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Seven Questions about Apprenticeships

Answers from International Experience

image of Seven Questions about Apprenticeships

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.

English French, German

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Overview: Making apprenticeships work

One of the biggest challenges in developing skills for the labour market is to ensure that learning meets the needs of the workplace. One of the best ways of doing this is to make the fullest use of the workplace as a powerful learning environment, and to find effective mechanisms to link employer interest to the mix of training provision. After a period of relative neglect in many countries, apprenticeships and other forms of work-based learning are experiencing a revival, in recognition of their well-known effectiveness in easing school-to-work transition, but also increasingly because of their particular capacity to develop skills closely tied to labour market needs. Across the OECD moreover, there is a growing realisation that work-based learning is not simply relevant to manual or low-skilled occupations, but has an important role to play in responding to the emergence of new middle- and high-level skilled employment. Apprenticeships themselves are changing. Whereas once, it was suffice for an apprenticeship to develop a narrow set of technical skills, it is now necessary to cultivate broader skills, especially basic skills, to prepare resilient learners well placed to navigate the dynamic new economy. The challenges, however, of engaging individuals, social partners and education and training systems in such learning remain significant.

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