SAPS – Supporting Apprenticeships between Professional Higher Education & Small and Medium Enterprises

EURASHE is leading the SAPS project on Supporting Apprenticeships between Professional Higher Education & Small and Medium Enterprises.

Underneath are further information on:


Across Europe, there are large disparities in the number of apprenticeship placements offered to students in professional higher education (PHE). With respect to placements offered by SMEs, a number of barriers arise, in particular that:

  1. SMEs may not have the structures in place to take on apprentices,
  2. The value proposition is not always clear for the SMEs,
  3. PHE institutions are not always suited to mass-market their supply of students for placements, and to operate them at scale with large numbers of SMEs.

To this end, the SAPS project has the aim of:

  • improving the perception of SMEs of the benefits of engaging apprentices from PHE institutions,
  • lowering the barriers to cooperation between PHE institutions and SMEs,
  • establishing more regular and structured cooperation between the umbrella organisations for PHE (EURASHE members) and organisations representing SMEs.

SAPS is tackling these barriers through a two-pronged approach. The first is to bring European experts in managing apprenticeships together, to develop teaching & learning materials for SMEs, while at the same time improving the procedures of PHE institutions go make them more open to apprenticeships. To this end, the project will:

  • develop a toolkit for SMEs including on collaborating with PHE institutions, on-boarding apprentices and deriving value out of apprentice placements,
  • create quality guidelines for PHE institutions offering apprenticeships to SMEs, covering the areas of governance & strategy, teaching & learning as well as operations.

The second phase of the project will be to promote the advantages of apprenticeships with SMEs while tackling any perceptional barriers, via a 10-country, multi-lingual apprenticeship attractiveness campaign. The highlight of the campaign will be an apprenticeship portal bringing together promotional messages, examples of best practice, tools including those developed by the project, and, critically, a list of contacts of one-stop-shops for starting offering placements, offered by PHE institutions across Europe.

Our highlight target is to achieve a quarter-million website hits by the end of the campaign. This will be achieved through a combination of seminar appearances, joint promotion with SME-representative organisations, promotion in the media, as well as social-media and web advertising.

Through this approach we will have impact on all priorities of the application. We will increase the supply of apprenticeships by lowering barriers to take on apprentices, both from the sides of the organisations sending and those receiving, as well as by increasing cooperation between PHE Institutions and SMEs. We will improve the quality of apprenticeships by offering guidance to SMEs on how to organise these, and giving PHE Institutions a quality assessment tool for assessing it. We will improve attractiveness by highlighting the value proposition of offering placements, through an ambitious attractiveness campaign.

Following are EURASHE news items related to the project:

  • Boosting your company with Apprenticeships 27/12/2018 - Numerous studies by various European organizations highlight that small business are unable to find the employees they need to fill open positions, limiting opportunities for growth while raising costs. At... Read more
  • Apprenticeships at SMEs: How to work with a Professional Higher Education Institution (PHEI) 7/12/2018 - Embracing the apprenticeship culture and starting an apprenticeship scheme in a company is not difficult. However, it might not be very intuitive for an SME who has never done it... Read more
  • EURASHE project on apprenticeships will help to find new talents easier 29/11/2018 - Numerous studies show that small businesses are unable to find suitable employees limiting their opportunities for a growth while raising costs. At the same time, Professional higher institutions (hereafter-PHE) not... Read more
  • SAPS presents a new tool to ensure apprenticeships’ quality 7/2/2018 - SAPS (Supporting Apprenticeships between Professional Higher Education & Small and Medium Enterprises) after a set of national workshops and partner meetings developed the Apprenticeship Quality Toolkit which provide a hands-on,... Read more
  • Call for Experts to join the SAPS project – Supporting Apprenticeships between Professional Higher Education & Small and Medium Enterprises 9/2/2017 - Call for Experts to join the SAPS project – Supporting Apprenticeships between Professional Higher Education & Small and Medium Enterprises The SAPS project stands for Supporting Apprenticeships between Professional Higher... Read more
  • EURASHE 2017 work programme 30/11/2016 - In 2017 EURASHE will continue to address its 4 thematic areas; the 2017 work programme comprises: Mission of professional higher education Our 27th Annual Conference organised on 30-31 March in Le Havre (France)... Read more
  • More to come soon…

    Following are events related to the project:

    SAPS partner meeting
    Brussels (Belgium), 9 Nov 2016, Michal Karpíšek, Marko Grdosic
    Following are documents in EURASHE’s library that are related to the project:

    ApprenticeshipQualityToolkit

    Following are the partners of the project:

  • Assemblée des Directeurs d’Institut Universitaire de Technologie (ADIUT) - Assemblée des Directeurs d’Institut Universitaire de Technologie (ADIUT) ADIUT represents the 113 IUT established in 80 French Universities. It acts as the coordinating council for the IUT network. Several committees... Read more
  • Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges (Association HVC) - Skupnost višjih strokovnih šol Republike Slovenije (SKUPNOST VSŠ) The Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges (Association HVC) was founded as a public institution in 2005, when its Establishing Act was... Read more
  • Conference of Academies of Applied Studies Serbia (CAASS) - КОНФЕРЕНЦИЈА АКАДЕМИЈА СТРУКОВНИХ СТУДИЈА СРБИЈЕ (KASSS) The Conference of academies for applied studies in Serbia (CAASS), established on the basis of the Law on Higher Education, is an umbrella association... Read more
  • Czech Association of Schools of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) - Sdružení profesního terciárního vzdělávání (SSVS)   The Czech Association of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) is an independent organisation of colleges and institutes of professional higher education in the Czech Republic.... Read more
  • European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) - EURASHE is the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education that offer professionally orientated programmes and are engaged in applied research within the Bologna cycles. EURASHE represents universities of applied sciences... Read more
  • Knowledge Innovation Centre (Malta) (KIC-Malta) - The Knowledge Innovation Centre is a dynamic consultancy focusing on knowledge brokerage and innovation of knowledge transfer processes. The Centre brings together a variety of local and European experts from... Read more
  • Österreichische Fachhochschul-Konferenz (FHK) - The FHK is an association of Austrian Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS). UAS offer young people in Austria a practically-orientated university-level education and prepare them optimally for their careers. The... Read more
  • Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council (CCISP) - Conselho Coordenador dos Institutos Superiores Politécnicos (CCISP) Created in 1979, the Conselho Coordenador dos Institutos Superiores Politécnicos (CCISP – Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council) is the body of joint coordination and... Read more
  • Rectors’ Conference of Lithuanian University Colleges (LKDK) - Lietuvos kolegijų direktorių konferencija (LKDK) Rectors’ Conference of Lithuanian University Colleges (LKDK) was established in 2002. It is the association of the rectors of 12 Lithuania state UAS and 8... Read more
  • West of Scotland Colleges’ Partnership (WoSCoP) - WoSCoP undertakes a range of strategic, national, European and Transnational activities to help its member colleges attract and retain EU and other external funding. Its intelligent approach to funding means... Read more
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    Following are some of the experts involved in the project:

  • Michal Karpíšek, Secretary-General of EURASHE - Michal Karpíšek is the Secretary-General of EURASHE, starting 1 June 2016. He has been Executive Officer of the Czech Association of Schools of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) since 1994. He... Read more