20 000 teachers and instructors participated directly in the network between 1992 and 1994. In all, the programme also supported over 900 youth initiative projects. A total of 25 000 young people have now been directly involved in the youth initiative projects since 1988.

Under Action III of the PETRA programme concerning support for national systems to promote the exchange of information on vocational guidance, a Community network of resource centres in the Member States was set up, and the training of guidance counsellors in the Community dimension of guidance commenced; 27 resource centres now cooperate throughout the European Union.

As for additional measures on support for the dissemination of the results of the programme, transnational cooperation on research into the vocational training of young people, technical assistance at Community and national level for the implementation, coordination and assessment of the programme, the programme has, since 1988, been present in over 200 major information events in the Community or nationally. PETRA has provided its support to national research partnerships involving over 70 research centres designated by the national authorities.

Theme-based research has been conducted on issues such as the legal and administrative obstacles to transnational training and work experience placements, the accreditation of these placements, and the access of young people to vocational training.

Commission final report of 22 July 1997 on the implementation of the PETRA programme [COM(97) 385 final, not published in the Official Journal].

This report takes stock of the development of the PETRA programme (1988-94, with a total budget of ECU 150 million over the whole period).

The PETRA programme's twin achievements were: carrying out of numerous studies and the establishment of networks.

Five types of network have been set up:

  • the network of National Coordination Units (NCUs) dealing with placements (between 1992 and 1994, 33 719 young people benefited from the scheme);
  • other placement-related networks (e.g. the informal network of organisers of work experience placements);
  • European Network of Training Partnerships (ENTP);
  • networks associated with vocational guidance activities (guidance counsellors);
  • research networks.

The first major objective of the PETRA programme was to foster young people's involvement in vocational training programmes by supporting and supplementing the Member States' policies. Among the wide-ranging reforms introduced by Member States into their national systems, the following are particularly noteworthy:

  • fixing quantitative targets for participation in initial vocational training: for example, the Danish "Education and Training for all" plan is geared to ensuring that, in the year 2000, 95% of young people will be engaged in an education programme;
  • establishment of an entitlement or right to take part in vocational training: for example, in France, a 1990 Law establishes the right to a qualification for all workers in the form of a "crédit formation" (training entitlement);
  • extending the provision of initial vocational training: for example, in Greece, the number of programmes rose by 50.8% in four years;
  • raising the status and attractiveness of vocational training: for example, an initiative was launched in Germany in 1991 offering special support to particularly gifted young people in vocational training, with the aim of placing vocational education on a par with post-compulsory general education;
  • introduction of a Community dimension within vocational guidance services;
  • promoting equal opportunities for young men and women: for example, Denmark is devising training courses tailored specifically for unskilled women;
  • priority treatment for disadvantaged persons: for example, in France, "solidarity employment contracts" were created in 1990 for young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who have difficulty in finding employment.

The national reforms are also concerned with raising the quality of vocational training and adapting it to changing needs. In Portugal, a new type of vocational school has been set up ("Escolas Profissionais"), where the old technical/vocational courses are being replaced by training in the new technologies.

  • promoting creativity, initiative and entrepreneurial spirit in young people, by emphasising, as in Germany, personal development, motivation, responsibility and acquisition of key skills;
  • major efforts to train teachers and instructors: Belgium places great emphasis on this aspect;
  • certification of qualifications: for example, Luxembourg has introduced two levels of certification to increase the success rate in initial training;
  • strengthening of links between training establishments and industry: for example, the United Kingdom has launched two apprenticeship initiatives offering young people a work-based route to skills at craft, technician and junior management level;
  • more active involvement of the social partners in defining national training needs, so as to enhance the effectiveness of programmes;
  • making vocational training more responsive to local and regional requirements.

Most of the Member States have made use of the opportunities afforded by the PETRA programme to introduce or reinforce the Community dimension in their initial training systems. Transnational mobility is seen as a vital element, as is, to a lesser extent, the improvement of vocational language skills.

The ongoing major objectives of the PETRA programme are:

  • to reduce the number of young people who enter the labour market without a basic qualification;
  • to increase the attractiveness of vocational training;
  • to introduce a practical Community dimension into initial vocational training;
  • to develop key skills through initial vocational training;
  • to reinforce vocational guidance and to incorporate a European dimension;
  • to disseminate innovation in initial vocational training within and between the Member States.

These objectives are pursued under the Leonardo da Vinci programme, which brings together all the activities relating to initial or continuing vocational training.

8) COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING MEASURES

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