This theme is relevant for different reasons:
¬ Young citizens paid a high price for the current economic crisis. From the second quarter of 2008, the youth unemployment rate has taken an upward trend peaking in 23,6 % in the first quarter 2013, before receding to 23.1 % at the end of the year (Eurostat). Another worrying phenomenon is the ongoing skills mismatch between the competences and competence levels of those leaving the school and the competences and competence levels needed in a ‘learning economy’.
¬ The transitions between education and labour market are therefore a main strategic line in the working programmes of all education councils as it is also a common red line in the national education policies.
¬ The theme is also high on the EU-agenda, in the Europe 2020-strategy in general and in the Communication on apprenticeships in particular (DG Employment). The theme is also part of the ongoing work in the development of common instruments for transparency in the slipstream of the Copenhagen Declaration.
This conference is adding a different angle and a new perspective to the Eunec work already done. Based on discussions of the executive committee and the preparatory working group, Eunec decided to explore in depth the strategies to facilitate the transitions between VET and the (re)integration of youngsters on the labour market. How can society and the education and training systems organize broader and better established bridges between both worlds and this in two directions ?
More specifically, this conference considered alternative training pathways in the transition between learning and working, in partnership between education and employment. The focus was on apprenticeships and work based learning in a broad sense.