3e - Mobility

 Work placement abroad

Our world is becoming more and more international. Therefore, it has been an educational goal for many years that it be possible for young people to receive part of their training abroad. More and more are making use of this.

Since 1992, the European Commission has provided grants for transnational mobility for young people in VET. The EU Leonardo programme supports the mobility of persons in VET. In 2007, the Leonardo Programme funded moves for 51.000 young people in VET.

 Mobility of apprentices

Employers and apprentices, as well as the social partners think that placement abroad is a very good idea. For the company and the young person, and also for society. Still, there are a number of challenges. Especially when it comes to longer periods abroad. These are:  

  • Apprentices are contractually linked to their employer. Therefore, they need permission before they can go abroad.
  • Apprentices are part of the workforce. Hence, it can be difficult for small-sized companies to send their apprentice abroad.
  • The employer is contractually obliged to pay wages, when the apprentice is abroad.
  • The employer has responsibility for training the apprentice. Therefore, he/she must be convinced that the stay abroad can be beneficial.
  • Most companies, especially the small ones, do not have pedagogically trained staff to organise the training of the apprentice.
 Training abroad

If the training of an apprentice is taking place abroad, the authorities of the country “sending out” the apprentice must have some kind of certification for the training taking place in the host country. 

Example Denmark: Checklists for download
You can download examples of how this is done in Denmark. The trade committee responsible for the clerical VET trade has prepared checklists for clerical workers specialising in ‘administration’. The checklist is instrumental for assessing whether the training period spent in the company abroad also can be recognised as an integral part of the Danish course.

Click for download of checklists in both English and German.

 Financial support

Analyses of mobility activities in Europe point to financing as one of the key barriers. An EU study mentions that demand for financing in many countries far exceeds supply.

The Leonardo da Vinci programme is the largest single source of funding. There are also others. Some are mentioned here.

Some countries have their own programmes for national mobility. One is the Danish PIU. This is outlined below.

In some countries, there is a possibility of getting mobility support from non-dedicated programmes. Some countries have bi-national exchange programmes with neighbouring countries. An example is France- Germany. In these programmes.

Many countries envy the Danish PIU – Placement Abroad Programme. Work placement abroad is supported financially via the Danish PIU (Praktik i Udlandet)-programme

By using PIU, the apprentice can have a work placement abroad approved as part of his/her Danish training. The trade committee or vocational college preapproves the placement. They ensure that the placement abroad fills the requirements for Danish education.



 Good advice and useful links

EU has supported a number of mobility projects. Read more about them at a joint webpage www.mobilityportal.eu.
Find a number of useful links to 12 selected mobility projects. You can learn more on important topics like:

  • Awareness raising campaigns for mobility 
  • Sources of funding
  • Advice on legal and practical issues
  • Methods for individual mobility of apprentices.
  • Pedagogical quality assurance
  • Assistance in finding placement opportunities
 How do apprentices and companies benefit?
When you ask the apprentices about their professional gains from a work placement abroad, they say, among other things: 

  • Learned new ways of cooperating 
  • Learned new work methods
As for personal gain, they emphasize: 
  • Learned about a foreign culture 
  • Became better at meeting new challenges
The Danish companies generally experience that young people have more initiative, are more independent and mature after a work placement abroad.

Source: Extract of conclusions from survey "Practice abroad - what do students learn from it", Cirius, Denmark, 2006 (summary in English, p. 77-81).
 ECVET – The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training

EU strongly supports mobility for both goods and persons. This is also the case for apprentices who want to be trained abroad, outside of their home country.

For many years, this process has been hindered. The reason for this is that was very difficult for apprentices to get accreditation for what they learned abroad.

Hence, the number of apprentices trained outside their own country has for many years been low compared to other EU mobility programs. 

Credit system
For this reason, the EU Member States and the Commission are developing a system to facilitate the recognition of knowledge, skills and competencies, gained by individuals in different learning environments or through periods of vocational education and training abroad.

The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) will give people greater control over their individual learning experiences.

In addition, it will make it more attractive to move between different countries and different learning environments.

Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learning and mobility for learning are taking place increasingly in a wide variety of contexts; formal, non-formal and informal and in different countries.

One of the key solutions to attracting more interest in trans-national mobility is to facilitate validation, recognition and accumulation of learning outcomes acquired during a stay in another country or in different learning contexts.

See also module 10!

ECVET aims for better comparability and compatibility between different national VET and qualification systems. The system, which should be implemented by Member States by 2012, is a voluntary framework to describe qualifications in terms of units of learning outcomes.

Each of these units will be associated with a certain number of ECVET points developed on the basis of common European standards. 60 points should correspond to the learning outcomes achieved in a year of full time VET.

More information: www.ec.europa.eu/education

You can also find plenty of useful information about mobility and accreditation. E.g. European credit and transfer and accumulation system (ECTS) and Europass. 

Download templates for the Europass here. 


3 - Vocational education