VIP@Work is an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project which focuses on helping VET students to gain relevant work experience through internships for quicker and more efficient entry to the job market after they have finished their vocational training.
All around the world young people are up to four times more likely to be unemployed than adults. The lack of opportunities can have devastating consequences for their long-term employment outcomes. Youth often lack the competencies and skills that are in high demand from employers, but they also face information gaps about which relevant skills they should signal to prospective employers.
In most European countries, the youth unemployment rate is between 1.5 and 3 times higher than that of the most active segment — workers between 25 and 45 years of age. Since this percentage remains persistently high and also the mismatch between education and employment is quite high, the governments were encouraged to undertake VET reform to increase the quantity and quality of internships and apprenticeships. But in many countries, this has generated an excess supply of students looking for an internship but low employer demand.
Business support organisations like Chambers of Commerce, incubators, Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) etc. are in touch with businesses on a daily basis. These organisations employ professional business advisors who provide information, guidance and training to companies. They support SMEs growth and they are typically influential in local and regional development policy. Unfortunately, internships are entirely missing from their portfolio and service provision. In a recent survey, less than 5% of business support organisations provided internship information to their SME clients.
VIP@Work seeks to address this situation by building the capacity of business support organisations to develop support structures which will facilitate SMEs to become internship employers. The project is meant to promote work-based learning for VET students by actively equipping intermediary organizations with the necessary knowledge, tools and network on VET internship facilitation in their region. Intermediary bodies will improve their knowledge on the internship ‘business case’ and learn about potential sectors where internships can be developed, all to engage SME clients in VET internships.
The aim is to strengthen the business support to organisations who would work as intermediaries, with a goal of unlocking this strong framework to encourage SMEs participation and create a strong connection between enterprises/employers, VET and government.
The purpose of the project is to improve the knowledge of business support organisations, who will gain information on potential sectors where internships can be developed in their particular region, but also will be able to quickly incorporate this new knowledge to inform, inspire and train SMEs (via guidance, training courses, mentoring) so they take steps towards employing interns.
Find out more about this project – vipatwork.erasmusplus.website
VIP@work has come to an end and we would like to update you on the project developments, since the last newsletter! As you might remember, VIP@work seeks to address youth unemployment and the education-employment skills mismatch by building the capacity of business support organisations to facilitate small businesses to become internship employers. During the last year of the VIP@work project, we have come a long way to create relevant and helpful materials, both for business support organisations and SMEs.
Read more on our final project newsletter.