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European Commission aims to boost long-term apprenticeships abroad

The European Commission will finance seven pilot projects that offer long-term apprenticeships in other EU countries.07 Sep 2017

The projects will allow the Commission to experiment with placements of at least six months, as it aims to promote longer apprenticeships abroad, it said.

Around 650,000 vocational education and training (VET) learners and graduates already have access to Erasmus funding to support them for between two weeks to 12 months abroad. However, less than 1% stay abroad for more than six months, the Commission said.

The pilot projects will offer 238 apprentices a position in another EU country for a period from six to 12 months "to identify good practices and bottlenecks with longer-term apprenticeships abroad", it said.

These apprenticeships will be in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, although 21 countries are involved in the partnerships, the Commission said.

One hundred apprentices are currently involved in similar projects financed by the Commission in 2016.

In December 2016 the Commission also proposed ErasmusPro initiative which will become operational in 2018 and which will allow an additional 50,000 young people to spend between three and 12 months in another EU country, it said.

Commissioner for employment, social affairs, skills and labour mobility Marianne Thyssen said: "Evidence has shown that long-term mobility experiences improve social, job-specific and language skills – much more than short-term stays abroad. Contrary to university students participating in year-long programmes like Erasmus, however, the vast majority of vocational education and training learners tend to go abroad for rather short periods. This is why we are creating more long-term opportunities, which will ultimately increase their chances on the job market. With these pilot projects and our new ErasmusPro initiative, we expect to mobilise up to 50,000 long-term mobility opportunities for VET learners by 2020."

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