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CEP discussion paper
Apprenticeship in Europe: 'Fading' or Flourishing?
Hilary Steedman
December 2005
Paper No' CEPDP0710:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I21; J24

Tags: apprenticeship; dual system; school to work transition

This paper sets out the extent and defining characteristics of apprenticeship in Europe. Apprenticeship is then situated within the wider context of European provision for education and training of 16-19 year olds and a simple typology is proposed and explained. The German-speaking dual system countries are characterised as high employer commitment countries with minimal integration of apprenticeship into full-time 16-19 provision and weak links with tertiary education. The UK, the Netherlands and France are characterised as having relatively low levels of employer commitment but greater integration of apprenticeship into full-time provision and stronger links between apprenticeship and tertiary level provision. Recent evidence on the extent to which both apprenticeship models improve employment probabilities is reviewed and pressures on the two apprenticeship models resulting from increasingly competitive global markets and consequent changing skill needs are examined. A final section discusses whether apprenticeship in Europe can adapt to and survive these pressures.