Launched by the European Commission, the objective of this Call is to invite the submission of proposals on VET-business partnerships to develop work-based learning and thus contributing to the Riga objective to promote work-based learning in all its forms, with special attention to apprenticeships.

These partnerships should contribute to the involvement of business and social partners in the design and delivery of VET and to ensure a strong work-based learning element in VET.

This Call also intends to improve the quality of work-based learning and apprenticeships by promoting partnerships that involve companies, VET providers, other relevant stakeholders and intermediary organisations to develop more relevant, systematic and sustainable approaches by transferring knowledge and by learning from well-established models and practices. The focus lies on the regional and local dimension in order to produce concrete and sustainable results on the ground.

Eligible applicants

Lot 1: The applicant (project coordinator) must be one of the following organisations:
- a VET provider (at upper secondary or post-secondary level),
- a small, medium or large enterprise (public or private),
- a chamber of industry, trade and crafts, or similarly relevant sectoral/professional organisation,
- a local or regional authority;

The partnership must be composed of at least three full partners from at least two different Erasmus+ programme countries.
These three entities must include: one VET provider, one local or regional authority, one small, medium or large enterprise (public or private) or one chamber or one sectoral/professional organisation.
In addition, the partnership should include at least one employers' and one workers' organisation (social partners) as associated partners.

Lot 2: The applicant (project coordinator) must be a European umbrella organisation having members or affiliates in at least 12 Erasmus+ programme countries, of which at least 6 take part in the project as partners.

Eligible participating organisations (Lot 1 and Lot 2) include: public local and regional authorities, social partners (employers' and workers' organisations), small, medium or large enterprises (public or private), chambers of industry, trade and crafts, or similarly relevant sectoral/professional organisations, public employment services, VET schools and VET providers, agencies, centres (including post-secondary VET), youth organisations, parents associations and other relevant bodies.

Eligible countries (Lot 1 and Lot 2) are:
- Erasmus+ programme countries: the 28 Member States of the European Union,
- the EFTA/EEA countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway,
- EU candidate countries: Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
Proposals from applicants in EFTA/EEA countries or from candidate or associated countries may be selected provided that, on the date of the award, agreements have been signed setting out the arrangements for the participation of those countries in the programme.

Eligible activities
The Call supports: 
1. Local and regional partnerships (Lot 1) between: a VET provider, a small, medium or large enterprise (public or private) or chamber or other sectoral/professional organisation, and a local or regional authority.
These projects aim to strengthen VET-business partnerships on work-based learning and apprenticeships in a local or regional context.
The partnership should include an employers' and a workers' organisation (social partners) as associated partners.

2. Partnerships between a European umbrella organisation and its national members or affiliates (Lot 2).
The call also supports a limited number of projects carried out by European umbrella organisations. These projects aim to support targeted and strategic activities between these umbrella organisations at European level and their national members or affiliates aimed at strengthening VET-business partnerships on work-based learning and apprenticeships in a local or regional context.

In both Lots, beneficiaries shall set up and implement new cooperation structures on sustainable VET-business partnerships based on a skills needs assessment and possibly taking into account a sectoral dimension.
The activities shall be linked to cross-border or inter-regional cooperation strategies, local or regional economic development strategies or macro-regional strategies.
These should involve capacity building, knowledge transfer and exchange of experiences, or make existing engagement more systematic, targeted and sustainable for the improved qualitative and quantitative provision of apprenticeships and work-based learning;

In addition, beneficiaries shall undertake two of the following three activities for both lots:
- design and implement curricula, courses and modules, training material on work-based learning and apprenticeships according to skills needs and in line with the European transparency instruments (e.g. EQF, EQAVET, ECVET) and using digital and innovative technologies as appropriate,
- build effective cooperation structures between VET teachers and in-company trainers for the delivery of work-based learning and apprenticeships,
- set up and strengthen work-based learning and apprenticeships in higher VET at tertiary level (1) by facilitating cooperation between VET providers at secondary and tertiary level and businesses, including the promotion of research links to universities or universities of applied sciences to respond to skills shortages and foster the excellence agenda.

The total budget for the co-financing of projects is estimated at maximum EUR 6 million (EUR 4,5 million for Lot 1 and EUR 1,5 million for Lot 2).
Each grant will amount to between EUR 250 000 and EUR 350 000. The agency expects to fund around 20 proposals (up to 15 projects under Lot 1 and up to 5 projects under Lot 2).
The Agency reserves the right not to distribute all funds available.

Deadline: 17 January 2017, 12.00 noon (Brussels time).

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