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Apprenticeships: A global perspective

05 Feb 2024
People 1st International

As National Apprenticeship Week is celebrated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this month, it presents a valuable opportunity to recognise the global impact of apprenticeships. In this article we explore the increasing importance of dual education, why apprenticeships are widely regarded as a robust technical and vocational education and training solution, and effective approaches to implementing them.


The increasing importance of dual education

Developing economies across the world face wide ranging challenges with high rates of youth unemployment, skills gaps in the workforce, and lack of practical knowledge and core life skills among students. To tackle these challenges and create a more skilled and work-ready workforce, many countries have turned to dual education as a solution.

Dual education is an approach that combines theoretical classroom learning with hands-on practical training in real-work settings. This type of education not only equips students with relevant technical skills but also provides them with valuable work experience, making them more desirable to potential employers.

Additionally, dual education allows for close collaboration between educational institutions and industries, ensuring that the curriculum remains up-to-date and relevant to the needs of the job market. With its focus on both theory and practice, dual education addresses the challenges faced by countries and helps bridge the gap between education and employment, making it increasingly appealing for economies around the world to adopt this approach.


Apprenticeships as a route to cultivating a skilled and inclusive workforce

Apprenticeships have long been recognised as a respected dual education solution, offering individuals the chance to gain practical experience (usually in a salaried role) while also acquiring formal industry recognised qualifications. The combination of hands-on learning and theoretical knowledge that apprenticeships offer is highly valued by employers, as it produces well-rounded and skilled apprentices who can seamlessly transition into the workforce.

Additionally, apprenticeships offer a valuable, vocationally driven pathway for those who may not want to pursue traditional academic routes. What makes apprenticeships unique is their ability to provide opportunities for people from all backgrounds, regardless of their socio-economic status or educational background. This opens up a diverse pool of talent for employers to tap into, bringing in fresh perspectives and ideas from individuals who may not have had the traditional route of higher education.

Apprenticeships are also increasingly being used to develop the existing workforce. In England for example, apprenticeships are a popular route to upskill or reskill employees moving into a new role, helping to provide a structured career pathway and promote lifelong learning.


Effective approaches to implementing apprenticeship models

The implementation of an apprenticeship model can present challenges that need to be carefully considered to ensure success. Recommendations to overcome these include:

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