The Institutional Requirements Of Apprenticeship: Evidence From Smaller EU Countries



To what extent does the experience of other European econom-ies in which apprenticeship has proved successful suggest scope for reviving apprenticeship in the UK without requiring institutional regulation along German lines? The institutional attributes of apprenticeship in four smaller European economies (Austria, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands) are shown to be closer to Germany’s social partnership than to the UK’s deregulated market, in terms of: statutory governance; formal educational requirements; administration at sec-toral and local levels through social partnership; and funding based upon a clear separation of responsibilities between government and employers, though not between employers and apprentices. At the same time, the introduction of statu-tory apprenticeship into Irish industry in recent years, in an institutional environment that has traditionally had much in common with that of the UK, suggests that the scope for institutional development in support of apprenticeship has been obscured by the widespread tendency to limit the choice of international comparisons to the Anglo-Germanic.