A new study from the Learning and Skills Network reveals that the combination of theoretical and practical training for apprentices was invaluable.
‘Career Paths of Former Apprentices’, by Rossana Perez-del-Aguila, Helen Monteiro and Maria Hughes, looked at whether the methods of learning in apprenticeships had been influential in future success.
The report says: “The mix of on-the-job and off-the-job learning, combining theoretical and competence-based components through practical experience in the workplace, was seen to be invaluable in the development of apprentices and their access to later career opportunities.
“Hands-on experience was highly valued, and the practice of placing apprentices
alongside more experienced colleagues was seen to be an important way for them to
develop technical and social skills.”
Communication was considered to be the key workplace skill as it provides “increased confidence and access to further learning”.
The report found that the majority of apprentices remained with the employer who sponsored their training and that employers rewarded loyalty with career progression – meaning former apprentices were to be found at all levels of organisations, some in senior roles.
Although the size of business was relevant to career progression, so was the sector – for instance, in retail it is normal to progress by moving between companies.
In cases where career progression was not possible, apprentices were more likely to take the step of becoming self-employed than their non-apprentice peers.