Centre for Policy Studies in Education

Possibilities and Practices of 16-19 Apprenticeships: A Mass Participation Route?

Seminar 4 of the CPSE Series on Secondary Vocational Education: What Future?

Professor Allison Fuller, University of Southampton

Date:  9 July 2013, 4:00 registration for 4:30 start, reception to follow
Location: Parkinson Building, Centenary Gallery

Audio Recording of the Seminar

Allison Fuller – Possibilities and Practices of 16-19 Apprenticeships: A Mass Participation Route? [MP3: 26MB]

Policy and research interest in apprenticeship is perhaps at an all-time high in England. Barely a week goes by without politicians from all the main political parties invoking the apprenticeship programme as a huge success story. It is seen as a solution to historic weaknesses in education – work transitions, the scourge of youth unemployment, and also as mechanism for creating an increasingly skilled workforce.

In this paper I argue that successive governments’ preoccupation with apprenticeship as an instrument of policy has distracted from its primary role as a model of learning. If apprenticeships are to become a valued route for more young people, there are substantial structural and cultural barriers to overcome as well as issues about the uneven quality of apprenticeship programmes.

My research on apprenticeships has underpinned the development of the ‘expansive – restrictive continuum’ as a tool for analysing the quality of apprenticeships and the extent to which they are likely to benefit individuals, employers and society more widely.

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