ErasmusPro will be a new action within the Erasmus+ programme to support long-duration work placements of apprentices abroad which has been approved at the Erasmus+ Programme Committee. ErasmusPro will be published in the 2018 Erasmus+ Programme Guide later this year.
On December 2016, the European Commission announced its new Youth Initiative. Among other things, the Commission will launch “ErasmusPro”, a new dedicated activity within the Erasmus+ programme to support long-duration placements of apprentices abroad. Under this initiative, 50.000 mobile apprenticeship placements of long duration (6–12 months) will become available.
The rationale behind this initiative is that demand for VET mobility is much higher than the current Erasmus+ budget can support (less than 40% of the eligible applications can be satisfied under KA1) and long duration mobility (more than 6 months) has reduced from 7% under Leonardo da Vinci to 0,4% under Erasmus+. Moreover, only 1 % of European apprentices (notwithstanding a EU target of 6 % to be achieved by 2020) are currently opting for a stay abroad during their training (which lasts on average 30 days, compared to six months for university students).
At the end of 2016, the Commission proposed setting up a pilot project on long-term apprenticeship mobility – 6 to 12 months – to be launched in 2017 and financed by non-allocated funds from the Erasmus+ budget. 50.000 apprentices should be able to benefit by 2020. Their number needs to be added to the target of 650.000 young Europeans in vocational education and training who, under the current Erasmus+ programme for the period 2014-2020, should be enabled to benefit from a mobility grant.
This new activity will provide improved support structures for mobility preparation, implementation and follow up (through KA2), improved incentives (e.g. individual incentive rates) and a dedicated budget within the Erasmus Plus programme.
However, as the recent Policy Paper of the Jacques Delors Institute appoints “while the consolidation of financial support for apprenticeships abroad is necessary, it will not be sufficient to ensure a significant increase in the mobility of apprentices in Europe, as many regulatory and administrative barriers still remain. It is of particular importance to speed up the convergence of national apprenticeship regulations and to facilitate the recognition of qualifications in order to eventually operate with a single European framework for apprenticeships” (p.8, Extending Erasmus: A new impetus for youth mobility in Europe, Jacques Delors Institute, June 2017).
The call will be published under the General call for Erasmus+ in October (deadline for presentation of applications will be February 2018) and the 1st ErasmusPRO VET learner/apprentice is expected for September 2018.