In recent weeks EAfA (European Alliance for Apprenticeships) hosted a new live discussion. At the virtual table, representatives of social partner organizations, employers' associations and European trade unions to discuss about vocational training (VET) and quality apprenticeships in the hospitality and construction sectors.
The event highlighted the importance of the collaboration of sectoral social partners for the development of quality apprenticeships across the EU. Indeed, there are numerous examples of joint initiatives undertaken by the social partners to promote skills and qualifications in the hospitality and construction sectors. These are linked together by a shared commitment, which aims to attract and retain workers and promote fair working conditions.
Norbert Schöbel, team leader of the Vocational Education and Training Unit at DG EMPL (Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), who stressed the importance of EU sectoral social dialogues and their bipartite committees.
Kerstin Howald, political secretary at EFFAT (European Federation of Trade Unions in the Food, Agriculture and Tourism), instead provided an overview of the initiatives undertaken to promote apprenticeships in the hospitality sector. In Europe, EFFAT and HOTREC (Hotel, Restaurant and Cafes in Europe, the association that groups hotels, restaurants, bars and similar businesses in Europe) have agreed to promote, among their member organizations, the tool of apprenticeship, to improve the quality and attractiveness.
Subsequently, Marta Machado, deputy director general of HOTREC, emphasized the importance of sectoral meetings and the exchange of good practices. Through the "Together for hospitality" campaign, HOTREC aims to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the promotion of apprenticeships, lifelong learning, continuous updating and retraining.
Angela Martina, Italian entrepreneur and president of the Commission for professional training at the FIEC (European Construction Industry Federation), then presented the “Construction Blueprint” project. With the overall goal of attracting and retaining young people in the construction sector, this initiative aims to implement a new strategic and coordinated approach by identifying existing and emerging skills needs, in order to translate them into vocational training and apprenticeship programs.
The live discussion was closed by Rolf Gehring, political secretary for safety and health at the FETBB (European Federation for the Construction, Building Materials, Wood, Furniture and Forestry Industry), highlighting the advantages represented by joining EAfA, intended as a platform and network for communication and cooperation and as a resource hub for IeFP knowledge.