GAN Belgium integrates workplace-learning into youth education

A coalition of companies and employer organisations proposes objectives for workplace-learning

Youngsters will truly learn their profession in the workplace, which is why a network of Belgian companies and employer organisations is joining forces. Under the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) they invite Belgian governments and educational institutions to integrate workplace-learning into educational pathways, targeting the activation of more youngsters. This will pave the way for lifelong learning in the workplace.

The GAN is a Switzerland-based coalition of large companies, SMEs, business, employer and international organisations that work together to promote workplace-learning. In Belgium, a coalition of companies, under the umbrella of a GAN Belgium aims to close the gap between the actual capacities of young people and the expectations in job vacancies. This skills gap trend is illustrated in the high youth unemployment rate in Belgium: 17,7% of young Belgians between the ages of 18 and 25 are unemployed, almost triple the average unemployment rate (6,3%).

The current formats of workplace-learning, such as a three-month traineeship, are sometimes too short to give young people the sense of what they will do later in the sector, believes GAN Belgium. All the while, a fully-fledged form of workplace learning, which effectively synergizes the educational system and the needs of the job market, is a key element to tackle the mismatch of skills on the labour market.

Any student in Belgium looking for an education which introduces him or her to the workplace, is limited in choices. If you discount the programmes with a mandatory internship of a couple of months, there are hardly any programmes that offer a fully-fledged form of workplace learning. However, Belgian companies believe strongly in this educational concept: in Flanders alone, more than 7.000 companies indicated that together they have more than 20.000 workplaces available for pupils or students in the framework of dual learning.

The Global Apprenticeship Network in België

GAN Belgium takes action on the matter. Propelled by Nico Reeskens, Country Manager of The Adecco Group Belgium, a coalition of 19 companies and employer organisations joins forces to stimulate the integration of workplace learning in the educational pathway for our youth.

“The traditional forms of education can’t catch up any longer the expectations of the rapidly changing labour market. Soft skills like working in a team, creativity, critical thinking, self-reflection, empathy and the like are becoming more and more important. We need to strive for new educational systems that adequately prepare people adequately for the jobs of tomorrow. A lot is happening with regard to workplace learning, but the efforts are still too fragmented. It is GAN Belgium’s ambition to strengthen ties between the commercial sector, education sector and the government by combining existing initiatives and improving the reputation of workplace-learning.”

Nico Reeskens, Chairman of GAN Belgium

Global GAN Members like Accenture, Nestlé, IBM, Microsoft and The Adecco Group will actively participate in the Belgium project, further reinforced with companies such as Aveve, Colruyt and G4S. GAN Belgium alo focuses on  small and medium companies to member to help advocate a closer link between the education sector and the labour market. GAN Belgium will share and exchange expertise and experiences about dual learning and other forms of workplace learning.

International project

“The GAN has been joining forces in several countries to find a solution to reduce youth unemployment for a number of years. The programme, and especially the traineeship which brings the education and commercial sectors together, has proven its worth. This is the only way to ensure that the trained skills are those needed on the labour market. It also paves the way for lifelong learning.” 

Alain Dehaze, CEO of The Adecco Group and Chairman of GAN International

GAN was founded in Switzerland, where workplace-learning is already embedded in the commercial and education sectors. GAN is already active in France, Spain, Turkey, Indonesia, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Malawi and Sri Lanka.

About the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN)

The GAN is a coalition of large companies, SMEs, international, business and employer organisations. Founding partners include the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Business at OECD (BIAC).  Its main goal is to support company initiatives that teach young people the skills that businesses need and offer them career opportunities, through internships and workplace learning. GAN is a network where private companies, employer organisations and international bodies, work together to commit to more opportunities; advocate for the status of apprenticeship; share best practises; and, facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue, with the end goal to improve the youth unemployment rate.

Participating companies and organisations

The Adecco Group, ABB, Accenture, Athlon, Attentia, Aveve, Colruyt, IBM, ISS, G4S, Microsoft, Nestlé, Ricoh, Suez, Zurich Insurance, UWE, Beci, VBO en Voka.

GAN Belgium: partners

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Koen Baumers


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