Council adopts trade union proposals for apprenticeships

Today the European Council will approve a ‘European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships’.

This is largely based on proposals made by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in 2016 - the culmination of work by trade unions including through European ‘social dialogue’ with employers.


The ETUC notes that the Council recommendation includes the following features proposed by the ETUC:


  • Quality and effective apprenticeships need to be established through structured partnerships involving social partners in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship systems;
  • A written agreement should be concluded to define the rights and obligations of the apprentice, the employer, and where appropriate the vocational education and training institution, related to learning and working conditions;
  • Apprentices should be paid or otherwise compensated, in line with national or sectoral requirements or collective agreements;
  • Apprentices should be entitled to social protection, including necessary insurance in line with national legislation.

“This is good news for young people entering work” said Thiébaut Weber, confederal secretary of ETUC “and should have a very positive impact on apprenticeships. Having successfully persuaded European Commission to support better apprenticeships and Governments to adopt the ‘recommendation’, now the work begins to ensure it is put into practice across Europe. I urge all Governments, EU institutions and employers to join us in that effort.”


“It is also a step forward in the debate about quality work, and a milestone that the European Commission promotes quality of working conditions – at least in one area of employment.”