The Franco-German Day of Movement for Apprentices in Europe wants to encourage more young trainees to do part of their training in the partnering country. The event was hosted on 22 January, as part of the festivities marking the 55th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty, which was the starting point of Franco-German cooperation.
Said Minister Brigitte Zypries: “Spending a period of time abroad not only widens people’s horizons and helps them acquire intercultural skills. These stays are also an important instrument for making training in Germany even more attractive. having international experience are a huge asset for Germany. This is why we would welcome it if as many as possible started to give their apprentices an opportunity to go abroad during their period of training, and if this became just as normal as it is for university students.”
Eric Schweitzer, President of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, says that stays abroad during an apprenticeship create a “win-win situation: They make it easier for companies to attract highly motivated apprentices and make new contacts abroad. At the same time, apprentices and young professionals – our next generation of skilled workers – benefit from broadening their horizons. Cross-border movement in vocational training is a strong investment in the future of Europe and in sound foundations for successful work in intercultural teams, of which we are seeing more and more.”
President of the Central Association of German Crafts Hans Peter Wollseifer says that cross-border training can help “make vocational training more appealing whilst also laying the foundations for future cross-border cultural and business ties. Promoting international work placements of apprentices and young professionals, particularly between France and Germany, is an important objective for the German crafts sector. However, this is something that involves major administrative efforts. This is why small and medium-sized companies, in particular, must be able to depend on a reliable support infrastructure that is available throughout Germany. This is where “Vocational training without frontiers” comes in, says Mr Wollseifer.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has developed its “vocational training without frontiers” programme to foster cross-border movement among apprentices. The ministry has teamed up with the German Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce and the Central Association of German Crafts to provide funding for so-called ‘movement advisors’, who are attached to the Chambers of Industry and Commerce and the Crafts Chambers. The job of these advisors is above all to support small and medium-sized companies that want to give their apprentices, young professionals, or trainers an opportunity to learn and work abroad. France is a very popular partner under the programme, ranking second only to England as both a destination and a source country. Germany and France have now committed to further intensifying this exchange. “Vocational training without frontiers” will now seek to forge an even stronger network of German and French companies offering the training, vocational training centres, and business and crafts chambers.