Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2007:12: Adapting to Globalised Product and Labour Markets

Hilary Steedman ()
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Hilary Steedman: Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science

Abstract: Rapidly changing labour markets in European countries are a challenge for young people seeking employment. While in many countries around half of all young people move into tertiary education, apprenticeship provides a recognised route to skill for some or all of those who seek to move directly into employment after school. The paper identifies two distinct models of apprenticeship in Europe, the well-established demand-driven model found in the German-speaking countries and in Denmark and the more recently revived supply-driven model found in France, the Netherlands and the UK. The demand-driven model associated with high employer commitment has very little connection to full-time vocational courses. However, the low employer commitment supply-driven model in France and the Netherlands derives legitimacy from close integration with the more established full-time vocational route. These different developments are explained by differing historical patterns of skill development in the two groups of countries as shown by differences in the expansion of higher education. Apprenticeship continues to facilitate the transition from school to work and to lead to higher employment probabilities than equivalent full-time schooling. However, in all the reference countries fast-changing labour markets have led to reform and change of the regulation of apprenticeship which has as its aim to increase the incentive to employers to provide apprenticeship places. The paper concludes that countries without a strong apprenticeship tradition can achieve some of the benefits of apprenticeship by implementing a supply-driven model provided that standards and quality are protected by regulation and/or by integration into more established provision

Keywords: apprenticeship

JEL-codes: J08; J20; J21

23 pages, October 24, 2006

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN 1652-120X; ISBN 978-91-85619-14-6

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