© Le Parisien

The Minister of Labour Muriel Pénicaud wants more apprentices going abroad.

Contrary to students, apprentices who can do a traineeship abroad thanks to Erasmus since 1995 are still facing a lot of difficulties in order to benefit from this European exchange programme. This is the observation made by the government.

This European system for grants exists for 30 years. But only 25 000 apprentices (against 615 000 students) benefited from it for the time being. This year again there is only a few who leave: 6800, that is to say seven times less than students from universities and prestigious schools. It is not enough according to the executive power, which plans to send 15 000 apprentices abroad per year.

For most of them, this experience was more like a study trip rather than a training enabling them to learn a new know-how. In the best case, it was limited to one month. Only enough to get familiar with the language! The Minister of Labour Muriel Pénicaud said that “in people’s mind, Erasmus is still only for students and not enough for apprentices”. She continued by saying that “however, this experience represents both a better chance to get hired and be more confident. So it has two dimensions: professionalism and openness. Travel shapes youth, as the saying goes. And it is totally true.”

The Minister would like to reverse the trend “from 2018 onwards” by removing several impediments. The main task: to make Erasmus more popular within the area of apprenticeship as such where it is still widely ignored. By January 2018, “a practical guide completed with an application co-created with Germany will be displayed in the professional training centres.” Within each of them, a “mobility supervisor” guiding youth and language courses should be proposed.

The employers want to keep their apprentices

Eventually, the former Minister of Finance and now Member of the European Parliament Jean Arthuis has been appointed Minister of Labour’s special representative in charge of the development of the Erasmus Pro for apprenticeship. His task will be to remove the legal and educational impediments for this programme. Objective: give more incentives to the employers who are still not convinced as a whole. Indeed, when they decide to train an apprentice, the employers do not see the interest to let them go for six or nine months. The Minister of Labour wants to break drown this barrier in order to stop this inequality.