Several sectors of activity in Belgium already have a system in place for the 15/25 years old jobseekers that combines learning with working. This is the case for the food industry. The programme is co-managed by the trade unions and employers’ organizations: they have set up an “apprenticeship Committee” that identifies learning and employment priorities, in cooperation with professional / technical schools. The social partners are the ones who can deliver homologation to companies who wish to hire apprentices. The programme allows people to learn on-the job during one or two years. They go to school two days a week, and work in a company three days a week. They get paid a salary for the days they work. The salary is of 50% of the minimum hourly wage and bonuses and/or incentives to promote motivation and presence at work.
The added value of the systems lies on:
- The guaranty for students to be offered a workplace during the training years,
- A decent pay,
- Students get trained for jobs needed in de sector,
- the system has proven to offer an education to young people who struggle in the traditional school system.
Outcome and achievements
The programme leads young people to jobs in the food industry. It is estimated that 150 to 200 young workers have benefited from the system in the food sector. Other forms of apprenticeship exist but young people are less protected against unfair working conditions.