Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology
In July 2013 the European Commission launched the European Alliance for Apprenticeships in Leipzig, Germany, with the aim of improving the quality and supply of apprenticeships across the EU and changing mind-sets towards apprenticeship learning. The Alliance is a platform that brings together key stakeholders from the employment and education sectors in order to coordinate and upscale different initiatives for successful apprenticeship-type schemes.
I welcome the establishment of the Alliance and recognise the important role of high quality apprenticeships in tackling poverty, meeting skills demand and driving the economy. Evidence suggests that those countries with a strong apprenticeship system have lower levels of youth unemployment than countries without such systems. As of April 2014, 19 Member States had submitted concrete commitments on next steps to improve apprenticeship delivery. I am keen for us to work with similarly committed countries to advance the benefits of EU, public and private investment in quality apprenticeships and to share good practice. To this end, the Welsh Government is the first nation in the UK to apply to join the Alliance and commit towards its objectives.
I am dedicated to improving the attractiveness and excellence of apprenticeship training. We want to build on our already successful programme, which has been supported by significant EU funds investment, to improve young people’s access to the labour market, facilitate transition between education and training and enable smooth transition to higher skills training. The Alliance provides opportunity to cooperate with like-minded nations and to strengthen apprenticeships on a European level.