Archive for the ‘INAP’ Category

Productivity and vocational education and training

October 25th, 2016 by Graham Attwell

apprenticesInterest in Vocational Education and Training (VET) seems to go in cycles. Its always around but some times it is much more to the forefront than others as a debate over policy and practice. Given the pervasively high levels of youth unemployment, at least in south Europe, and the growing fears over future jobs, it is perhaps not surprising that the debate around VET is once more in the ascendancy. And the debates over how VET is structured, the relation of VET to higher education, the development of new curricula, the uses of technology for learning, the fostering of informal learning, relations between companies and VET schools, the provision of high quality careers counselling and guidance, training the trainers – I could go on – are always welcome.

Whilst in some countries like the UK deregulation seems to have created many jobs, most of these are low paid and insecure.

Higher productivity requires innovation and innovation is in turn dependent on the skills and knowledge of the workforce. But in a time of deregulation there is little incentive for employers to invest in workforce training.

There are signs that some companies are beginning to realise they have a problem. There has been a notable interest from a number of large companies in supporting new apprenticeship programmes and not just in the German speaking countries. In Spain the recently launched Alliance for FP Dual is making slow but steady progress in persuading companies to support the FP Dual alternance or apprenticeship programme. There remain many obstacles, not least the continuing austerity programme, political instability and the perilous financial position of many small and medium enterprises. I will talk more about some of these issues in forthcoming articles on this web site, coming out of the findings of a  small research project in Valencia sponsored by the International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship (INAP).

But to be successful initiatives like the Spanish FP Dual and the wider EU backed Alliance for Apprenticeships have to be linked to wider programmes to promote innovation. Without some degree of labour market regulation this is going to be hard to achieve.

Apprenticeship in Spain

August 10th, 2016 by Graham Attwell

I am very happy to announce that Pontydysgu has been awarded a small grant by the International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship (INAP) to look at apprenticeship provision in Valencia in Spain.

The following is the summary of our application:

The Spanish economy, still struggling from the impact of the ‘crisis’, is struggling with persistently high levels of youth unemployment and low skills levels. Unemployment is especially high for those leaving school early with no qualifications and for graduates [1].

A series of reports have suggested that moving beyond the present school based, initial vocational training system to adopt a dual system based apprenticeship model offers benefits to the economy, to companies and to individuals [2].

However, other research points to the difficulties in transferring models developed in one culture – such as the Dual system – to other cultures and countries. A review of research literature suggests a series of issues with implementing apprenticeship in Spain [3]. These include the weakness of trade unions at a company level (despite their institutional strength), educational polarization between vocational and higher education, resistance at company level, resistance by families and young people, co-ordination between actors varies region to region, complex interactions between national and regional levels, the government, social partners and employment organisations and, of course, the ongoing economic crisis.

With the support of the EU Youth Guarantee and backing from the Bertelsmann Foundation, the federal government has established an experimental apprenticeship framework, with pilots designed to run in parallel to existing VET schemes [4]. However, the implementation of the programmes varies greatly in different Generalitat (Autonomous Communities), based on different cultures, different economies and different organisational and governance forms. This has rendered evaluation problematic.

It is our hypothesis that apprenticeship programmes in Spain needs to be developed to build on existing cultural and organisational norms. Furthermore, this requires a in depth understanding of the critical factors in the perception of apprenticeship by different actors / groups and how that effects the development and implementation of apprenticeship programmes.

The proposal of this project is to undertake research based in one Generalitat, Valencia, to explore the cultural and organisational norms and the barriers and opportunities these afford to introducing apprenticeship. Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and centre of the regional government which has responsibility for implementing VET programmes. The city’s economy is service-oriented, with nearly 84% of the working population employed in service sector occupations However, the city still maintains an important industrial base, with 5.5% of the population employed in this sector.

At present there are 1977 apprentices, out of an estimated total of 91000 VET trainees in the Valencia region [5]. With proposals to further extend apprenticeship provision, the aim of the research is to propose practical measures which can be implemented by the new regional and city governments, linked to an understanding of existing cultural and organisational norms. However, a second aim is to explore cultural and action research based approaches to research and development in apprenticeship. These are needed particularly for countries with a limited tradition of apprenticeship (including, in Europe, most southern countries) to supplement existing comparative approaches and approaches based on the idea of transferring system to other countries.

[1] La formación ha avanzado durante la crisis, peroel abandono escolar, los desajustes en competencias y el paro limitan el aprovechamiento del esfuerzo educativo, ESENCIALES Fundación BBVA – Ivie N.º 03/2016

[2] Wolter, C. and  Mühlemann, S. (2015) Apprenticeship training in Spain – a cost-effective model for firms?, Bertelsmann Stiftung

[3] CEDEFOP, (2015) Governance and financing of apprenticeship, Thessaloniki

[4] Refer Net Spain (2014) Apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes: Spain, CEDEFOP

[5] El Mundo (2016) Educación anuncia 3.000 nuevas plazas de Formación Profesional, http://www.elmundo.es/comunidad-valenciana/2016/05/10/5731ff4b46163ffd0d8c070e.html, accessed 10 June, 2016

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    In a new fact sheet the Tech Partnership reveals that UK cyber workforce has grown by 160% in the five years to 2016. 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15% higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7% on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12%.


    Number students outside EU falls in UK

    Times Higher Education reports the number of first-year students from outside the European Union enrolling at UK universities fell by 1 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

    Data from the past five years show which countries are sending fewer students to study in the UK.

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    According to the Guardian, research conducted with more than 6,300 authors of journal articles, peer reviewers and journal editors revealed that over two-thirds of researchers who have never peer reviewed a paper would like to. Of that group (drawn from the full range of subject areas) more than 60% said they would like the option to attend a workshop or formal training on peer reviewing. At the same time, over two-thirds of journal editors told the researchers that it is difficult to find reviewers


    Teachers and overtime

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    Across all education staff, including teachers, teaching assistants, playground staff, cleaners and caretakers, 37.6 per cent worked unpaid overtime – a figure higher than that for any other sector.”


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