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European Commission - Statement

Statement by Commissioner Thyssen following the agreement on the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships

Brussels, 15 March 2018

Following today's agreement by EU Member States on a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships, Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said:

"I warmly welcome today's agreement by Member States on the establishment of a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships.

Since the launch of the Skills Agenda for Europe, I have made it my mission to advocate in favour of vocational education and training, including apprenticeships. Too often, it is seen as a 'second choice' education. This could not be further from the truth: apprenticeships combine learning in school with training in a workplace, and are an extraordinarily efficient pathway for learners that want to find a profession, to get a first job and to kick-start a career.

This new European framework will be useful for the many Member States that are introducing or upgrading their apprenticeship programmes, as it will guide the policymakers to make sure that apprenticeships indeed deliver on their potential. The Framework encourages Member States to base their apprenticeship schemes on a partnership approach, involving employers, trade unions and other key stakeholders, for example vocational education and training institutions as well as youth and parent organisations. The framework also sets out that apprenticeships should be based on a written agreement, and that pedagogical support should be provided. Companies, in particular small businesses, should receive assistance. An apprentice should be paid or otherwise compensated for the work delivered, and receive opportunities to spend part of the training in another country.

All these elements will make sure we further improve an already winning formula. This is an important step for vocational education and training in Europe. I am looking forward to assisting the Member States in putting the agreement into practice, and hope for involvement of and cooperation with the social partners."


In the context of the Skills Agenda for Europe, presented in June 2016, the Commission adopted a proposal for a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeship, setting out key criteria for apprenticeships.

The text agreed today builds on a Commission proposal presented on 5 October 2017, which in turn was inspired by important contributions from the European Social Partners, a tripartite Opinion of the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training and valuable input from members of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.

The Framework delivers on the Communications on the New Skills Agenda for Europe and on Investing in Europe's Youth, and also contributes to the European Pillar of Social Rights. During the third European Vocational Skills Week, which will take place in November 2018, the Commission will launch new Apprenticeship Support Services, which will help to implement the framework.

For More Information

Factsheet: Skills Agenda for Europe: Ensuring quality and effective apprenticeships

Press release: Commission adopts initiative to boost apprenticeships in Europe

Press release: Ten actions to help equip people in Europe with better skills

Website on the European Pillar of Social Rights


Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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