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students learn mainly in educational institutions and may have some opportunity to experience the world of work, and community and voluntary activity. Apprenticeship in the true sense is located within the employment paradigm but uses a dual mode approach whereby learning takes place in both the workplace and in educational settings. Much of the less satisfactory apprenticeship provision is located within the employment paradigm where learning takes place almost exclusively on the job.

The government has announced that it wants to expand apprenticeships and improve their performance. We argue that this should only be done via well- regulated, quality assured, dual mode apprenticeships. This would raise the status of the work-based route and provide a high-quality alternative to full- time education.

Pointers for Practice

The challenge for government, employers, education and training providers and local LSCs is to create an expansive model across all sectors. To do this, we need a sector-by-sector analysis of the distinctive role apprenticeship can play in providing the knowledge and skills required in the contemporary economic and occupational context. Further and higher education, as well as employer-led bodies and trade unions, need to be involved in a forward- looking partnership that lifts the work-based route out of its social inclusion ghetto. Then, apprenticeships can be designed to be both fit for purpose for employers and to provide young people with a platform for educational and career progression.

More immediately:

¾ Some sectors will need to create consortia programmes to increase their breadth

¾ Investment is needed to provide small-group tuition from experienced basic skills teachers for young people who enter apprenticeship without level 2 attainment

¾ A cadre of professionals is required at local level to help employers embed apprenticeship in their business plans

¾ There must be clearly identified transfer routes to enable dissatisfied apprentices switch employers or return to full-time education

The following example is taken from one of the companies we investigated in our project. Whilst it represents the high standards of the engineering industry, it embodies the quality levels to which all apprenticeships should aspire.


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