Project objectives

The Project fosters the exchanges of experiences among 3 countries where there is a high potential for mutual learning.

Project "Support for small and medium sized enterprises engaging in apprenticeships Getting SMEs on board" builds upon the ongoing experiences carried out by some of the actors in terms of supporting the creation of sustainable links between VET providers and SMEs and relies on the closed cooperation developed at bilateral levels by some of the partners to support and foster micro and small enterprises to counter unemployment. The Project fosters the exchanges of experiences among 3 countries where there is a high potential for mutual learning: Italy, where a recent reform introduced a compulsory apprenticeship period at the secondary school level (law 107/2015), BiH, where a discussion is ongoing on how to foster SMEs and VET providers, Germany, that in Europe is the lead.

The cross-fer tilization among par tners with different backgrounds and between the education system and the SMEs are at the basis of the strategy of the project, that aims at supporting a conducive environment for SMEs' engagement in apprenticeships whilst improving existing and creating new sustainable linkages between VET providers and SMEs, directly or through strengthened intermediary bodies. This approach, which relies on capacity building in terms of networking and of increasing the quality of the apprenticeships through setting up a database in each country to manage the matching phase and through the creation of a tutoring system, will contribute to support SMEs' engagement in apprenticeships. Owing to their limited size and resources, SMEs often find it difficult to train qualified workers to supervise apprentices.

In many cases, it is the company owner or senior skilled workers who take on this role, often on top of their own tasks. With increased national efforts to bolster apprenticeship learning for young people, more skilled workers or future entrepreneurs will need to be trained and supported in this function. Availability of competent in-company trainers is crucial to ensuring a good learning experience for apprentices. Through a win-win partnership with the schools and thanks to the mobilization of all stakeholders (chambers of commerce, employers' organizations, sectoral federations, VETs, public employment services) an apprenticeship culture will be promoted, and both quality and attractiveness of apprenticeships will be increased.