26 June 2023

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) celebrated its 10th anniversary

On 26 June 2023, the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) celebrated its 10th anniversary. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) is a multi-stakeholder platform which aims to strengthen the quality, supply, and image of apprenticeships while enhancing the mobility of apprentices throughout Europe.

The alliance brings together the commitments from 39 countries, including 27 Member States, all EFTA countries, six candidate countries, and two EAfA partner countries as well as the pledges of companies, social partners, education & training providers and many other stakeholders.

Against this background, in June 2018, the social partners of the MET industries, Ceemet and industriAll Europe, joined the Alliance. By doing so, they pledged to give a boost to the promotion of quality and effective apprenticeships schemes and the improvement of VET image and attractiveness towards youth.

Apprenticeships are one of the solutions to tackle the growing labour and skills shortages that companies are currently facing in Europe. In this regard, Ceemet recently published several recommendations in a position paper called “Tackling Labour & skills shortages in the MET Industries”, in which MET employers call, amongst others, for more investment in quality and effective Apprenticeships schemes.

This can be achieved through the support of the public authorities in the roll-out of information and awareness-raising campaigns on the importance and added value of apprenticeships schemes, which normally lead to quality jobs within industries. On their side, the MET employers continue to invest in order to attract people to the sector and further play a key role in promoting the development of quality apprenticeships schemes.

The public authorities should also encourage SMEs to recruit apprentices. Many of them are reluctant to take on apprentices due to limited resources or lack of time. Therefore, Ceemet insists on the necessity to support SMEs so that they can continue offering quality apprenticeships.

The COVID-19 crisis also impacted apprenticeships schemes across Europe as many companies had to close down and many apprenticeships positions had to be suspended if not simply cancelled. It is in this context, that Ceemet and industriAll Europe renewed their pledge in July 2021 with new commitments regarding apprenticeships schemes. As MET sectoral social partners, they have already found new ways of communication to address school leavers and young people as well as to awaken their interests in the professions and labor opportunities that the MET industries offer. Ceemet and industriAll Europe are both convinced that strong MET industries rely on a skilled workforce. Future-proof apprenticeships and vocational education and training are essential to attract young workers to the quality jobs that a competitive and innovative MET sector can offer. Against this background, Ceemet and industriAll Europe have jointly called on Member States to review training stimulus programmes and allocate the corresponding funds as part of their national skills strategies.

The MET social partners at national level will continue to promote apprenticeships to secure the future of the robust MET industries.