The European Union wants to facilitate the mobility of apprentices

In 2022, the European Commission will make proposals to remove obstacles to the mobility of apprentices, who benefit little from the Erasmus European exchange program. This is what she announced this Thursday at a conference in Paris.

“Erasmus should not be limited to universities. Only 3 to 4% of apprentices benefit from Erasmus programmes”, lamented the Commissioner for Employment, Nicolas Schmit, on the occasion of a ministerial conference on the mobility of apprentices organized by the French Presidency of the EU for 35 years of Erasmus. Unlike students, exchanges of apprentices, who have an employment contract with an employer, come up against very different labor rights from one Member State to another on work-study trainees.

“Building a European Learning Area”

“The Commission will make proposals to overcome these obstacles which are not insurmountable. We can build a mobility apprentice status, not by harmonizing legislation but by drawing inspiration from existing good practices,” assured the Luxembourg commissioner. “We must build a European learning space with networks (…). Europe must be the natural setting for every young person in training,” pleaded the Minister of Labour, Elisabeth Borne.

Apprentices “need specific support, taking into account their rights, social protection, housing”, added the Minister, referring to the financing of a “mobility referent” position in each Center of training of apprentices. In France, the labor code, for example, prevents an employer from letting his apprentice leave for more than four weeks, except to suspend his employment contract, an insufficient period to fully benefit from an experience abroad. This point is identified, according to the minister, but requires a modification of the law, unlikely before the end of the legislature.

In the EU budget 2021-2027, the new Erasmus+ program specifically emphasizes the long-term, non-EU mobility of vocational training apprentices and trainees. It is open to two new audiences: schoolchildren and adults in professional reintegration.

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