Seven Questions about Apprenticeships

Answers from International Experience

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After a period of relative neglect in many countries, apprenticeships and other forms of work-based learning are experiencing a revival. Their effectiveness in easing school-to-work transitions and serving the economy is increasingly recognised. However, engaging individuals, employers, social partners and education and training systems in such learning remains a significant challenge. In light of this, Seven Questions about Apprenticeships draws out policy messages on how to design and implement high-quality apprenticeships, using material from the OECD project Work-based Learning in Vocational Education and Training.

It presents answers to seven questions commonly asked by governments and practitioners seeking to either introduce or reform apprenticeship systems for young people and/or older workers. Can apprenticeships provide a useful contribution in every country? Should employers receive financial incentives for providing apprenticeships? What is the right wage for apprentices, and how long should an apprenticeship last? How can we ensure a good learning experience at work? How can apprenticeships be made to work for youth at risk? And how to attract potential apprentices?

The study establishes principles of effective practice by building on new analytical work and examples of effective practice from around the world.

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Can apprenticeships provide a useful contribution in every country?

This chapter explores the relevance of apprenticeship provision. It explores the universal benefits linked to the distinctive work-based character of apprenticeships, and finds considerable variation between countries in apprenticeship provision. The chapter identifies important elements that allow apprenticeships to work in the context of a given country, sector or occupation: the strength of social partnerships, the character of competition with alternative learning routes, and how entry to occupations is regulated. It also describes how apprenticeship schemes can be adapted to suit these different contexts. Finally, the chapter examines the costs and benefits of apprenticeships and how these can be adjusted to increase attractiveness to both employer and prospective apprentice, and how methodological tools enable such assessments to inform apprenticeship policy.

English French, German


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