Steps and tips: Engaging and registering enterprises to provide apprenticeship training

Apprenticeship regulations and guidelines specify general training and working conditions, including the facilities, systems and human resources that an enterprise should have in order to be eligible to offer apprenticeship training. They also designate the competent authority for quality assurance and determine the processfor registering or accrediting enterprises (box 4.2).

Box 4.2 Competent authorities

In Germany, a competent authority (for example, a chamber) verifies whether a company has the necessary training facilities and employs suitably qualified instructors to deliver quality apprenticeship training. While, in Switzerland, responsibility for determining eligibility lies at the local government (canton) level.

The competent authority, employers’ organization or the entity taking the lead in promoting apprenticeships in a country may develop the following:

  • A plan for attracting and engaging enterprises to participate in apprenticeships. The plan may be based on the cost–benefit analysis of implementing apprenticeships for specific occupations in a sector, as part of a skills needs analysis.
  • An effective communication strategy to raise awareness among enterprises about the above-mentioned requirements, the process for registration and the costs and benefits of apprenticeships. This communication may take place through relevant employers’ organizations and should involve the use of multimedia, testimonials and brochures.
  • A manual or guide specifically aimed at enabling enterprises to build their capacity to offer apprenticeships (see Tool "Guide for employers seeking to develop and implement apprenticeship programmes").

As per guidelines, enterprises submit the application to the competent body for registration, together with the required evidence for eligibility.

  •  The competent body scrutinizes the application and registers the enterprise as eligible to offer apprenticeship training in specific occupations. In the event that an enterprise does not meet the requirements, the competent body should support the enterprise in overcoming shortcomings. For example, if an enterprise lacks the required facilities to undertake part of the training, the competent body or an intermediary may facilitate it through:
    • an interplant training centre (see box 4.3)

Box 4.3 Professional associations in Switzerland

In Switzerland, professional associations (industry sector associations) operate training centres that provide specialized training for the sector. These act as a third learning venue, in addition to enterprises and schools.

    • another enterprise (see box 4.4)

Box 4.4 The ABB in Germany

The ABB has established two regional training centres in Germany that provide training to ABB apprentices as well as to apprentices from other enterprises, mostly SMEs. In 2019, 44 per cent of a total of 1,600 apprentices at the ABB training centres are ABB’s own, while 56 per cent are from the approximately 245 cooperating enterprises located in the regions around the two training centres.

The networking approach adopted by the ABB training centres enables smaller enterprises to fulfil the requirements regarding the provision of apprenticeship programmes. Furthermore, the training centres also provide SMEs with administrative and promotional support. They are responsible for the screening and selection of apprenticeship candidates for the SMEs, have cooperation agreements in place with regional schools and regularly organize information events and practice days in order to promote occupational programmes and pathways.

Source: Information collected and provided by GAN Global;

    • an intermediary (see box 4.5)

Box 4.5 GAN in Costa Rica and Group Training Organisations in Australia

Talento para Crecer is a programme designed and hosted by the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) Costa Rica, in cooperation with one of its members, Japp.Jobs, to inspire and guide SMEs in the provision of internships and apprenticeships through sharing experiences and good practices. The programme also provides legal support to SMEs, as the legal aspects of apprenticeships and internships were one of the biggest concerns for enterprises. The programme also serves as a platform for young people interested in applying for internships and apprenticeships in SMEs. This is an example of GAN acting as an intermediary.

In Australia, Group Training Organisations (GTOs) employ apprentices and trainees and place them with host employers. GTOs undertake employer duties, which include: selecting and recruiting apprentices and trainees; paying wages, allowances, superannuation, workers’ compensation, sick/holiday pay and other employment benefits; managing the quality and continuity of training, both on and off the job; providing any care and support that the apprentices need to complete their training.

Source: Information collected and provided by GAN Global;

    • a TVET provider.


Depending on the country context, an entity (e.g. a vocational training agency linked to the government, employers’ organization, sectoral industry association or a social dialogue platform), could be given the responsibility for ensuring that enterprises are suitable for providing quality apprenticeships.

It is especially important to support enterprises that are planning to start apprenticeship programmes. Employers’ organizations may also be able to help their members to implement apprenticeships, by facilitating cooperation between different enterprises, and TVET providers and enterprises.

Apprentices can only be effectively trained in a specific occupation by enterprises that have the facilities and equipment for most of the tasks required in that occupation, under the supervision and guidance of skilled workers who are competent in performing those tasks.

Training content that an SME is unable to offer can be delivered collaboratively, in specific training workshops and through other enterprises or inter-company training centres operated by industry associations or TVET providers. The competent body may also facilitate the engagement of SMEs by providing appropriate financial and non-financial incentives, targeted at overcoming specific challenges.

The competent body may encourage the establishment of intermediaries. It may also define their roles and responsibilities and lay down norms, incentives and guidelines for intermediaries.

The objective of the registration procedure should be to make employers aware of the essential requirements for offering apprenticeships and support them in meeting such requirements. SMEs may require additional support to complete the process. Employers’ organizations, private sector associations, TVET providers and intermediaries can play an important role in this process.

Enterprises that offer apprenticeships may be supported by “quality apprenticeship facilitators”. For example, in Germany this service is provided by the statutory chambers (industry organizations), but it could also be offered by another competent body. The quality apprenticeship facilitator provides advice on the implementation of in-company training and cooperation between TVET providers and the partnering enterprises. The facilitator also takes on a mediator function in the event of any problems arising with the apprentice during the in-company training. Quality apprenticeship facilitators can be affiliated with the responsible body.