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European Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Press statement on Quality Framework for Traineeships
4 December 2013
"With 5.7 million people under the age of 25 unemployed in Europe, current levels of youth unemployment are unacceptable. The European Commission has been working with Member States to find solutions to tackle this problem.
Part of the solution is to improve traineeships that can give young people a valuable stepping stone into the world of work if they offer quality learning content and adequate working conditions. In particular, traineeships can be valuable in terms of helping young people to acquire the skills and experience that potential employers are looking for.
This is why quality traineeships are one of the key elements of the Youth Guarantee, which Member States are now getting ready to implement. The Youth Guarantee seeks to ensure that all young people up to age 25 are offered a good quality job offer, a traineeship, an apprenticeship or continued education within 4 months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.
A recent survey undertaken for the Commission showed that almost half of all young people polled had done a traineeship.
However, all too often traineeships can be used by employers as a source of cheap, or even free, labour, and fail to provide adequate working conditions or give trainees skills or experience relevant to getting a job. In fact according to our recent survey, one in three traineeships is not up to scratch.
This is why the Commission has today proposed a Recommendation to set up a Quality Framework for Traineeships.
This Framework would aim to ensure that trainees could benefit from a high-quality learning experience, safe from exploitation.
The proposed Quality Framework is based on the principle of transparency. Member States should ensure that employers make clear in advance whether trainees would be paid or not. Employers would also have to specify other working conditions, the educational objectives, and the way in which trainees would be supervised.
Member States should also ensure that employers respect EU rules on working time and minimum holiday entitlements.
All these terms and conditions should be outlined in a written agreement signed in advance by the trainee and the employer.
The Quality framework also provides that the duration of a traineeship should not exceed six months.
The proposed Quality Framework would also encourage more young people to train abroad, as the same standards would apply across the EU. This would complement the forthcoming extension of the EURES network to include traineeships.
I would now urge Member States to adopt and to apply the Quality Framework as soon as possible so that young people can take full advantage of traineeships as a way to get a permanent job."