Project to prioritise practical training for youth
Vocational training body Cedefop has joined a project to support a European initiative intended to help young people integrate into the labour market.
The initiative, which focuses on apprenticeship-type, work-based learning, was launched on last week in Berlin. Germany and six other Member States have signed memoranda defining the scope and objectives of future collaboration.
On invitation of German Federal Education Minister Annette Schavan, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain, in association with the European Commission, signed a memorandum of cooperation on vocational education and training in Europe. At the conclusion of the meeting, Xavier Prats Monné, deputy general director for education and training at the European Commission, said that this is the beginning of a European initiative which other Member States will soon join.
Speaking at the Berlin meeting, Cedefop director Christian Lettmayr, said that despite their many differences, all dual models help young people understand what the world of work is really like, and cultivate necessary soft skills alongside purely technical ones. But he also said that, to be effective, such models must be well integrated in each country's existing educational system and labour market, particularly its qualifications structure.
The signatories to the memorandum - Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain - agreed to focus their efforts on improving the image and quality of vocational education and training. Their joint cooperation is meant to provide lasting support to bilateral and multilateral initiatives in vocational training. The goal is to have 80 per cent of all young people in Europe employed by 2020. It was emphasised that this new European alliance has been started to best help the 7.5 million young Europeans who are in search of employment.
Despite the optimism, Martyn Sloman, principal consultant to TJ's L&D2020 project, was downbeat about the project.
He said: "Such initiatives are unlikely to have any effect and I really do not think it will solve the problem of youth unemployment by setting up an advisory board.
"It's a dire situation. The restructuring of the global economy means there will not be enough jobs for young people.
"What I'm convinced is happening is that we have some serious structural issues to be addressed in these countries. We are not creating enough jobs for young people.
Sloman added: "New policies and debates are needed. Initiatives like this look good but will have no effect whatsoever. They look like they're doing something but don't address the underlying issues."