Jean Arthuis works for the opening of Europe to apprentices for several years. In 2016, he convinced the European Commission to create a financing pilot project destined to professional training centres. According to the MEP, professional training programmes with international coverage should put an end to the apprenticeship as a second choice by giving it the same assets than programmes organised by universities and prestigious schools.

36 training centres from 12 European countries, federated by the Compagnons du devoir et du Tour de France through Euro App’, benefited from the project. The latter has been renewed in 2017. It allowed 80 young people to continue their sandwich course during 6 to 12 months in another country: 40 French went into another European country and 40 Europeans were welcomed in France. The hotel and restaurant sector was the most represented, followed by the bakery and pastry sector. Even though numerous objectives of the project have not been reached (more than 200 during the two years), some departures are still planned until the next school start. A first assessment of the work undertaken was presented during a Compagnons du devoir meeting with the Minister of Labour Muriel Pénicaud and Jean Arthuis.

First observations

The “apprentices are keen to discover the world as students do. The apprentices from Euro App’ put an end to the alleged idea that only students from higher education can be trained abroad.” Young French people participating to the programme are in a professional training centre, professional baccalaureate or professional certification. “There are even more impediments to the long mobility for apprentices than the training centres believed. Not less than 60 drags have been discovered”, like “the illegality in some countries to welcome apprentices who do not follow 2 or 3 full years of training courses.” “Despite an unfavourable context, some employers took part in the experience, either to let their apprentices go or to welcome foreign ones.” The proposals expressed by Jean Arthuis in France in order to lift the impediments are apparently on the right track, as for the employer’s responsibility or the adaptation of contracts for instance.

Creation of an Erasmus Pro grant, in test mode during three years

The European Commission has decided to integrate Euro App’ within its programmes. It has granted a budgetary envelope of EUR 400 million for grants called “Erasmus Pro” for 50 000 apprentices who would like to leave for more than 3 months in 2018, 2019 and 2020. From his side, Jean Arthuis went in the European capitals in order to convince the Member States that “apprenticeship and mobility are powerful tools for tackling youth unemployment.”

Translated from the original text (in French) from Sylvie Soubes.