Within the framework of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA), a seminar was held in Belgrade with a thematic focus on digitalisation and work-based learning and the roles of the internship programme in the Youth Guarantee scheme.

“Serbia, as our host today, is known for making significant progress in establishing a strong qualification system and, in particular, improving the quality of vocational education by putting more emphasis on apprenticeships and exposing students to real working conditions during their formal education,” said Mr Martin Klaucke, Head of Operations of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia.

“Of importance for the entire region, the EU is ready to support the establishment of the Youth Guarantee through a significant financial package, as one of the leading initiatives within the Economic and Investment Plan. This mechanism should ensure that young people under the age of 30 get quality employment, continuing education, practice or internship within a period of four months after becoming unemployed or leaving school,” said Klaucke.

The seminar aimed to share Serbia’s experiences in developing effective work-based learning/apprenticeship programmes, to deepen understanding of challenges and opportunities in the development and implementation of practice systems, and to enable learning from good practices and examples of EAfA. In addition, opportunities for closer alignment of partner countries with EAfA were sought during the meeting, as well as an overview of progress in achieving the EU goals for work-based learning (Osnabrück Declaration 2020).

“More than 10,500 students and 700 companies are involved in the dual education system. We are proud of the fact that the first generation of students in the dual system of education, about 3,000 of them, completed their education and half of them got a job in the profession. Also, part of the students started their careers precisely in those companies where they did the learning-by-doing process,” said Mr Branko Ružić, First Vice-President of the Government of Serbia and Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development at the seminar of the representatives of EAFA members.

EAfA is a platform managed by the EC in close cooperation with the EU social partners, which brings together governments and business associations, individual companies, social partners, chambers, vocational education and training (VET) providers, regions, youth representatives and think tanks. The common goal is to strengthen the quality, offer, image and mobility of practices in Europe.

EAfA has so far mobilised not only the EU member states and a large number of interested parties to engage in quality apprenticeships, but has gradually been open to candidate countries – Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey – and partner countries from the South and East neighbourhood (Georgia, Israel and Moldova).