28.06.2019, 17:15 - 17:45, Oxford
Researching Vocational Education and Training - 13th International JVET Conference
In the aftermath of the Great Recession the apprenticeship systems of the D-A-CH region as well as of Denmark and the Netherlands have been highly praised for their positive impact on the labour market entry of graduates. This has led to a renaissance of apprenticeships and new approaches throughout Europe.
Despite the political will and the efforts of many countries to set up new or renew apprenticeship schemes (e.g. in Sweden, Slovakia) it seems that apprenticeships in Europe have lost ground at the expense of higher, school-based vocational education in the last 20 years. On the one hand, the traditional model of apprenticeship defined as a specific type of programme with an equally specific qualification which aims to qualify people as skilled workers seems to have diminished (e.g. in in Germany, Austria, Denmark). On the other hand, a model is on the rise in which apprenticeship is only seen as a specific mode of dual learning which is not restricted to the level of skilled workers or a particular type of programme (e.g. in Finland, France and the UK).
This development could be described in a positive sense as an expansion of apprenticeships, alternatively as the dilution of the traditional notion of apprenticeship. The changing notion of apprenticeship and the fact that the number of countries and systems included into the scope of comparative studies has expanded, has led to many new misconceptions about apprenticeships. The paper presents a new way of classifying apprenticeships based on 30 apprenticeship schemes from all over Europe provided by a recently published Cedefop database. We suggest four logics and key purposes which today’s apprenticeships seem to follow: (1) enterprise training (training new staff and reduce recruitment costs), (2) professional education (becoming part of the professional community), (3) school or university education (personal development and citizenship) and (4) public training scheme as part of active labour market policy (re-/integration into the labour market).
Considering the various ongoing changes in apprenticeships in Europe there seems to be a trend towards the prevalence of the school/university logic. It is very likely that apprenticeships in the 21st century become a particular approach of dual learning within the overall paradigm of lifelong learning. This is a clear departure from the traditional definition associated with the idea of craftsman and skilled worker education in the centuries before. Thus, the classification of apprenticeship schemes presented should facilitate international comparison and collaboration.