Mobility of apprentices in Europe

The European network to promote, implement
and enhance learning mobility for apprentices



Learning mobility


Placements abroad are considered as a didactic tool for fostering skills, notably professional and technical skills, international skills (foreign language proficiency, intercultural competence) and personal (broad, generic) skills. Learning mobility consist of a period of work experience (or work-based learning) undertaken in another country. The immersion in practices (in contrary to "work shadowing" and "work visits") in an intercultural context foster an ability to identify (and question) work practices and learning processes by offering a "contrast medium" - a background against which known practices and their relativity become visible. By combining practice and interculturality, mobility fosters also personal skills and the ability for reflection on his own learning and for self-directed learning (taking responsibility for his own learning process).

Source - Søren Kristensen, Learning by leaving - Towards a pedagogy for transnational mobility in the context of vocational education and training (VET)

Competent bodies and intermediary organisations


Intermediary organisation: Any organisation that plans and implements learning mobility activities on a non profit basis, on behalf of SMEs and/or apprentices.

Competent bodies: Any organisation that provides information, expertise or support to intermediary organisations, SMEs and/or apprentices in connection with learning mobility. Competent bodies are organisations which play an official role in providing service and support to organisations and individuals who are directly involved in learning mobility, but are not themselves active. Services and support could be of the following nature :
  • information (e.g. euroguidance)
  • recognition and validation of mobility (authorities, social partners)
  • funding providers (programme administrators)
  • advice on planning and implementation of learning mobility to organisations and individuals
EuroApprenticeship mainly focus on intermediary organisations, as they are the ones that make mobility happen. Competent bodies are important, but provide services in support, and are not directly practically involved. In general we list organisations whose activities about mobility reach certain dimensions and represent a significant element of their work.

Not all types of intermediary organisations / competent bodies will be equally active in all countries. E.g. in Denmark, the chambers are not at all active, and most initiatives are instigated by the vocational schools. In Germany, however, many chambers are active, whereas in southern European countries regional authorities are some of the major organisers of mobility activities.

With these considerations in mind, we can set up the following typology of potential member organisations:
Intermediary organisations / competent institutions can be such as:
  • National, regional and local authorities (like Generalitát Catalunya)
  • chambers of commerce, crafts and industry
  • vocational schools (like EUC-SYD)
  • non-profit private structures and foundations (like IFA)
  • social partners
  • business and sector organisations(like ANFA, EBC)


Target group “apprentices”

First step before starting the project and starting to collect data about apprenticeship training systems, the partners agree to use the definition for apprentices of the work group on Mobility for apprentices. The work group formulates general criteria’s at European level, as the definitions and scope of apprenticeships or alternate VET systems vary from country to country. It would then be up to the participating countries to fix the definition applicable in their country in accordance with their VET system. The following core criteria are proposed :
  • It concerns Initial Vocational Training
  • It is an alternate training scheme in which training takes place at the workplace (enterprise) as well as in school
  • The enterprise is involved/plays an active role/has responsibility in the constitution of the training programme as well as in the decision if a person can leave on mobility – not necessarily a contractual link
Source: report from the working group on Mobility for apprentices