This paper proposes the introduction of a new European lending system to finance vocational training, targeting four types of people: the unemployed and young people with no higher education, students already enrolled in higher education who wish to do an additional year of study, the employed and self-employed who want to retrain and refugees.
The fund that would be created to support this scheme would borrow on the financial markets to directly lend money to the eligible citizens. Training programmes would target occupations that face manpower shortages and specific skills that are in high demand by companies. A list of these jobs and skills would be drawn up country by country. The syllabuses would be defined and regularly reviewed on the basis of the best pedagogical practices. Finally, reimbursement of the loan would be contingent on the beneficiary landing a decently paid job.
This scheme, which would be permanently instituted across the EU, would spur growth and foster social justice. Named after one of the founding fathers of the EU, the Italian Altiero Spinelli, the fund would also be an excellent instrument for macroeconomic stabilisation of the eurozone. Members states would be able to decide to substantially increase the scope of vocational training in a country faced with a severe economic downturn. This injection of public funds in a recessionary economy would contribute to stabilising it in the short term while increasing potential growth by improving citizens’ skills. Moreover, by favouring macroeconomic convergence between countries, the Spinelli Fund would reinforce the stability of the single currency.