Unions4VET is co-determination, assisting design and taking joint responsibility Trade unions want to learn from each other and design good apprenticeships together.

Elke Hannack - Deputy Chairwoman of the German Trade Union Confederation

Political Background

Together with trade unions from Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Costa Rica and South Africa, the Unions4VET project works for better quality in VET (Vocational Education & Training). The background on the creation of the Unions4VET project and current developments can be found here.

Unions4VET is co-determination, assisting design and taking joint responsibility

Elke Hannack - Deputy Chairwoman of the German Trade Union Confederation
Elke Hannack - Deputy Chairwoman of the German Trade Union Confederation

Trade unions want to learn from each other and design good apprenticeships together. We stand by a lively social partnership to mediate vocational qualifications, to simplify the entrance to the world of work and to enable young people to participate both socially and professionally.

(Elke Hannack – Deputy Chairperson of the German Federation of Trade Unions)

Berlin Memorandum "Vocational education and training in Europe - perspectives for the young generation"

The political framework for Unions4VET is the European Training Alliance, which was resolved by the governments of Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain in 2012. The state ministers of education agreed to improve their domestic vocational education and training systems and, at the same time, to create the prerequisites for a vocational education and training room in Europe by signing the Berlin Memorandum "Vocational education and training in Europe - perspectives for the young generation" on 11th December 2012 in Berlin. This should also reinforce approaches to learning on-the-job in vocational education and training.

Among other things, the participating countries agreed the following tangible steps for the start Phase:

30000 exchange activities (placements, training phases) are to be implemented

  • 30 regional education and training networks are to be created in partner countries with German involvement
  • In addition to the ongoing support of international vocational education and training cooperation, the BMBF shall also provide additional budget funding for the implementation of the memorandum. This will be supplemented by funding from the partner countries.
  • On behalf of the BMBF, the German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training will be set up in the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).
  • Six political consultancy projects are to be set up.

Further Information:
Berliner Memorandum

The strategic projects at the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Against the backdrop of the large significance that social partners have in the design and control of vocational education and training in Germany, the BMBF initiated three projects in 2015 to promote international cooperation in VET by social partners and has sponsored these since then. It thereby contributes to the implementation of the Memorandum.

On the employer side, the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) heads the VETnet project and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH), together with the Central office for Further Training in Craft Skills (ZWH), runs the SCIVET project. The VETnet project arranges dual education system courses with undertakings in other countries on a pilot basis and advises companies on the introduction of dual education system elements. The SCIVET project creates central access to support services which German crafts offer to the international vocational education and training project. The services also provide a quality framework for their implementation. In this context, the Unions4VET project has the strategic goal of promoting an exchange of views and teamwork between employee representations in vocational education and training at an international level.

The three strategic projects are tied into the German government’s strategy of internationalising vocational education and training and of supporting cooperation, both with each other and with GOVET (the German government’s central office for international cooperation in vocational education) and with iMOVE (the government’s service office for internationalising German initial and advanced education providers).

European quality framework for VET

A particular, political context of the Unions4VET project is the commitment of the European Federation of Trade Unions (ETUC) in the European Training Alliance. With the goal of implementing a European quality framework for VET in collaboration with the European employer associations BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME and CEEP, the EGB has developed 20 quality standards and criteria for apprenticeships. These quality standards are a reference framework for good training for the partners of the Unions4VET project. Unions4VET aims to help implement these quality standards internationally in vocational education and training. 

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