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NRW initiative “Europe – Experience and Learn

The demands of globalized markets are leading to a rapid acceleration of technological and scientific developments. This is also changing the conventional notion of training. The 21st century demands a high degree of flexibility and a willingness to engage in lifelong learning – both nationally and in the European and international context.

Currently, around six percent of all trainees have experience abroad as part of their initial training. In direct comparison to mobility in higher education, this figure is significantly lower. Additional efforts are therefore needed to sustainably promote and support mobility measures for apprentices. In this context, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has initiated the “Europe – Experience and Learn” program in cooperation with companies and the European Youth Parliament in Germany. This promotes experiences abroad for apprentices in other European countries.

This program aims to strengthen the mobility of apprentices and give them the opportunity to gain valuable international experience. In doing so, the initiative facilitates a European experience in two steps: In the “Experience” area, the focus is on a stay abroad at a European subsidiary or partner company. In the “Learning” area, on the other hand, participation in a trainee and student forum of the European Youth Parliament is offered once a year.

This enables the trainees to strengthen their soft skills, gain new impressions and develop ideas independently. The company site gains profile in advertising for apprentices and becomes part of a statewide network of participating companies – which is well received by the mechanical and plant engineering sector in North Rhine-Westphalia.

As part of the “Europe – Experience and Learn” initiative, the 5th Trainee and Student Forum took place in Cologne from September 4 to 6, 2023. The aim of the event was to promote independent and critical articulation of own political ideas and active political participation.

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