10/03/2014 - Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)
Quality framework for traineeships adopted
On 10 March, the Council adopted a recommendation on a quality framework for traineeships and discussed the employment and social policy aspects of the 2014 European Semester.
The recommendation on a quality framework for traineeships aims to enable trainees to acquire high-quality work experience under safe and fair conditions, and to increase their chances of finding a good quality job.
The recommendation provides a common set of guidelines that will increase transparency and improve the quality of traineeships. The member states are invited to put the following principles into practice:
- traineeships to be based on a written agreement
- better learning content and respect for the rights and working conditions of trainees
- reasonable duration of traineeships and their proper recognition
- increased cross-border mobility of trainees in the EU
Traineeships are crucial for ensuring a smooth transition from school to work, but are currently used differently across the member states. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, one in three traineeships is substandard with regard to working conditions or learning content. Many of these substandard traineeships are used by employers to replace entry-level jobs
The adoption of the recommendation will support the implementation of the Youth Guarantee schemes by EU member states.
Council recommendation on a quality framework for traineeships
The quality framework for traineeships is one of the initiatives the EU has put in place to combat unemployment among young Europeans. Other measures include:
- Youth Guarantee schemes: to help ensure that all young people under 25 get a quality offer of employment, continuing education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed
- Youth Employment Initiative: EU funding to support young people in regions where youth unemployment rates are above 25%
- Quality apprenticeships and labour mobility
More on actions to fight youth unemployment in the EU
Other topics on the agenda
The ministers held a policy debate on the employment and social policy aspects of the 2014 European Semester exercise, with a view to contributing to the broader discussions at the European Council meeting of 20 and 21 March. In this context, the Council adopted:
- conclusions on the 2014 Annual Growth Survey and Joint Employment Report, which give political guidance on employment and social policies
- the draft Joint Employment Report
- a general approach on the draft decision on employment guidelines
- conclusions on the social situation in the EU
The ministers also exchanged views on the progress regarding the Europe 2020 strategy. In the framework of the mid-term review of the strategy, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will have to ensure that the European Semester process incorporates the objectives of the strategy more effectively, i.e. delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.