Apprenticeships in Advanced Manufacturing – Dual apprenticeship competes increasingly with academic pathways

Building on the analysis of national apprenticeship systems in the 2018 Eurofound report Adaptation of national apprenticeship systems to advanced manufacturing, this report summarises the results of 14 case studies of good practice in the manufacturing sector in five EU Member States (Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland and Italy) and two countries outside Europe (Australia and the United States). Situated in different national and sector-specific environments, all case studies are characterised by the aim to adjust apprenticeship programmes and/or practices in response to challenges emerging from advanced manufacturing technologies and processes. The case studies examine a series of different issues, notably context, drivers for implementing change, impact and crucial factors for success.

  • Key findings
    › Whereas all 14 case studies have strong links to advanced manufacturing and the dual pathway of apprenticeship, their specific focus, scope and objectives vary significantly. This variety is largely driven by regional and national contextual factors and respective challenges of apprenticeship training facing the seven countries. For example, national contexts vary between countries such as Denmark and Germany, in which dual apprenticeship is the dominant form of IVET, to countries such as the US, where apprenticeship training still is a minor VET pathway and apprenticeship practice is mainly company- and industry-driven
  • › Despite this variety of national apprenticeship contexts, a number of similarities concerning major motivation and drivers to initiate practices at national, regional, local or company level exist. First, in all cases, apprenticeship training in manufacturing occupations is facing similar requirements and challenges concerning adjustments of curricula, modernisation of courses and programmes resulting from new disruptive technologies and respective requirements regarding skills, competencies and qualifications. Additional motivations and objectives relate to apprenticeship as an attractive pathway of VET in the manufacturing sector, links and more flexible pathways to higher education and career progression or improvements in the quality and e icacy of apprenticeship training to guarantee the provision of highly qualified personnel for the company and/or the local/regional labour market.
  •  Against a background of new requirements stemming from advanced manufacturing technologies and the need to master them, and because dual apprenticeship competes increasingly with academic pathways, the majority of cases have totally or partly addressed ‘higher’ apprenticeship or ‘higher’ VET programmes leading to a qualification standard of European Qualifications Framework (EQF) Level 6 or higher.
  • › Many of the higher VET programmes have been initiated solely by or with strong involvement from single large companies, thereby indicating new needs at company level resulting from advanced manufacturing technologies, processes or materials as well as new skills and competency requirements in managerial positions.
  • › In contrast, the focus of IVET programmes described in the case studies has been on modernising, complementing or extending existing occupational apprenticeship schemes. Apart from Ireland, where the development of a new initial apprenticeship programme is related to a reform aiming at the overall expansion of apprenticeship training, the focus of good practices clearly has been on adjustments, innovations and improvements that also aim to address general challenges facing the national apprenticeship systems.


Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Company initiatives to align apprenticeships to advanced manufacturing | Eurofound

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