Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Adult Basic Education; Adult Educators; Adult Literacy; Adult Programs; Behavioral Objectives; Certification; Competence; Workplace Literacy; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Hughes, M. (2000). Quality improvement in the work-based sector: Summary report. FEDA comments. London: Further Education Development Agency.


The provision of work-based training in the United Kingdom was studied to identify strategies for developing and improving the work-based sector. Data were collected from the following sources: a literature review; a postal survey completed by 245 work-based training providers; follow-up interviews; and regional meetings. More than 64% of respondents had been running work-based government-funded training for 6 years or more. Many providers were working across a wide variety of qualifications and occupational areas. The study established that, despite the existence of examples of good and improving practice, new and more challenging standards for work-based learning are needed. The following areas were deemed priority areas for development: advice, guidance, and pastoral support; key skills; learning with information and computer technology; development of a self-critical, self-improving culture; leadership and strategic planning; and mandatory professional qualifications for staff. The following were among the recommendations emerging from the study: (1) teachers, employers, and career advisers should reinforce the legitimacy of the work-based route to qualifications and success; (2) providers need additional training to raise their own key skills levels above those they are teaching and assessing; and (3) detailed explanation of how practice may be developed and improved is required.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Technical Institutes; Trainers; Vocational Education; Work Experience Programs; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Hyslop-Margison, E. J. (2000). The market economy discourse on education: Interpretation, impact, and resistance. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 46(3), 203-213.


Explores the impact on Canadian schools of the market economy discourse on education that emerges from international organizations and Canadian business and government agencies. Argues that market economy policies have a deleterious effect on curriculum theory and development, and suggests that educators use critical thinking tools to resist this threat.
KEY WORDS: Educational Policy; Elementary Secondary Education; Foreign Countries; Free Enterprise System; Higher Education; Human Capital; Ideology; Resistance (Psychology); Role of Education; Canada; Discourse; Global Economy; Government Industry Relationship; Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

International Labour Organization. (2002). Training for decent work. Geneva: International Labour Organization.


Vocational education and training are important components of any dignified job, especially during this era of rapid technological change. This paper examines vocational training institutions and practices in Latin America and the Caribbean and demonstrates how the ILO’s decent work objectives are essential elements to their success.
KEY WORDS: Vocational Training; Globalization; Work and Learning; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Jurmo, P. (2002). The new (and ongoing) job crisis for adult learners: How adult educators can respond. Literacy Harvest, 25-31.


Most of the job losses that occurred in New York City after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center occurred in low-wage jobs held by lower-skilled workers. Many of those affected faced multiple obstacles limiting their employment prospects, including limited literacy and English language skills and a lack of "connections" to formal and informal mechanisms through which people typically get connected to jobs. Several programs offered by unions, public agencies, and non-profit organizations in New York City have responded to these learners in two ways--by focusing instruction on the job-related skills and knowledge learners need and by using referrals and other means to link learners to jobs and work-related training opportunities outside the basic skills program. Those interested in equipping low-skilled adults for a changing work environment should take the following actions: (1) be open to new ways of approaching work-related adult basic education; (2) develop the expertise needed to plan and deliver effective work-related education geared to learners' particular needs; and (3) advocate for new funding, better use of existing resources, and appropriate expectations from funders about ways adult education can help learners participate as workers.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Unemployment; Unions; Unskilled Occupations; Unskilled Workers; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Knight, P., & Yorke, M. (2003). Learning, curriculum and employability in higher education. New York: Routledge.


This book examines the highly topical subject of graduate underemployment with insight and clarity. The authors argue for more sophisticated research into employability, discussing how employability-friendly curricula can be developed, even in subjects which have less obvious vocational relevance. The rapid growth of higher education over the past fifty years has seen expectations increase, and governments looking to widen participation. At the moment there is an urgent need for the Government and higher education institutions to address the issue of graduate employability. The authors of this book encourage a pro-active stance, offering a ground-breaking model that can be easily implemented in institutions to make low-cost, high-gain improvements to students' employability. Topics covered include: the challenge of employability; the study and careers of English graduates; the enhancement of practice; assessing employability; the Skills Plus project.
KEY WORDS: Universities; Higher Education; Curriculum; Vocational Education; Employment; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Krahn, H., Lowe, G. S., & Lehmann, W. (2002). Acquisition of employability skills by high school students. Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques, 28(2), 275-296.


A good deal of the debate over improving the employability skills of Canadian youth is based on untested assumptions. This paper explores Alberta high school students' perceptions of the employability skills they have acquired in their courses, formal work-experience programs, paid part-time employment, and volunteer work. Findings reveal that particular types of employability skills are more likely to be attained in some contexts rather than in others. Moreover most students do not see the labor market relevance of analytic skills or a basic high school education. On the other hand, the skills that employers indicate they are seeking are different from the skills students believe employers want. Such findings indicate that the different stakeholders are not communicating effectively with each other. The paper concludes that educators and employers must clearly demonstrate to students the link between core secondary school curriculum and employment outcomes.
KEY WORDS: Youth Employment; Work Skills; Employability; High School Students; Part Time Employment; Education Work Relationship; Canada; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Lehmann, W. (2000). Is Germany's dual system still a model for Canadian youth apprenticeship initiatives? Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques, 26(2), 225-240.


In an attempt to facilitate transitions into the labor market, many Canadian provinces have introduced youth apprenticeship initiatives. As the German dual system is often considered a model for such initiatives, this paper introduces a critical perspective on issues possibly affecting the system's future. Economic restructuring, work reorganization, changing hiring practices, and young people's increasing preference toward higher education outline the main challenges for the dual system. Review of recent debates concerning Germany's dual system suggests that apprenticeship initiatives for youth in Canada need to provide students with career options that are more transparent while at the same time maintaining or increasing flexibility in the transition process.
KEY WORDS: Federal Republic of Germany; Canada; Youth; Apprenticeships; Models; Labor Policy; Labor Force Participation; Job Training; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Lehmann, W. (2005). ‘I’m still scrubbing the floors’: Experiencing youth apprenticeships in Canada and Germany. Work, Employment & Society, 19(2), 107-129.


Based on interviews with youth in Canada participating in a high school based apprenticeship programme, this article investigates the extent to which such programmes affect stated policy goals of facilitating school-work transitions and developing workplace skills. Although embedded in very different education and labour market structures, Germany’s dual system is often discussed as a successful model for youth apprenticeship programmes. A comparison between Canadian and German youth apprentices therefore provides a rare critical look at how these differences shape individual experiences in apprenticeships, but also how they affect the accomplishment of policy goals. Findings show that the study participants themselves viewed their apprenticeships as positive and meaningful experiences. Yet the Canadian apprentices had only a cursory knowledge of apprenticeship regulations and career paths, and the German apprentices were restricted in their choices by the early streaming processes in Germany’s education system. Skill development in Canada was limited by a focus on workplace readiness skills and a lack of integration of what participants did at work and what they learned at school. Rather than gaining an understanding of their rights and responsibilities in the workplace, they were learning to accept their underprivileged place in it.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeship; Employability Skills; Labour Markets; New Vocationalism; School-to-work Transitions; Social Inequality; Vocational Education; Youth; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Lindell, M., & Abrahamsson, K. (2002). The impact of lifelong learning on vocational education and training in Sweden. Melbourne, Australia: Australian National Training Authority.


In Sweden, initial vocational education (IVT) is financed by public money and is designed to provide basic skills and general qualifications to perform certain functions in an occupation. Continuing vocational training (CVT) is provided primarily by public school institutions, private enterprises, and training companies, trade unions, and employer associations and is subject to negotiations and local solutions between stakeholders. Adult schooling traditions in Sweden emanate from the mid-19th century, and traditions for improving popular literacy can be traced to the late 18th century. The early 1990s were characterized by increasing recognition of the need for recurrent education. The model of recurrent education has since been replaced by the broader concept of lifelong learning. In the interests of developing a comprehensive system for promoting lifelong learning, radical changes were instituted in Sweden's systems of IVT and CVT in the 1990s. The most profound change in IVT was the institution of apprenticeship-like programs that combined special subjects from various programs to create specially designed programs reflecting demand from local enterprises. The reforms within CVT included development of the following programs: a pilot project on advanced vocational education; the Adult Education Initiative; and individual learning accounts. Lifelong learning has become an integrated component of Swedish educational policies.
KEY WORDS: Continuing Education; Trend Analysis; Vocational Education; Impact Studies; Sweden; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Lo, L., Lai, M., & Xiao, J. (2005). Learning to work in China's leading metropolis. Teachers College Record, 107(6), 1335-1369.


This article examines the skills, development needs, and learning opportunities of the workforce in the city of Shanghai in the People's Republic of China. It attempts to elucidate the factors that influence employees' participation in workplace training and adult education activities. By tapping the views of firm executives and employees, this article discusses the combined efficacy of three types of education and training activities for vocational learning: informal learning, nonformal training, and formal adult education. The major findings of this article suggest that working adults in Shanghai are willing to participate in a variety of adult education and training activities so long as they can see the utility of these activities. Their willingness is especially apparent when adult education and training can yield widely recognized qualifications that enhance their marketability. As the leading metropolis of China, Shanghai has great aspirations for its own role in national development as well as on the world stage. Its endeavor in providing skills development for a large workforce during a period of economic transformation should afford conceptual and policy insights into the implementation of adult education and training in changing societal contexts.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Employees; Informal Education; Adult Education; On the Job Training; Labor Force Development; Job Training; Job Skills; Employee Attitudes; Urban Areas; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Maguire, M. (1998). Modern apprenticeships and employers. Journal of Vocational Education and Training: The Vocational Aspect of Education, 50(2), 247-257.


A study of 500 British employers operating Modern Apprenticeships found the following: (1) 58% were small businesses; (2) 63% recruited only 1 apprentice; (3) they were highly satisfied with participation; and (4) the current good economy may help entrench Modern Apprenticeships in the training infrastructure.
KEY WORDS: Employer Attitudes; Foreign Countries; On the Job Training; Recruitment; Small Businesses; Young Adults; Modern Apprenticeships; United Kingdom; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Malcomson, J. M., Maw, J. W., & McCormick, B. (2000). General training by firms, apprentice contracts, and public policy. Southampton: Department of Economics University of Southampton.


In this paper, training corporations increase profits by offering apprenticeships which commit these firms to high wages for those trainees retained on completion. At these high wages, only good workers are retained. This implies their productivity and reduces the external benefits if they subsequently quit. Regulation of apprenticeship duration (a historically important feature) enhances efficiency. Suitable subsidies enhance it even further.
KEY WORDS: Employees; Training; Apprenticeship programs; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Manthei, R. J. G., Alison. (2005). The effect of paid employment on university students' lives. Education & Training, 47(3), pp.202-215.


Many students are having to work during term time to compensate for debt accumulated to finance their tertiary study. This study is to explore the impact of this paid employment on student study time and other aspects of their lives. Design/methodology/approach: Undergraduates (83) completed a questionnaire about their academic workload, their paid employment commitments during term time, their earnings and expenditure, and their recreational and cultural activities. Results indicated that 81 % of the students held at least one job during term time for an average of 14 hours per week. Money earned was typically spent on essential living expenses. Working left less time than desired for social activities, study and recreation. Research limitations/implications: Results have limitations due to a relatively small sample size of self-selected students: mainly young, female and enrolled in Arts courses. Practical implications: Find suggest that working is not always detrimental to students' academic efforts, particularly if the hours worked are manageable given their course load. Lecturers should be more aware of the busy lives students lead and try to structure assignments and course requirements to recognise this, including the scheduling of class times and the offering of study support services. Originality/value: The study adds to the growing body of international data that reports on the effects of a user-pays approach in tertiary education. There is no similar data in New Zealand.
KEY WORDS: College Students; Employment Status; Financial Strain; Study Habits; Time Management.

Marginson, S. (2000). The changing nature and organisation of work, and the implications for vocational education and training in Australia. Leabrook, Australia: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.


Profound changes are occurring in technology, work and work organisation, which will have profound implications for the future role of vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. This report presents six important interrelated components of this change. Work in the future will be influenced by technology, the capacity of labour, and change management. Training, along with research and development, work organisation and capital raising, will determine whether the Australian economy is a high-skill economy that provides for rising standards of living. Key to the future role of VET will be its capacity to integrate more closely with the workplace, and its capacity to integrate into the innovation cycle.
KEY WORDS: Technology; Vocational Education and Training; Globalization; Outsourcing; De-Skilling; Organizational Change; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Maynard, J., & Smith, V. (2004). Practical ways of improving success in modern apprenticeships. London: Learning and Skills Development Agency.


Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) have been criticised in some quarters in 2002, only 40 per cent of work-based learning WBL providers were deemed adequate. Things are improving but there is still much to be done. This paper addresses this issue. Support for Success, a Learning and Skills Development Agency quality improvement programme funded by the Learning and Skills Council, commissioned a small number of action research projects in 2002, with the aim of improving learner outcomes. Of those projects, 12 sought practical ways of promoting achievement and progression in WBL to respond to the government directive of securing progression and the attainment of targets in the WBL arena. The paper provides an overview of the issues associated with 14-19-year-old vocational education and training, before addressing aspects of retention and achievement in modern apprentice programmes. Drawing on 12 projects, different approaches to improving success in MAs are explored.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeship programs; Great Britain; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

McIntosh, S. (2004). The returns to apprenticeship training. London: The Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science.


Using recent data from the UK Labour Force Survey, this paper estimates the wage gains that individuals make on average if they complete an apprenticeship programme. Results suggest a gain of around 5-7% for men, but no benefit for women. Further analysis also considers the returns by age grouping, by qualifications obtained, by highest prior qualification and by industrial sector. Emerging from this further analysis is the importance of acquiring qualifications with the apprenticeship, at level 3 or above.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeship; Wage Equations; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Mendes, S., & Sofer, C. (2004). Apprenticeship versus vocational school: A comparison of performances. In C. Sofer (Ed.), Human capital over the life cycle: A European perspective (pp. 118-134). Camberley: Edward Elgar.


Sofer combines comparative research on the processes of human capital formation in education and training in relation to the European labor market, drawing on a European research project, "Schooling, Training, and Transitions," organized and funded within the Targeted Socio- Economic Research Program of the European Union. Authors examine three main aspects of the links between education and social inequality: educational inequality, differences in access to labor markets, and differences in lifelong earnings and training.
KEY WORDS: Analysis of Education; Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity; Formal Training Programs; On-the-Job Training; Personnel Economics; Training; France; Apprenticeship; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Morissette, D. (2008). Registered apprentices: The cohort of 1993, a decade later, comparisons with the 1992 cohort. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.


This study examines the completion and discontinuation rates trends in apprenticeship programs for the 1993 cohort of newly registered apprentices over an 11-year period. This follows a study released in 2005 by Statistics Canada that looked at the same issues for the 1992 cohort of newly registered apprentices.

The purpose of this study is to provide measures of completion of apprenticeship programs and information on the learning paths of the apprentices. The study compares the measures for the 1993 and the 1992 cohorts.

The study uses longitudinal data created from the Registered Apprenticeship Information System (RAIS). It covers three jurisdictions that could provide data at the individual level over the 11-year period: New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta.

Overall, the study shows similar results for the two cohorts in all three provinces. The completion rate over an 11-year period was about 50% in New Brunswick and in Ontario and close to 60% in Alberta. Within the same jurisdiction, completion rates varied between group of major trades and, more significantly, between single trades. Some trades posted completion rates twice the rates of other trades. Industrial and mechanical trades often posted the highest completion rates, while building construction trades posted the lowest. Also, in all three jurisdictions, many apprentices took more time than the nominal duration of the program to actually complete an apprenticeship program. The study also found an apparent relationship between the age of the apprentice at the start of the program and the likelihood of completion in two of the three jurisdictions (Ontario and Alberta) with the younger completing in higher proportion than the older; however, there was no apparent relationship between the nominal duration of a program and the completion rate.


KEY WORDS: Apprenticeship; Training; Completion Rate; Canada.; New Brunswick; Ontario; Alberta.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research. (2001). Australian apprenticeships: Facts, fiction and future: The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).


This report, part of the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) research, addresses the perceived lack of analysis of the Australian apprenticeship system. Together with the first comprehensive assessments of the impact of traineeships and new apprenticeships, this report provides a thorough analysis of the apprenticeship system since the 1984 Inquiry into Labour Market Programs. Important conclusions concerning future directions for apprenticeships in Australia are made in this report. Apprenticeship has a key role to play in the future of Australia's skill development, building on the solid foundation of its past in that country.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeship Program; Australia; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Nielsen, S. P., & Cort, P. (1999). Vocational education and training in Denmark (2nd ed.). Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.


Vocational education in Denmark began with organized apprentice training in the early 1400s. In 1875, the government and municipalities began providing substantial grants to establish technical and commercial schools. Development of apprenticeship training continued through the 1950s. Since 1977, Denmark has had two parallel systems of vocational training--apprenticeship training schemes and vocational education and training (VET) programs. The 1989 Vocational Training Act established a general framework for the training field that had previously consisted of apprenticeship, VET, and basic technical training programs. Adult vocational training was unknown in Denmark until 1985. The following are among the key problem areas in VET that Denmark's political system is currently addressing: (1) VET's failure to attract enough young people; (2) better provision for both academically weak and strong trainees; (3) transformation of adult and continuing training so that education becomes a natural and recurrent part of working life; (4) provision of greater incentives for adult participation in continuing and further training; and (5) internationalization of VET to respond to the increasing internationalization of business and industry. The following items are appended: lists of abbreviations and acronyms, important institutions/organizations, and 61 print and online sources; definitions of key terms; and overviews of recent initiatives.

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