LTA EuroApprentices - European Initiative: Long-Term Activity (LTA) of the Erasmus+ Ambassadors in VET (EuroApprentices) in the Erasmus+ Programme 2021-2027
EuroApprentices – Erasmus+ ambassadors in VET is a sectoral bottom-up ambassador initiative, which strengthens on the one hand the visibility of learning mobility in VET and on the other hand social commitment, European values and active citizenship of VET learners. Using the powerful alumni message the EuroApprentices-Initiative promotes inspiring opportunities and strengthens Erasmus+ in VET.
At a time when far-right political movements are on the rise across Europe and participation in democratic life is declining, it is increasingly important to inspire young Europeans with the idea of civic engagement for European values. Thus, the LTA calls for Erasmus+ ambassadors, who are strongly needed to share their experiences and to motivate new generations of VET learners to go abroad. The Initiative aims to enhance the visibility and the impact of mobilities and contributes to the priorities of the programme, especially to participation in democratic life and Inclusion and diversity. By being a member of the network, young people actively engage in a political and social life within the European Union. The initiative supports active citizenship and fosters social competences. The participants are not only Erasmus+ ambassadors, but also stand for the common mutual values and the citizens‘ positive understanding of the European Union. Furthermore, the programme seeks to promote equal opportunities, access for all, inclusion, diversity and fairness throughout all of its actions. Organisations and the participants with fewer opportunities themselves are at the heart of these objectives. The EuroApprentices-Initiative represents a diverse group of participants with various backgrounds.
In 2017, the National Agencies for VET in Erasmus+ in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Italy established a European Network of Erasmus+ funded apprentices and VET learners. Over the last years the network has grown substantially. Currently, the National Agencies in Austria, Belgium Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Germany participate in the network. The national agencies recruit and train the apprentices, promote the initiative in their respective countries and organise on a rolling basis the yearly International EuroApprentices Meeting.
Activities of the Erasmus+ Ambassadors (EuroApprentices)
The EuroApprentices use social media to share their Erasmus+ experience. They are willing to be invited for example by enterprises, VET schools and training centers to report about their stay abroad. Furthermore, they plan and carry out voluntarily various activities in their local or regional environment for networking, information and motivation. They also participate in events on European level e.g. the European Youth Event, VET Skills Week or other events on European level as the Forum of Vocational Excellence.
Objectives of the LTA
The LTA is a continuation and development of the existing EuroApprentices Network. The following goals are to be achieved:
- Create a European community of Erasmus+ ambassadors in VET.
- Facilitate capacity building of Erasmus+ ambassadors in VET.
- Prepare relevant aspects for a future Erasmus+ alumni structure in VET.
- Strengthen participation in democratic life and Inclusion and Diversity within the network.
The LTA started in 2022 with a Kick-Off Meeting in Prague, where the participating National Agencies started to prepare the International EuroApprentices Meeting in 2022. In June 2022, the Spanish National Agency hosted the Online Social Event. More than 30 EuroApprentices from 8 different countries participated in the event and exchanged about different topics and their experiences. In September 2022, the Czech National Agency hosted the International EuroApprentices Meeting in Prague during the Czech EU Council Presidency. The last International Network Meeting took place in April 2023 on Terceira in Portugal, where EuroApprentices from 10 countries came together to exchange about the focus topics Democratic Participation and Sustainability. After discussing about European values and their role as EuroApprentices during workshops, the participants got in contact with the nature of Terceira by visiting a volcanic cave and planting trees. After meeting again during the Online Social Event in October 2023, organized by the Polish National Agency, the International EuroApprentice Network Meeting will give the participants the next opportunity to exchange on their activities in Helsinki (Finland) in June 2024. Meeting during the month of the European election will direct the topic to the question on how to increase democratic participation of young people in Europe.