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Apprenticeships: A proven approach for tackling youth unemployment

Countries like Austria and Denmark have been very successful in using apprenticeships to tackle the youth jobs crisis. The ILO is helping to share their experiences with other countries.

Article | 12 December 2013
GENEVA – The ILO was host this week to a Sub-Regional Workshop on Apprenticeship Systems in Europe, where government, workers’ and employers’ representatives had the chance to exchange ideas and best practices on successful apprenticeship systems in the continent. Apprenticeship systems have played an important role in certain countries to help reduce youth unemployment.

In Austria, for example, 40 per cent of youth go on a work-based apprenticeship after they finish school. “The reputation of an apprenticeship is really high in Austria…so many young people want to do an apprenticeship,” Benjamin Poredos, an apprenticeship trainer in Austria, told ILO News.


Another country that fared well with apprenticeships is Denmark. Klavs Dahl Christensen, Senior Consultant for AARHUS TECH International, said that apprenticeships were very important during the crisis, as they offered young people an easier entrance into the labour market. He also said that companies can use these systems to make sure they hire staff with the right set of skills and qualifications.


In Greece, only 10 per cent of young people have access to apprenticeships. But according to Athanasia Theodoridou, General Director of Vocational Education and Training in the Greek Public Employment Service (PES), a recent reform is aiming to reach a much higher number. She said good practices from countries with successful apprenticeship systems can be very valuable for Greece.


During the workshop, participants agreed on the four pillars of an efficient apprenticeship system. Lea Zanola, a skills expert in the ILO’s Employment Policy Department, explained what they are: