The common positions of the unions involved were established at the kick-off meeting on 9 November 2015.
Unions are equal partners in national and European vocational education and training dialogue.The following statements must therefore be understood as a plea for a holistic view of education and training and as a call for European vocational education and training dialogue:
- The trainee is the focus. The trainee's competencies must be nurtured. Only those offering young people good training, a decent wage and good career prospects will succeed in attracting them to undertake vocational education and training.
- In the issue of vocational education and training, our primary concern as trade unions is the responsibility for young people. Youth unemployment of 22% in Europe means the future around six million young people is at stake. Joint action is required here by governments, employers and unions. A lost generation is a shameful indictment for Europe.
- Education and training has a crucial role to play in making democracy real and accessible. Europe's place in the world is not only dependent on economic and technical success, but also on the continuation and development of democracy in terms of the welfare state and the rule of law.
- Vocational education and training is more than a qualification for a particular job. Today, the ability to learn alone is not sufficient to be able to live and work and to find a good job. A foundation is needed - a broad understanding. All vocational training which aims to contribute to social development is part of broad personal development.
- Only broad-based, well-founded vocational education and training ensures highly-qualified, skilled workers for companies and provides young people with good prospects on the labour market. The company as a learning location is therefore a vital element in modern vocational education and training. Every occupation must be learned in a practical context - in the reality of working life. The duality of vocational education and training is therefore a fundamental principle of vocational education and training systems.
- Modern vocational education and training provides training in occupations, and not just in what is required in an individual workplace or training position. It delivers content extending beyond narrow technical knowledge. Trainees should have an overview of their occupational areas, should be able to recognise interrelationships and, to a large extent, be able to manage these themselves.
- We need companies which provide training using qualified personnel, good interaction between vocational schools and companies as well as between unions and employers. Companies must also be prepared to pay training remuneration.
- The vocational school must ensure that the wider general context is provided relating to what is delivered in the company in the individual case. Because of the growing specialisation in many companies and the ever-increasing concentration on core activities, more and more companies are only able to deliver sections of what the job description covers.
- For unions, trainees are an accepted part of the workforce. Works councils, staff councils and young people and trainee representations fight for the rights of trainees. Unions also work to support trainees in collective bargaining associations.
- Good training in Europe needs regulated instruments. This includes the training duration for learning an occupation, collaboration between company and vocational school and the legal status of trainees. The involvement of social partners, vocational schools and academia in vocational education and training dialogue is essential for the acceptance and attractiveness of modern VET systems.
The document on the common positions can be downloaded here.