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14 October 2021

How to make apprenticeship systems relevant in the post-pandemic era?

‘The future of apprenticeship system’ track at the WorldSkills Conference 2021 will discuss the next steps for effective reforms.

Social distancing measures during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on apprenticeships. The closure of workplaces and training institutions resulted in many enterprises and organizations interrupting or even completely suspending their programs.

In some positive exceptions, workplace learning was maintained with precautionary measures. In other scenarios, it shifted to online institution-based learning, posing serious questions on its compatibility with the very nature of apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships combine work and study and are an important form of VET as they can help young people gain specific skills and acquire work experience, while already earning an income as they train. They offer great outcomes in youth employment and skill relevance and can foster lifelong learning. On-the-job learning and training could in fact address some of the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Despite the proven benefits, the stages of development of apprenticeship systems differ within countries. In general, their availability and enrollment rates have regressed almost everywhere over the past years. How can apprenticeships systems be transformed to ensure their relevance in the future?

The WorldSkills Conference 2021 - The Road Ahead: Skills for a Resilient Future will bring together international institutions, policymakers at the national and regional level, as well as the productive sector to discuss and suggest a roadmap for reforms. The track ‘The future of apprenticeship system’ will be a unique opportunity for stakeholders to learn what makes apprenticeships systems work and how to evaluate them.

Under the title ‘Innovations for Apprenticeships in the post-COVID era,’ the launch session for this track will take place Monday, 25 October 2021 at 5:15 pm CST.

The panel, moderated by the Executive Director GAN Global Apprenticeship Network Nazrene Mannie, will be composed of:

  • Tian Feng, Deputy Director General of Vocational Capacity Building Department, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, People’s Republic of China
  • Laurent Freixe, Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer Zone Americas (United States of America, Canada, Latin America, Caribbean), Nestlé S.A.
  • Daniel Christophersen, Regional Representative for Europe, WorldSkills Champions Trust
  • The European Commission
  • WorldSkills Austria

Speakers will explore the role of apprenticeships in addressing youth unemployment, and strategies at the macro level that can improve the capacity of systems to deliver more quality apprenticeships. It will also look at the opportunities that apprenticeships provide to help workers transition to the formal sector.

Two more sessions in this track will explore how alliances play a crucial role for effectiveness of apprenticeships and present the latest tools by the ILO, the British Council and the European Commission for the self-assessment of apprenticeship systems.

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