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Apprenticeships to fight youth unemployment

In 2012, out of a labour force of 24.4 million persons aged 15-24 years, 5.6 million were unemployed – according to recent statistics published by Eurostat. These alarming figures show that youth unemployment is a serious issue in the European Union, with more than 2 out of 10 young people in the labour force being unemployed (1 out of 2 for Greece and Spain).   Facilitating the transition between education and the labour market is high on the EU political agenda and represents one of the main concerns of the Council of the European Union. To tackle this issue, a series of concrete measures was adopted by the Council at the end of last month (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, June 2013). One of these measures is the European Alliance for Apprenticeships, which was launched earlier this month by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. By improving the quality and increasing the availability of apprenticeships across the EU, this alliance aims at effectively reducing youth unemployment and change the attitude towards internships. The objective is to be achieved by encouraging partnerships between key employment and education stakeholders and by identifying the most successful apprenticeship schemes across the EU. National reforms working towards setting up or strengthening those schemes will be offered support. The Alliance rests on the very first joint Declaration by the Commission, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and European trade union and employer organisations. It will be supported by the European Social Fund, the Youth Employment Initiative and the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, Erasmus+ (see ACA Newsletter- Education Europe, June 2013).