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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2005): Education - UK - Training

Addressing gender segregation in apprenticeships in England

L. Miller

Education + Training, vol.47, 2005, p. 283 - 297

This study was funded by the Equal Opportunities Commission to look specifically at apprenticeship entry barriers in male dominated sectors such as construction and engineering, and one female-dominated sector, child care. The research consisted of a survey of local Learning and Skills Councils, case study interviews in five regions selected as examples of good practice, and interviews with representatives of the Sector Skills Councils. It identified the barriers encountered by organisations encouraging young people to enter vocational training, and by apprentices themselves, and the actions the organisations have taken to encourage more diverse groups of young people to consider apprenticeships in these sectors.

Basic needs

P. Kingston

Education Guardian, July 5th 2005, p.14

New research shows that adults with the worst literacy levels suffer in many areas of their lives. This Labour government could fairly claim to have done more than any other administration in modern times to take a systematic approach to the country's huge adult literacy problem. But is its Skills for Life programme unintentionally missing those people whose lives are most blighted by being unable to read and write?

Building pathways: apprenticeships as a route to higher education

T. Bowers-Brown and D. Berry

Education + Training, vol.47, 2005, p.270-282

Through interviews with apprentices themselves, this study sought to investigate perceived barriers to progression to higher education. The findings show that employer support, time, finance and apprentices' perceptions of their own ability determine whether they will progress to higher level courses. The research highlights the need for a holistic approach to advice and guidance, ensuring that consistent and comprehensive information is delivered to students.

The business benefits of apprenticeships: the English employers’ perspective

R. Kenyon

Education + Training, vol.47, 2005, p.366 - 373

Apprenticeships provide employers with good business benefits including increased productivity, larger profits, improved staff retention, and workforce diversity according to this paper which presents the Apprenticeships Task Force's view on whether apprentices provide a satisfactory return on investment. In some of the nine companies studied, staff who had completed apprenticeship training showed high levels of career progression to management, and better task accuracy than external recruits.

Exploring the notion of retention in apprenticeship

R. Harris & M. Simons

Education + Training, vol.47, 2005, p.350 - 365

This study aims to describe the factors that underlie retention and to develop a model of the process of retention. It shows that issues around retention change over the period of a training contract, that different actors have different perspectives on retention, that factors contributing to retention are inter-related and cumulative, that the process of retention is occupationally specific, and that lack of retention is not necessarily a negative outcome. Retention is a complex and dynamic process. The type of interventions needed to assist newly appointed apprentices will be different from those appropriate for apprentices in the last few months of their training. Some factors affecting retention, such as individual characteristics of the apprentice, are not amenable to change. Interventions to improve retention should focus on factors amenable to change, such as quality of the training.

The gendered nature of apprenticeship: employers’ and young people’s perspectives

A. Fuller, V. Beck and L. Unwin

Education + Training, vol.47, 2005, p.298 - 311

One of the core aims of the Modern Apprenticeships programme was to increase male and female participation in "non-traditional" occupations. However the programme has not achieved its aim in this respect and this has prompted an investigation by the Equal Opportunities Commission. Paper reports research undertaken as part of this investigation. Results show psychological and social barriers to overcoming entrenched occupational stereotypes are inhibiting the creation of a more balanced work force in male and female dominated occupations, while gatekeeper organisations such as schools or Connexions services fail to challenge young people's and employers' perceptions. Quantitative and qualitative evidence of young peoples' and employers' attitudes to "non traditional" sector training inform this study.

'Learners of the workplace unite!': an empirical examination of the UK trade union learning representative initiative

W. Wallis, M. Stuart and I. Greenwood

Work, Employment and Society, vol.19, 2005, p.283-304 The 2002

British Employment Act conferred statutory rights on trade union learning representatives (ULR). Article presents an initial assessment of the UK initiative, based on qualitative and quantitative data on ULR activity in South Yorkshire. Results show that: 1) ULRs have been successful in advancing a learning agenda that is largely independent of employer priorities; 2) while there is evidence of an evolving relationship with employers, ULRs face difficulties in extending a learning agenda that is often constrained by management prerogative; 3) there are tensions between ULRs and the wider trade union apparatus; and 4) the ULR initiative has the potential to contribute to trade union revitalisation by raising a new cadre of activists.

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