Review of dual apprenticeship programmes

Background

This research on apprenticeships in manufacturing and advanced manufacturing is carried out in response to the increasing interest of EU and national policy makers in apprenticeships as a way to tackle the generally high levels of youth unemployment and to integrate young people into the labour market. It is, however, essential to ensure that any initiatives undertaken in relation to apprenticeships correspond to the needs of the labour market and the ways in which new technologies are transforming the work organisation and production processes across all sectors, particularly manufacturing.  The countries in focus in this research are five EU Member States (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and Ireland) and two non-EU countries (Australia and the USA). These countries were selected for the importance of advanced and high-tech manufacturing for the national economy and the labour market and for the prominent role of apprenticeships within the VET system.

Objectives

This research is divided into two projects, each with specific objectives.  The main objective of the first project is to provide an analytical overview of apprenticeship systems in the selected countries and to review policy developments in response to labour market shifts, changes in employment, career and mobility patterns, technological and structural change.  The main objective of the second project is to investigate the actual implementation and adaptation of apprenticeship programmes particularly in advanced manufacturing at company or industrial district or regional cluster level. The aim is to identify innovative practices but also to assess the resilience and flexibility of the prevailing national apprenticeship models in that same sector which is challenged by the fast pace of technological change and requirements for new skills.

Outputs

The main outputs of the first project are seven country reports, one for each country covered, and a comparative overview on policy developments on apprenticeship systems, with particular focus on the links between education/ training policies and industrial policies. These reports are based on extensive desk research underpinned by four to eight in-depth interviews per country with key stakeholders representing public authorities, employers organisations, trade union organisations, training providers and research institutes. Under the second project, 14 case study examples, two for each country covered, will illustrate adaptations of existing apprenticeship systems to local circumstances in the manufacturing and advanced manufacturing sector.  Wider challenges related to structural and technological change are also explored.  The findings from this research will feed into policy discussions around the role played by apprenticeships in the future development of manufacturing and will inform policy making in the context of current or planned reforms of apprenticeship systems. 

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