Quality Apprenticeships often have eligibility criteria for admission, which tends to limit the access of disadvantaged youth, including school drop-outs, to training places and eventual employment. In this context, targeted interventions that bridge the qualification gaps of disadvantaged youth help integrate them into mainstream training.
Pre-apprenticeship training programmes help potential apprentices to develop academic knowledge, skills and trade in readiness for an apprenticeship. The programme may combine basic literacy and numeracy skills training, and practical in-company training. Governments may financially support the companies that provide training places to disadvantaged youth who lack necessary qualifications to be an apprentice. In Germany, for instance, the federal employment agency provides pre-apprenticeship training for youth who lack qualifications for apprenticeships or those who are socially disadvantaged. The scheme combines vocational training and subsidised employment in enterprises. It is financed by the social security fund (European Commission, 2015).
Box 7: Pre-apprenticeship programme in Canada
The Province of Ontario in Canada has pre-apprenticeship programmes for those interested in working in a trade, but who do not have the skills or experience to get an apprentice place. There are programmes for youth or adults who:
- graduated from high school
- left before finishing high school
- are unemployed or underemployed (age and eligibility for Employment Insurance are not considered)
- are Indigenous, newcomers to Canada, women, Francophone or youth-at-risk
The training is provided by different organizations, such as colleges or community agencies. It is free – costs for textbooks, safety equipment and tools are also covered. The training goes for up to 52 weeks and starts at different times throughout the year, and covers:
- safety training for skilled trades
- training to improve academic skills
- basic-level apprenticeship in-school training
Pre-apprenticeship training also includes a work placement for eight to 12 weeks.
Source: Employment Ontario, 2016.
Across the world, employers face the challenge of developing and retaining staff. At the same time, more and more employers are recognizing the benefits of employing under-represented groups of young persons. Workplaces that are inclusive give employers access to a wider pool of talent and create a positive image of the organization among staff and clients. Making Quality Apprenticeships inclusive provides employers with a new source of skilled workers, and gives young people an enhanced opportunity to enter the labour market.