Building partnerships in apprenticeship programmes

The issue: Given that apprenticeships depend on the contributions of multiple stakeholders, building partnerships is key to their success

As mentioned earlier, a number of organizations share the responsibilities for designing and managing apprenticeship programmes. They must cooperate and form effective partnerships to ensure the success of apprenticeship programmes. Chapter 7 of Toolkit 1 explains the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders and provides examples from various countries. Table 4.2 illustrates a few examples of partnerships at national, sectoral and local levels.

Table 4.2 Generic description of partnerships at national, sectoral and local levels

Level Partners Nature of cooperation Forms and means of partnership

National and sectoral

Government, employers’ organizations, workers’ organizations, youth and women’s groups, civil society organizations, associations of TVET providers, etc.

National and sectoral level issues: for example, skills needs assessments, occupational standards, qualifications and apprenticeship programmes, learning aids, quality assurance, registration of employers, promotion of apprenticeships,

strategies and goals for promoting apprenticeships, guidelines for various stakeholders, including on financing and social inclusion, monitoring and evaluation

Social dialogue format, such as tripartite national steering committees, boards of regulatory bodies, sector skills councils, trade committees


Enterprise and training provider

On-the-job training by enterprise and off-the-job training by TVET provider

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or agreement;

apprentice logbooks can facilitate cooperation between teachers and trainers

Enterprise and intermediary organization

Intermediary organizations can provide administrative support to enterprises for managing apprenticeship programmes, as well as offering training and assessment services


Enterprise and employers’ organization

Employers’ organizations can provide mentorship and technical guidance to enterprises, monitor the quality of training and carry out the assessment and certification of skills acquired by apprentices

MoU or agreement; committee of local chambers

Among enterprises

Apprentices could be rotated between two or more enterprises so that they receive training covering all aspects of the curriculum


Employer and workers’ organization

Strategy and target for number of apprentices, working conditions, training of trainers, training and mentorship for apprentices, monitoring the quality of apprenticeship training

Collective bargaining, committees

Partnerships are also formed at the global level (see box 4.7).

Box 4.7 Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN)

GAN is a global, business-driven alliance of private sector companies, business federations, international organizations and committed groups determined to create an equitable future for all segments of the workforce and a sustainable talent pipeline for business by advocating for a new paradigm in the relationship between education and employment and promoting work-based learning.

GAN was founded by multinational companies and international organizations, including the IOE, ILO, OECD and Business at OECD (BIAC) and has networks in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Oceania. 

GAN builds knowledge and inspires action by sharing real-world examples of effective work-based learning approaches that are being implemented by large and small companies across diverse sectors around the globe. In cooperation with its members and partners, GAN has fostered the establishment of multi-sector networks in countries throughout the world to implement initiatives that help remove barriers and create opportunities for work-based learning.


The European Alliance for Apprenticeships, established by the European Commission, is an example of partnership at the regional level (see box 4.8).

Box 4.8 European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA)

EAfA unites governments and key stakeholders with the aim of strengthening the quality, supply and overall image of apprenticeships across Europe, while also promoting the mobility of apprentices.

EAfA is a platform for sharing experiences and learning from best practices. It allows members to find partners, promote events, develop new ideas and activities and provide access to the latest news and tools on apprenticeships.

In addition to national governments, members of EAfA include companies and business organizations, chambers of industry, commerce and crafts, education and training providers, youth and non-profit organizations, regional and local authorities, social partners, professional bodies and networks, as well as research institutes and think tanks.


Development partners and agencies have also formed partnerships, pooling their expertise and resources to achieve a higher level of development cooperation and support in reforming VET systems in partner countries. Some of the major initiatives include: Inter Agency Group’s working group on work-based learning, Donor Committee for Dual Vocational Education and Training, Apprenticeship Toolbox and VET Toolbox, details of which are given in box 4.9.

Box 4.9 Development partnerships

Donor Committee for Dual Vocational Education and Training (DC dVET)

Vocational training has always been an important pillar of development cooperation for Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. For many years they have been implementing vocational training projects, including some with dual approaches. To further their expertise in this area, the four countries have established the Donor Committee for Dual Vocational Education and Training (DC dVET), which aims to:

  • strengthen the exchange between institutions and improve their commitment and their vocational training offering in partner countries through developing a common understanding of relevant topics
  • demonstrate ways in which dual VET can be used in different contexts in a goal-oriented and situational manner
  • support the integration of dual vocational training approaches in development cooperation and further sensitize the public to its potential, without attempting to transfer the dual system to a one-to-one basis.



Apprenticeship Toolbox

The Apprenticeship Toolbox was developed by a partnership between Austria, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland, all of whom have vast expertise in dual-track apprenticeships systems. The project was led by Denmark and includes national ministries and agencies responsible for VET from each of the five countries. The toolbox is a website which details the key features of apprenticeship systems in the five partner countries.



VET Toolbox

The European Union launched the VET Toolbox, which supports partner countries in enhancing or monitoring planned or existent VET reform programmes. Five European development agencies participate in the VET Toolbox partnership: British Council, Enabel – Bel, GIZ, LuxDev and Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The delivery of VET Toolbox services is realized by the first four of the listed agencies.