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28 October 2021

Developing alliances for effective apprenticeships — Day 4 round up

On the fourth day of the conference, a panel of experts discussed strategies for creating a successful national apprenticeship system.

Apprenticeships have long been the key to building skills and the foundations of a career for life.

On the fourth day of WorldSkills Conference 2021, a panel of experts discussed strategies for creating a successful national apprenticeship system.

“A problem for many poorer countries is a lack of money for training facilities, but also that even after expensive updates, they soon became outdated,” said Ashwani Aggarwal, who leads a working group looking at skills and apprenticeships for the International Labour Organization.

“They realized a good option was always available,” he said. ”Apprenticeships — a centuries-old tradition. A training model which places the world of work and the world of money together.”

“In the United Kingdom, apprenticeships had long been recognized as the best way to learn,” said Paul Warner of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers.

“If you were to ask yourself, where have I learned the most about how to do my job, all of us must be honest to say it wasn’t sitting in a classroom learning about theory. It was about doing.”

Apprenticeships had too long been ignored in favour of university education, said Ireland’s Gold Medal winner for Freight Forwarding at WorldSkills Kazan 2019, Megan Yeates.

“The most you are ever going to learn is going to be in the real world,” she said. “I remember the shocking reality I got coming from school and learning everything it said in the textbooks, and then going out to work…and realizing it never goes by the book.”

A second panel looked at the resources available to support and implement apprenticeships.

One of the newest tools has been developed by the European Commission. “A self-assessment tool for VET schools and training companies, it measures how well digital tools are used in learning,” said Tim Schreiber, policy officer with the Skills for the Young VET Unit, at the European Commission, noting before the pandemic around four in ten Europeans lacked even basic digital skills.

These new tools had helped many countries, including his own, to establish good apprenticeship systems, said Peter Peter Monari Joseph, Technical Delegate for WorldSkills Kenya and Worlddidac Ambassador for Africa.

As well as strengthening the partnerships between industry and education and meeting the needs of employers, they ensured everyone had a say “so that the policies that are created from apprenticeship system are not misused.”

The final session, hosted by WorldSkills China, looked at the need to prioritize digital skills, especially as a result of the pandemic.

Moderator Chen Xiaoxi, associate research professor, called the pandemic “a catastrophe” from which “we must survive and thrive.”Digital skills were vital for this process,” he said.

Contributors included Paweł Poszytek, Official Delegate, WorldSkills Poland, Alina Doskanova, Technical Delegate for WorldSkills Russia, and Zhai Tao of WorldSkills China.

Friday will see the closing session for WorldSkills Conference 2021, including a virtual tour of the new WorldSkills Museum, due to open in China for WorldSkills Shanghai 2022.