Israel has experienced strong economic growth over the last decade, and unemployment is now below 5%. Skills shortages are emerging in several technical areas. If Israel is to meet the demand for skills and to support its economic growth it can either increase external migration or/and use its education and training system more effectively. At the same time, inequity and disadvantage in some population groups are raising the profile of other demands for vocational training as a vehicle for social inclusion. Collectively, these factors are driving policy interest in developing a vocational education and training (VET) system which is currently both fragmented and of modest scale when compared with the VET systems of other OECD countries.

This OECD report Apprenticeship and Vocational Education and Training in Israel compares the VET policy in Israeli with practice in other countries, and on this basis draws policy conclusions. Among others, the report argues for the expansion and integration of apprenticeship programmes into the mainstream upper-secondary system; development of systematic work-based learning in selected school-based VET programmes; support of employers with provision of high-quality work-based learning; setting up a national strategic body to plan and guide policy development in VET; and, focus on literacy and numeracy in VET programmes for young people and for adults.

This report was drafted by Małgorzata Kuczera, Tanja Bastianić and Simon Field. Elisa Larrakoetxea and Jennifer Cannon provided valuable administrative support. The OECD is very grateful to colleagues in Israel, in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and many other people we met during our visits for their many very constructive contributions to the review. In particular we are grateful to Shmuel Pur and Lior Zysev-Yogev from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs; Yaakov Sheinbaum from the Ministry of Education; Sophie Artsev and Haim Portnoy from the Central Bureau of Statistics; Judith King, Nir Levy and Tirza Willner from Myers-JDC-Brookdale. Within the OECD the report benefited from many helpful comments and advice from Francois Keslair, Anthony Mann, Marco Paccagnella and William Thorn in the Directorate for Education and Skills and Claude Giorno and Gabriel Machlica from the Economics Department.