Adecco Group, the world’s leading provider of HR solutions, joined the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) with the Adecco Way to WorkTM programme . By pledging 5,000 apprenticeships in Europe by the end of 2017, Adecco confirms its commitment to fight youth unemployment and boost young people’s employability through valuable work-based training opportunities.

Youth unemployment remains one of the biggest problems of our times. In April, almost 5 million young people were unemployed in Europe, with rates of 49.6% in Spain and 50.1% in Greece. Learning on the job and work-based training are the most valuable requirements to integrate people into the labour force and develop talent. Yet due to gaps in the education system, or to insufficient opportunities, too many youngsters lack the crucial experience that companies need. In 2013, the European Commission launched the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) to promote apprenticeship schemes and initiatives across Europe by bringing together public authorities, businesses, social partners, education providers and youth representatives.

With its pledge, Adecco commits to providing 5,000 young people with an apprenticeship, as defined by the European Alliance for Apprenticeships over the next three years (2015-2017). By combining company-based training with school-based education, the apprenticeship model has been recognized in Europe as one of the most effective schemes to develop employable skills and facilitate youngsters’ transition from education to the labour market.

Adecco will meet the EAfA pledge by contributing its expertise and developing innovative solutions for both partner companies and young employees. Successful examples are already in place in countries like France, where Adecco has developed the most comprehensive offering of ‘Agency Apprenticeship Contracts’ in the country. Belgium has also recently launched a new solution with ‘’The Beginners’ Contract’, offering youngsters an internship at partner companies, followed by a temporary or permanent contract.

The announcement of the pledge was made today in Riga at a meeting of European Union Ministers in charge of Vocational Education and Training, organized under the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in cooperation with the European Commission. Adecco was represented by Mark De Smedt, Adecco Chief Human Resources Officer, who signed the Pledge, and Clemence Lemmonier, recently appointed ‘Adecco France CEO for One Month’. They joined European social partners and Commission representatives, including Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, and Detlef Eckert, Director, DGEMPL.

“Joining the European Alliance for Apprenticeships represents a further confirmation of Adecco’s commitment to tackle youth unemployment”, said Mark De Smedt. “In 2015, within the Adecco Way to WorkTM project, Adecco has already placed over 1,300 youngsters in internships and work based training opportunities. With this pledge, we go a step further and commit on apprenticeships. We strongly believe that concrete solutions to boost economic development and employment are only possible through public-private partnerships and initiatives such as the European Alliance for Apprenticeships. Together we can make a difference”.

EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen commented: “With 38 new pledges from companies, social partners and other organisations, the European Alliance for Apprenticeships is today growing both in size and strength. The Alliance offers a win-win solution. For companies, it gives a way to invest in their own productivity. For young people, it provides a stronger supply of quality apprenticeships across Europe. I call upon others to follow the example of the Alliance for Apprenticeship partners: Get involved and help more young people to prepare for their future careers".

About Adecco Way to WorkTM

In 2013 Adecco launched the Adecco Way to WorkTM programme to fight youth unemployment. The global initiative involves Adecco employees in more than 50 countries and aims to address the mismatch of skills and experience that so often prevents young people from entering the workforce. Adecco Way to Work™ makes Adecco’s expertise available to youngsters, providing job seekers with guidance, training, and work experiences including the chance to become Adecco ‘CEO for One Month’ in 34 countries.

About the European Alliance for Apprenticeship

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships was launched on 2 July 2013 in Leizpig (Germany) by a Joint Declaration between the EU Presidency, the Commission and the European social partners. The Alliance brings together public authorities, chambers of commerce, industry and crafts, businesses, social partners, education and training providers, regions, youth and non-profit organisations, think tanks and research institutes in order to promote apprenticeship schemes and initiatives across Europe.

In 2015, thirty eight new pledges were made to the European Alliance for Apprenticeships, committing to provide more and better apprenticeships for young people.