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Making business-education partnerships the new norm – a meeting of business and EU leaders 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Yesterday, CEOs from multinationals and NGOs reconfirmed their commitment to the European Pact for Youth, a mutual engagement of business and the European Union leaders, initiated by CSR Europe, to support youth employability and inclusion. The meeting was co-chaired by Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, and Viscount Etienne Davignon, Belgian Minister of State and President of CSR Europe.

The leaders put forward a proposal to make business-education partnerships the "new normal" across Europe. The proposal suggests action not only at EU-level, but also focusses on impactful actions that could be taken by Member States and businesses. In addition, it sets out concrete targets to be achieved by 2030, such as for instance ensuring that all teachers benefit from a business-education partnership to enhance their leadership and professional development. Schools are also encouraged to follow-up on their graduates, as a means to measure better the success of the education they have received. 

In November 2015, companies launched together with the European Commission the mutual engagement to support the creation of 10,000 quality business-education partnerships, with the shared target to establish together at least 100,000 new good quality apprenticeships, traineeships or entry-level jobs. One year on, the European Pact for Youth has been bolstered by national action plans and over 15,000 business-education partnerships set up.

On the next steps for the European Pact for Youth, Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe commented: “Making business-education partnerships the new normal” is key for the future development of our societies and to give a boost to employability throughout the lives of people. The Pact convincingly demonstrates the power of collective action and we would urge more companies and more educational institutions to forge long-term partnerships to enhance the skills of young people”

Commissioner Thyssen added: "I am really pleased to see the Pact for Youth become a reality on the ground. With our different European initiatives to mobilise more training and job opportunities for youth by bringing the world of business and education closer together, there are now more than half a million new opportunities to help  young people get their foot on the jobs ladder. "

CSR Europe, the supporters of the Pact for Youth and EU leadership will continue the work on building a pro-youth, pro-innovation Europe together over the coming months and will present the final results of the European Pact for Youth at the first Business-Education Summit in November 2017.


The European Pact for Youth is an initiative of the European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Europe) and the European Commission. It brings together representatives for business, education and youth, and the European institutions and calls upon all businesses, social partners, education and training providers, youth organisations, public and private employment services, teachers, trainers, learners and parents as well as other key actors, to develop or consolidate partnerships in support of youth employability and inclusion. Its main objectives are to:

  • Boost the number and quality of business-education partnerships
  • Reduce the skills gaps
  • Contribute to the EU and national policy developments on skills for employability

The targets to be achieved by November 2017 are to support the creation of 10,000 quality business-education partnerships, and at least 100,000 new good quality apprenticeships, traineeships or entry-level jobs.

The European Pact for Youth is closely linked to other schemes which seek to improve opportunities for young people such as the European Alliance for Apprenticeships that brings together governments with other key stakeholders, like businesses, social partners, chambers, vocational education and training (VET) providers, regions, youth representatives or think tanks. The common goal is to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships in Europe.  

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships includes national commitments from     32 countries in Europe on concrete steps to foster apprenticeships as well as over 160 pledges from business, social partners, chambers, NGOs and think tanks. One such pledge, and the largest commitment, is from the Alliance for YOUth a partnership which unites more than 200 large and small companies. Since the European Alliance for Apprenticeships began the Alliance for YOUth enterprises have provided 115,000 training and job opportunities and at an event 15 November, they pledged another 230,000 opportunities for 2017-2020.

Press contacts:

CSR Europe

Lucinda Pearson

+32 (0) 541 1613

European Commission

Christian Wigand

Sara Soumillion