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The rhetoric and the reality of apprenticeship in England: A comparative study of the English, Finnish and French apprenticeship systems for 16- 18 year.

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Presentation on theme: "The rhetoric and the reality of apprenticeship in England: A comparative study of the English, Finnish and French apprenticeship systems for 16- 18 year."— Presentation transcript:

1 The rhetoric and the reality of apprenticeship in England: A comparative study of the English, Finnish and French apprenticeship systems for year olds Dr Anna Mazenod

2 Why research apprenticeships? Apprenticeship in policy rhetoric – presented as alternative to school-based learning – practical vs academic learning Research motivation from policy practitioner experience

3 Study design Three country cases: England, Finland, France Focus on year olds undertaking a formal apprenticeship at any qualification level Systematic literature reviews (research published ) and expert interview in each country

4 Defining apprenticeship Apprenticeship = systematic, long-term training alternating periods at the workplace and in an educational institution or training centre Apprentice is contractually linked to the employer and receives remuneration Employer assumes responsibility for providing training leading to a specific occupation CEDEFOP, 2009 Terminology of European education and training policy

5 Potential roles for employers within apprenticeship programmes Providers apprenticeship places Part-funders: e.g. apprenticeship tax in France Trainers: in-house training for apprentices Qualification co-developers Advocates: promoting apprenticeships Industry role models: setting standards

6 Policy rhetoric of apprenticeship in England ‘ Employers in the driving seat’

7 Study findings Multiplicity of policy aims for apprenticeship More ‘groundrules’ for employers in Finland and France, voluntarism in England Employer leadership rhetoric only in England

8 Meanings of apprenticeship Work-placement type activity for disaffected young people alongside competitive vocational education programmes; training rather than education (England) Traditional pathway for occupations and trades. Also a more recent pathway into higher education (France) One part of a re-integration package for disaffected young people (Finland)

9 Multiplicity of policy aims Economic and social challenges to which apprenticeship is presented as a solution: 1)improving intermediate vocational skills 2)integrating the worlds of work and education 3)re-engaging disaffected young people

10 The marginality of apprenticeship Less than 10% of year olds are apprentices in England and France, less than 1% in Finland (almost 2/3rds in Germany, Steedman, 2011) Recent growth in England has been concentrated in older age groups, now only 30% of apprenticeship starts are aged 16-18

11 Can employers be in the driving seat in England? Labyrinthine funding & management systems Prescription is the norm in funding rules Multiplicity of policy aims = apprenticeship as an instrument of government education and training policy (Fuller and Unwin, 2009) Employers are not a homogenous group; the relevance of apprenticeship depends on the occupational sector

12 Recommendations Develop a consensus around a country- specific coherent meaning of apprenticeship in policy Bridge policy rhetoric with reality of contemporary apprenticeships in England Accept marginality of apprenticeship? Take account of the significance of differences in country contexts in developing policy

13 References Steedman, H. (2011). The State of Apprenticeship in International Comparisons: Australia, Austria, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. Report to the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network. Fuller, A. and Unwin, L. (2009). ‘Change and Continuity in Apprenticeship: The Resilience of a Model of Learning’. Journal of Education and Work, 22(5),


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