Lorna Unwin

Lorna Unwin
University College London | UCL · Institute of Education

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184
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Publications

Publications (184)
Chapter
In England, apprenticeship and vocational education and training (VET) policies more generally have been driven at different times by three overlapping logics: “employment logic”; “education logic”; and “social logic”. As a consequence of the tense relationship between these logics, considerable variability in the way apprenticeship and VET program...
Article
Occupational expertise has always been constituted and afforded recognition and status in work contexts, however, these contexts are becoming increasingly interconnected and interrelated, underpinned by, ‘intangible assets’. To explore this complex process and its implications for vocational education and training (VET), this article uses the conce...
Chapter
In international comparative vocational education and training (VET) research, the discourse concerning the interlinking of theory and empirical practice often runs in one direction and asks: to what extent the theoretical concepts shape the empirical research design. The empirical limitations and challenges of field-based research rarely find thei...
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Full-text available
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to address a gap in the comparative research literature on vocational education and training (VET) and skill formation systems. It examines the impact of international technical standardisation and regulation on the design, organisation and delivery of apprenticeships in the aeronautical and aerospace sectors in...
Article
Understanding the purposes, processes, and outcomes of vocational education necessitates placing individuals centrally in those deliberations. The geneses of national vocational education systems, and their form, goals, and practices, are increasingly shaped by institutional factors, which Dewey (1916) refers to as the “social side.” They extend to...
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This chapter asks what an occupation means under contemporary social, economic, and policy conditions and examines the strength and nature of the relationship between education, training, and occupation. It reviews key historical aspects of socioeconomic and institutional change that underpin debates about the concept of occupation and its changing...
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This chapter explores how engagement with versatile, web‐based knowledge resources in the field of software engineering provides opportunities for students and professional practitioners to construct knowledge beyond what is known and to set up learning opportunities for themselves. Using the understanding of VET as a lifelong process that encompas...
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This chapter uses Raffe's (2008) concept of educational and employment logics to analyze the development of vocational training (VT) in Argentina. It provides a historical overview and then focuses on a process of redefinition of VT in the 2000s, which was a response to the demands and interests of social and economic stakeholders in the sociopolit...
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This chapter focuses on key developments since the second half of the twentieth century that have significantly shaped vocational education and training (VET). Prominent among these developments have been the widespread adoption of competency‐based training (CBT) and a shift toward greater privatization of VET. Although more holistic understandings...
Article
Vocational education and training (VET) has received growing attention in recent years from both economists and policymakers. High youth unemployment rates in many countries, particularly after the financial crisis in 2008, have been associated with a failure by national education systems to provide individuals with the relevant skills for a succes...
Article
This chapter provides an overview of existing theories and approaches in comparative political economy and public policy in the study of the politics of vocational training. It argues that politics and conflicts in the economic/labor market arena as well as in the political arena affect the institutional design of vocational training systems. In th...
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The chapter examines the historical development and current role of vocational education and training (VET) in India. It argues that although accomplishing the goals and objectives of VET is saddled with several challenges due to India's geographically vast, socioculturally diverse, and huge population living with severe economic disparities, there...
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This chapter traces the development of vocational education in Canadian secondary schools from the late 1800s to the present. At the turn of the twentieth century, concerns about meeting the needs of an industrializing economy gave rise to technical and vocational education programs that were recognized to be class‐specific and class‐defining. At t...
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Set in the context of current debates about the importance of linking VET, innovation, and regional economic development policies, this chapter draws on concepts and debates from the field of economic geography—in particular, the notion of learning regions (LRs)—to rethink the conceptualization of learning associated with VET. Using the UK as a cas...
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This chapter examines the impact of new technologies and the increasing economic importance of “intangible assets” in the nature of work processes and conceptions of expertise to argue for a new conceptualization of the relationship between work, expertise, and vocational education and training (VET). This new prospective approach is in contrast to...
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Societies and economies all over the world are currently experiencing substantial transformations driven by, among other factors, the rise of new digital technologies. These transformations are going to fundamentally change all aspects of our private, social, and professional lives, and will also have substantial influences on vocational education...
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This chapter explores the concepts of duality and “learning fields” in vocational education and training (VET). This is understood in many countries to provide the optimal basis for organizing VET programs, although the degree to which this is achieved in practice varies considerably. The chapter explores the challenges in achieving duality through...
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This chapter argues that competency‐based education training denies students access to the theoretical knowledge they need to participate in debates and controversies in society and in their occupational field of practice. It focuses on vocational education to demonstrate that competency‐based education results in impoverished curriculum offered ma...
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After an economic slowdown and declining labor force participation, China has entered a new stage of economic transformation, which poses new requirements for human resources. In this context, the government has attached greater importance to vocational education and training (VET) by reforming the system and increasing financial input. As a result...
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This chapter provides historical context for the evolution of vocational education, now known as career and technical education, in the USA through career pathways supported by governments and private funders to enroll the nation's increasingly diverse students. The opportunities and challenges that these students face in progressing to and through...
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Vocational education and training (VET) teachers and trainers are often overlooked in policy and research, so in response this chapter reviews international literature to analyze their position and role. Although national VET systems vary greatly, there are common themes for teachers and trainers that emerge from this international review, which in...
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This chapter discusses the challenge of increasing the responsivity of vocational education. Responsivity is defined as the ability of vocational education and training (VET) to interpret socioeconomic and technological developments for curriculum design in terms of content and pedagogical approach. VET needs to equip young people with the knowledg...
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This chapter explores the connections between training and development and industrial relations. As the skills agenda has moved to the forefront of public conversation, in a practical sense training and development have become more of an industrial relations concern, as policymakers exhort the social actors to cooperate and build new partnership re...
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This chapter reviews various political economy approaches to understand the role of vocational education and training (VET) in society and the economy. Human capital theory (HCT) draws on neoclassical economics to argue that VET is best understood by focusing on the individual's decision to invest in training in order to increase their stock of hum...
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This chapter explores how vocational teachers’ expertise is used, developed, and sustained (over time) in practice. It argues that the development of teachers’ expertise in vocational contexts is a complex, diffuse, and largely hidden process, residing both within the individual as personal expertise and/or within networks as shared vocational know...
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What is typical of a vocational curriculum is that it is a course of learning across different school‐ and work‐based practices. This chapter discusses such learning in terms of boundary crossing between these practices. We conceptualize boundaries as sociocultural differences that lead to discontinuity in action or interaction. Such discontinuitie...
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This chapter examines vocational education and training in the context of low‐skilled, low‐wage employees. It does this through a case study of workers in the Singapore private security services industry. The research presented in the chapter challenges the rhetoric of inclusiveness as expressed in Singapore's national skills strategy, which aims t...
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The dual system has long been considered to be both the most important subsystem of VET and an essential component of a normal biography for a large share of the school‐leaving population in Germany. In Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, dual systems are specific historical derivatives of apprenticeships. However, despite industrialization as a maj...
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Comparative research reveals how the social processes associated with gender, ethnicity, and social class are played out in life and work transitions and how these processes are mediated by the structural, cultural, institutional, and labor market formations in which they are embedded. This chapter argues that vocational education and training (VET...
Article
The recurrent debate about general education in vocational education and training (VET) includes the understanding of and functions of general education as well as the pedagogical principles employed to establish the interrelation of VET with general education. Using the reform of Danish VET as a case, this chapter discusses central issues in relat...
Chapter
This chapter argues that the key challenge for vocational education and training (VET) in England and Germany is achieving sufficient levels of employer involvement in order to protect the centrality of the workplace in the process of skill formation. This challenge is exacerbated by the shift to service-based economies and by the expansion of acce...
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Changes in work technologies, the way work is organized, and the nature, distribution and utilization of occupational skills and knowledge have always had an impact on VET practice and policy. VET research is concerned with exploring continuity as well as change. This chapter offers a reflection on how the interplay of change and continuity might r...
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Over 25 years ago, Brown and Duguid (Organisation Science, 2(1), 40–57, 1991) highlighted the differences between the way organisations formally describe and delineate jobs and the actual practices of their employees. This paper combines ideas from their seminal contribution with theories of ‘job crafting’ and identity to examine the agentic behavi...
Article
The decision to start a new career might seem an unusual one to make in later life. However, England has seen a steady rise in numbers of workers undertaking an apprenticeship in their fifties and sixties, through a government-funded policy initiative opening up training to adults at all stages of the lifecourse. At the same time, in most Western c...
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This chapter analyses spending, outputs and outcomes in relation to further education and skills in England between 2007/8 and 2014/5, as well as policies and trends relating to access to higher education. Expenditure on further education and adult skills training was heavily cut by the Coalition government, after expansion under Labour. Numbers of...
Chapter
Apprenticeship is probably not the first approach to human resource development (HRD) that many contemporary managers and trainers would naturally refer to or even consider using as they seek ways in which to build workforce capacity. It can be dismissed as an anachronism in the light of the emergent discourse about the so-called knowledge economy...
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This paper argues that the evolution of further education colleges in England is marked by both continuities and change, and provides evidence to show that they retain many of the characteristics and the underlying rationale present at the turn of the twentieth century. A defining characteristic remains the colleges’ need to respond to student dema...
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Full-text available
Abstract Participation in government-supported apprenticeship programs in the UK is characterized by stereotypical gender imbalances. This chapter draws on secondary data analysis of official statistics on young people’s participation in vocational education and training (VET) and apprenticeship, and evidence from a study of the attitudes of 14-and...
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Further education colleges now deliver education and training to more students than any other institutions in the post-compulsory sector. Presenting a practical guide to teaching and learning within the context of the changing FE environment, this book addresses the diverse nature of the curriculum and of the student body for which it is designed.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Technician and Intermediate Roles in the Healthcare Sector: the complexities and contradictions of workforce reform An in-depth case study of the roles, responsibilities, educational and career routes of those in technician and intermediate roles in healthcare was undertaken during 2012. We asked: what is known about the existence and status of t...
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Full-text available
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1. The healthcare sector in the United Kingdom (UK) faces considerable challenges in meeting the needs of a growing and ageing population and as a consequence of improvements in the care and treatment of people with long‐term medical conditions. This helps explain why employment in the sector has been identified as a net growth ar...
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Teaching and Learning in Further Education is established as an authoritative, wide-ranging introductory text for those training to work in the further education, post-compulsory education and lifelong learning sectors. It offers an easy to read picture of the practitioner’s everyday working life, a thorough historical account of the FE context and...
Article
Apprenticeship has always played both a social and economic role. Today, it forms part of the regeneration strategies of cities in the United Kingdom. This involves the creation and management of complex institutional relationships across the public and private domains of the civic landscape. This paper argues that it is through closely observed an...
Data
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1. The healthcare sector in the United Kingdom (UK) faces considerable challenges in meeting the needs of a growing and ageing population and as a consequence of improvements in the care and treatment of people with long‐term medical conditions. This helps explain why employment in the sector has been identified as a net growth ar...
Chapter
Work, in all its variety, paid and unpaid, plays a central role in people’s lives and, therefore, in their learning. The ‘workplace’ (variously defined) is increasingly being recognised as a site for learning by researchers and policymakers, and there has been a considerable growth in the number of ‘work-based learning’ programs offered by educatio...
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For over a decade policy-makers have claimed that advanced industrial societies should develop a knowledge-based economy (KBE) in response to economic globalisation and the transfer of manufacturing jobs to lower cost countries. In the UK, this vision shaped New Labour’s policies for vocational education and training (VET), higher education and ski...
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This chapter argues that the productive systems of contemporary workplaces give rise to many different forms of knowledge creation and use, and, as a consequence, to different forms of learning and pedagogical approaches. Some of these approaches are utilized to the benefit of the organization and employees (though not, necessarily, in a reciprocal...
Chapter
This chapter argues that the productive systems of contemporary workplaces give rise to many different forms of knowledge creation and use, and, as a consequence, to different forms of learning and pedagogical approaches. Some of these approaches are utilized to the benefit of the organization and employees (though not, necessarily, in a reciprocal...
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This article argues that vocational training can offer a positive experience for young people, one that potentially provides them with opportunities to show their potential in ways denied to them in general education. It outlines the centrality of vocational learning to human and societal development through an historical perspective. The considera...
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Children in England who started secondary school in September 2008 have a ­special claim to fame: they form the first cohort obliged by law to participate in some form of officially recognised education or training until they reach their 17th birthday (Department of Children, Schools and Families [DCSF], 2007). This is because they will be 16 in 20...
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Learning in the workplace can bring economic, social and personal benefits. Yet, building upon, improving and extending such learning places significant demands on everyone involved, from individuals and employers to government and its agencies. This paper argues that an understanding of, and support for, teaching and learning has to lie at the hea...
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This paper explores the work of UK hair stylists in 'up-market' hairdressing salons and examines the connection between the organisation of work and customer service narratives within these salon environments. Drawing on qualitative empirical research, the paper discusses how tensions, generated through managerial regulation and the concomitant req...
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This paper examines the Coalition Government's plans for vocational education and training for 14- to 19-year-olds in England. It argues that new types of educational institutions will enable the emergence of new forms of segmentation in which the vocational track is likely to become split into 'technical education' and lower level 'practical learn...
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Disparities in educational opportunities and attainments contribute a great deal to social and economic inequalities in the UK and other developed countries. First, it is well known that educational attainments are strongly positively related to employment rates and to pay. For example, among persons aged 25–59 in the UK, about 89 per cent of unive...
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This edition of Praxis explores one way of investigating, codifying and actively promoting the embedded or intrinsic potential of work as a means of learning: through the Working as Learning Framework (WALF). Drawing on a four year investigation into the relationship between workplace learning, the organisation of work and performance; this edition...
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The United Kingdom has devised a set of National Learning Targets to be achieved by 2002. Revised from an earlier set of National Targets for Education and Training (NTETs), the latest ones embrace 11-21-year-olds, adults and employers and promote a credentialist approach to both economic and social development. Their primary purpose, according to...
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This paper explores the concept of apprenticeship in the context of the professional formation of knowledge workers. It draws on evidence from research conducted in two knowledge intensive organizations: a research-intensive, elite university; and a ‘cutting edge’ software engineering company. In the former, we investigated the learning environment...
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This paper argues that successive governments since the 1980s have struggled to establish the necessary foundations to enable the majority of young people to make effective and supported transitions from education to the labour market and, further, to create labour market conditions that protect and nurture young people's potential. The paper sets...
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This report presents the findings from research undertaken by a team from the School of Education at the University of Southampton and the LLAKES1 research centre at the Institute of Education, London, into the working and learning environments and experiences of hospital porters in the Southampton University Hospitals Trust (the Trust).
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Explores the new interconnected landscapes of provision that are emerging in relation to training, welfare-to-work, and employment policy in the UK. Looks at the relationship this has with the state's pursuance of its goals with regard to social cohesion and economic regeneration. Provides a brief historical account of the development of publicly f...
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This paper presents findings from a study of the experiences of in‐service trainee teachers in colleges of further education in England on programmes run under the auspices of and through franchise arrangements with universities. It argues that there is a significant gap between the rhetoric of gaining teaching qualifications through a work‐based r...
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This paper explores the changes and continuities to apprenticeship in England since the 1960s. It argues that apprenticeship is primarily a model of learning that still has relevance for skill formation, personal development and employer need. It also argues that, since the late 1970s and the introduction of state‐sponsored youth training, apprenti...
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This paper examines two competing systems of work organisation in the British construction industry and their consequences for learning. Under the traditional ‘adversarial’ system, conflict, hostility and litigation between contractors are commonplace. Such a climate actively militates against collective learning and knowledge sharing between parti...
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Interest in learning at work has captured the attention of many people around the world, often taking centre stage in policy debates about improving economic performance, prosperity and well-being. This book is about the learning that goes on in workplaces - ranging from offices, factories and shops to gyms, health centres and universities - and ho...
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This paper explores the nature of the relationship between Head Office and stores in a large British supermarket chain. It focuses on the role played by a range of technological tools available for managing the stock and connecting different parts of the productive system and the implications this has for employee learning in stores. The evidence i...
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This paper explores three different ways in which workers experience and react to managerial attempts to mould and shape their identities. It provides illustrations of three theoretically-derived identity modalities: 'dramaturgical selves'; 'conformist selves'; and 'resistant selves'. The paper shows how the relationship between personal and collec...
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The use of participant observation is relatively rare in qualitative studies of vocational education and training. However, such an approach provides a detailed picture of training content and how what is taught contributes to or impedes learning. Based on participant observation, this paper examines the training of sales advisors in a large chain...
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This paper examines processes of innovation in one of Britain’s fastest growing industries, commercial sandwich manufacturing. It is argued that the industry is characterized by two different productive systems, which we designate Retailer Label and Manufacturer Label. New product development (NPD) in the former is skewed towards high-volume, low p...
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The Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP), managed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK, aims to shed light on learning and teaching throughout life, and to produce findings which will help improve educational outcomes for people of all ages. This commentary is a contribution to the public debate on apprenticeships...
Chapter
This paper explores the different ways in which people engage in teaching and learning in the workplace. There is now much more awareness of the symbiotic relationship between workplace learning, the organisation of work, level of employee involvement, and organisational performance, and the broader economic, regulatory, and social context, within...
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This paper discusses the attempts by a group of health visitors in a provincial English city to reform their working practices in order to work more collaboratively and, hence, create a more expansive learning environment. The health visitors self-consciously sought to create a ‘community of practice’, a term they felt captured their ambition to mo...
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In 1957, 12 years after the end of World War II, the Ministry of Education issued Circular 323 to promote the development of an element of ‘liberal studies’ in courses offered by technical and further education (FE) colleges in England. This was perceived to be in some ways a peculiar or uncharacteristic development. However, it lasted over 20 year...
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Ordering and managing stock is a key function to organisational performance in the retail sector in general and in food retail in particular. The advent of such technologies as EDI (electronic data interchange) and EPOS (electronic point of sale scanners) has allowed retail companies to synchronize sales with ordering and inventory replenishment. S...
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This paper examines two competing systems of organising the construction process and their consequences for learning. Under the adversarial system, contractors compete solely on price, risks are shifted onto those next in line and disputes are institutionalised through complicated, but inevitably incomplete, contracts. However, under collaborative...
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This working paper is Research Paper No. 15 of a series produced for Learning as Work: Teaching and Learning Processes in the Contemporary Work Organisation, an ESRC Teaching and Learning Programme (TLRP) Phase III funded project (2003 - 2008). It is available from http://learningaswork.cf.ac.uk/outputs.html This paper presents evidence to show how...
Article
This paper argues that contemporary workplaces give rise to many different forms of knowledge creation and use, and, as a consequence to different forms of learning and pedagogical approaches. Some of these are utilised to the benefit of the organisation and employees (though not, necessarily, in a reciprocal manner), but others are buried within e...
Article
Full-text available
There is now much awareness of the symbiotic relationship between workplace learning, the organisation of work, level of employee involvement, organisational performance, and the broader economic, regulatory, and social context within which organisations have to operate. This article argues that we have to identify and take serious account of the c...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to: first, outline the features of the contemporary apprenticeship system, and its performance in terms of the numbers starting and completing programmes; and second, to report the findings of empirical research which sought to identify the characteristics of effective apprenticeship. Design/methodology/appro...