Apprenticeship with Vocational Training

Despite its economic importance, the role of the private sector in the provision of Vocational skills has been largely overlooked in official policy making. Surely private sector institutions can respond quickly to changing requirements in industry, modern and more efficient methods, new equipment and new safetyl requirements. Companies can adapt their curricula to their clientele, thus ensuring their students can take the industry forward to meet new needs and challenges.

Government Vocational Training Agencies tend to suffer from a rigid regulatory framework, a lack of accountability, entrepreneurial know-how to cannot respond to modernity quickly and adequately.

Governments have to respond to the changing needs of the world, provide funds and facilities for training, but also work hand in hand with traditional experts modifying courses as required.

Start of public/private collaboration – termed “apprenticeship” has evolved in line with production practices, there has been a shift in many countries towards in-service, hands-on training by the enterprises themselves. The latter part of this second stage and the early part of the third are accordingly marked by the establishment of structured and regulated apprenticeship systems, such as Germany’s dual system and the alternance training practised in France and other European countries.

The Government pays a fee to the Company to train apprentices, and the Company gets potential staff to mould and train in required skills.

The growing recognition of the need for continuous training throughout a person’s working life has encouraged governments to involve the private sector in the development and delivery of Vocational Training and to develop market-driven mechanisms to make it competitive and responsive to demand.

A more entrepreneurial spirit has accordingly been introduced that tailors the content and delivery of training to enterprise needs, attention has been given to cost recovery and criteria have been devised to regulate the quality of the training delivered by the private sector.

The role of the national training authority as training provider has diminished and its functions have been increasingly delegated to a variety of regional/local and sectoral/industry bodies. A more conscious effort has also been made to involve the private sector in the development of training policy and its delivery.

Countries do not necessarily fall neatly into one of the categories described above. Though in the face of the challenges posed by globalization and technological change there is a clear tendency for VET to be demand-driven rather than supply-oriented and for the private sector to play a prominent and formal role in its governance and delivery.

Traditional approach

Skills passed from Parents or Local Labourers to young people or hired hands

Mid-level approach

Governments in lower-income developing countries have increasingly set up public Vocational Training Institutions to pass on much needed skills and enable employability. However these set ups need to strengthen their organizational structure as a weak private sector and training market grows.

The best approach

In its most advanced form, the vocational training is driven by a strong private sector, while the government establishes the overall framework and provides the necessary incentives to motivate the collective effort. This sees an apprenticeship system, providing pay and security while learning, and a job at the end of the training period.

For the worker, learning new skills almost guarantees future employability and means the acquisition of life-long skills and competency ensures economic security of the family.

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