This article was written in 2017, just when the EROVET partnership was born through the Erasmus+ project: Fostering youth employability through an action rearch group on VET. The project was cofounded by the European Union.
What is EROVET?
EROVET is a group of VET stakeholders united to foster youth employability. Currently EROVET is financed by the Erasmus+ programme through the Key Action 2: Cooperation of innovation and exchange of good practices, but aims to become a sustainable network in the near future.
According to Eurostat data1, in September 2017, the youth unemployment rate in the EU28 was 16.6%. In the same period, the lowest rates were observed in Germany (6.4%), and the highest were recorded in Greece (42.8%), Spain (37.2%) and Italy (35.7%).
The latest studies conducted by the OCDE2 show a very similar situation, being Greece (47.4%), Spain (44.5%) and Italy (37.8%)he countries with the highest youth unemployment in the UE28, followed by Portugal. Lithuania and Turkey hold a middle position. On the other end, we find Germany with only 7% of its youth population being unemployed.
Researchers agree that there are a number of reasons for this situation. Some believe that the lack of professional experience is one of the obstacles that prevent young people finding a job. Others state that the mismatch between the skills and the positions offered on the job market is one of the key issues. We agree on this last statement, as we do believe that there is a lack of strong connection between training, the demands of the companies and the economic reality of the territories.
The Declaration of Ministers in Riga 2015, stated the importance of investing in VET and skills’ policies in order to raise employability, help reduce skills’ mismatches and allow for smoother transitions into employment. Among the medium-term deliverables, they suggested that work-based learning should be promoted, involving social partners, companies, chambers and VET providers as well as stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship. But, according to CEDEFOP3, only 34% of students in initial training are trained in the EU unde work-based modalities (dual system), being Latvia, Denmark, Hungary and Germany the countries holding the highest positions. Again, the countries with the highest unemployment rates have poorly introduced this training modality in their system. The score on VET indicators in Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Turkey and Italy show that work-based training has timidly been introduced. This undoubtedly shows that there is still a great way to go.
And as for entrepreneurship, we do believe that the approach given to this issue in most VET training centres over Europe is mainly theoretical, being mostly centered into entrepreneurial management rather than into the product. We also believe that efforts should be devoted to improve the abilities of our trainees in the creation of sustainable entrepreneurial projects, as according to our own data the lifespan of most of them does not exceed the period of three years.
Finally, European mobility of our students, together with the implementation of the ECVET recommendation would undoubtedly contribute to increase employability opportunities. In fact, according to the EC, five years after graduation, the unemployment rate of young people having studied or trained abroad is 23% lower than that of their nonmobile peers4. So far, some of the countries in the EROVET project present a very low rate of students on work placement periods abroad, being Lithuania, Greece and Portugal the ones with the lowest rate of mobile students.
According to all this information, we believe something should be done with the view of:
- helping developing high quality and labour market relevant vocational skills (with a special emphasis on work based learning and entrepreneurship)
- enhancing mobility opportunities in order to contribute to the international competitiveness of our labour force and
- improving long life orientation and guidance.We do believe that this big goal can be accomplished in the framework of EROVET, a group made up of European VET representatives and relevant stakeholders, such as VET training centres, economical institutions and local administrative institutions.
What are the EROVET goals?
EROVET aims to increase youth employability opportunities, through the following working lines:
- Improving professional competences, by developing professional orientation and providing work placement opportunities in other European countries.
- Adapting the professional profiles to the real demands of the companies, by building strong partnerships between companies and training centers to promote students mobilities and work-based learning,
- Fostering the entrepreneurship initiative, by improving the quality of resources related to entrepreneurship and orientation.
What will be the EROVET results:
- Online Resource Bank: bank of orientation tools and resources thatfacilitate their work as orientators (websites, templates, guides, etc,..),
- European job pool: a platform where job offers and labour demands can be dumped and centralised. This platform will provide information,mediation and active support to EROVET members.
- Mobility network: a network which would give the possibility to thetraining centres in EROVET to promote successful mobilities of theirlearners.
- Succesful cases in work-based learning: EROVET aims to identifythose succesful cases that have proved to be successful.
- Entrepreneurship label: A recognition awarded by EROVET to VET training centres that follow an strategic line related to the promotion anddevelopment of the entrepreneurship initiative
- Entrepreneurship prize: The prize will foster the creation anddevelopment of entrepreneurial projects of VET trainees. It will have a national phase and an international phase that will encourage the participation of VET training centres and the exchange of experiences among countries
- Enterepreneurship business management course (EBM): Training module that will qualify VET learners to manage their own enterprises
Where will the EROVET results be available?
EROVET results will be found in www.erovet.eu. The site will also offer news, documents and articles, which will be published in a blog. Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will allow those interested in VET to be updated on the EROVET news.
Who are the EROVET members?
Eight partners from seven different countries currently compose EROVET. The coordinator of the EROVET community is GlobaLleida, an entity of economic promotion in Lleida (Spain). Five VET training centres are also partners in the project: Ortaköy 80.Yıl Mesleki ve Teknik Anadolu Lisesi in Ankara (Turkey),Escola Profissional AMAR TERRA VERDE in Vila Verde (Portugal), i.i.s. des ambrois in Oulx (Italy), Vilnius Tourism and Commerce School in Vilnius (Lithuania) and Institut Escola del Treball in Lleida (Spain). Finally two local entities also belong to EROVET, Dieythynsi Deyterobathmias Ekpaideysis N. Rodopis in Komotini (Greece) and Landkreis Osnabrück Fachdienst Bildung in Osnabrück. All these stakeholders share problems and solutions, knowledge, data and resourced that will contribute to make of EROVET a real tool for VET centres and learners.
Will EROVET accept new members?
EROVET will put the means to become a self-sustainable network that will be able to accept new members in the near future.