In support of policy priorities of the European Education and Training Strategy 2020, reaffirmed through the Bruges declaration and more recently through Riga, the EAPPREN project – a KA3 Erasmus + initiative is seeking to contribute to building closer relationships between Businesses and Education in order to stimulate quality improvement in European Apprenticeship programmes across member states. It began with a focus on how to bring these key stakeholders together to offer high quality Apprenticeships for young and more mature learners with the objective of improving employment opportunities and meeting the skills mismatches evident in todays labour market environment.

Two aspects of this need for quality in Apprenticeship programmes form the main focus of the EAPPREN project – namely the role of Intermediary organisations in supporting both businesses and education and equally to stemlate the Apprenticeship offer amongst Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME’s)

The project tackles these issues in two ways:

Firstly through the development of an online training programme directed at SME’s and Intermediary organisations – the latter best described as Business support agencies; Chambers of Commerce and other stakeholders – eg Municpalities, Voluntary Organisations.

This forms the basis of ‘capacity building’ – providing these organisations with a deeper awareness of what makes for effective Apprenticeship programmes and provides a range of tools and assessment processes to stimulate the expansion of Apprenticeship take up amongst SME’s in particular. We all know that large companies are very capable and active in the delivery of Apprenticeships, but for SME’s it is not so easy. They require more support and assistance in ensuring they facilitate skills development for both their own labour force skills but also are able to broaden the scope of programmes to ensure the Apprentice is armed with a broad range of skills to meet sector needs.
Secondly the project is developing a ‘Matching tool to assist in bringing together SME’s and potential Apprentices.

The Intermediary organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce have a big part in this process. Equally they have a role in working closely with both the businesses they support and the VET providers. SME’s and VET Providers need to understand each other, understand their language and their motivations and part they platy in the effective delivery of Apprenticeships.

Finalising and testing the training programme

EAPPREN partners are well on the way to finalising and testing the training programme and currently building the Matching tool and the final programmes will be launched later this year. The programme will then be rolled out to stakeholders across Europe. It is envisaged that it will contribute to the tools available to support Apprenticeship developments in Member States. Later this year the Partnership will
share the EAPPREN training package and Matching tool to VET providers, Intermediary organisations and SME’s alongside contributing to the police development arena through such initiatives as the European Alliance for Apprenticeships and the work of CEDEFOP in supporting the expansion of Work based learning as an effective pathway to success

The partnership is drawn from a number of EU member states (Latvia; Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Spain and EfVET. that brings together Chambers of Commerce, Business support organisations and Vocational Education and Training providers.

Follow us on www.eappren.eu , EfVET plays a significant role in the dissemination of the project developments and is woking within the partnership to ensure the long term sustainability and take up of the tools created.