Fuller, Alison and Unwin, Lorna
What counts as good practice in contemporary apprenticeships? Evidence from two contrasting sectors in England
Education and Training, 49, (6), . (doi:10.1108/00400910710819109).
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The purpose of this paper is to: first, outline the features of the contemporary apprenticeship system, and its performance in terms of the numbers starting and completing programmes; and second, to report the findings of empirical research which sought to identify the characteristics of effective apprenticeship. Design/methodology/approach - Two contrasting sectors were selected to identify aspects of provision that generate "success": "engineering", which has a long tradition of apprenticeships and "business administration", which has a shorter history of involvement. Four organizations, two from each sector, were selected from those, which had gained the highest grade in the formal inspection of apprenticeship provision undertaken by the Adult Learning Inspectorate. Interviews were carried out with training personnel and investigated issues such as the organisation's rationale(s) for employing apprentices; the costs and benefits associated with the approach; the structure of the training and the pedagogical processes employed; and the links between the programme and career progression. Findings - The findings in the paper indicate that effective apprenticeships are strongly associated with a sustained organisational commitment to apprenticeship. This stems from an identifiable business case to recruit and train young people and a concern with their personal (long-term) as well as job-specific (short-term) development. This approach is manifested through the development of programmes which ensure that apprentices participate in a wide range of co-ordinated and progressive work and learning opportunities. Originality/value - The paper identifies a range of good practice features emerging from the case studies and discusses the prospects for extending this approach to other industries and occupations.
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