All countries are facing the challenge of a mismatch between the skills that are needed by employers in the labour market and those possessed by graduates coming out of TVET institutions or universities. Although there are various reasons why employers find it difficult to fill vacancies that have nothing to do with the availability of skilled workers – poor wages and working conditions, unattractive locations, limited career opportunities, precarious contracts – the skills gap is often a real concern, as has been indicated by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE):
‘Many researchers have pointed to labour market mismatches as one of the reasons for weak employment trends. Sometimes, the skills that are demanded by employers are simply not available because the education system in the affected countries is weak or unresponsive to labour market needs. Education and training systems may not be sufficiently up-to-date to meet the demands of the new world of work which requires a new generation of workers with entirely different skills sets’ (IOE, 2015, p. 5).
In Brazil, the National Professional Apprenticeship Forum made ten recommendations to improve quality and relevance of apprenticeship programmes. These are: assessing training practices at national and state levels; carrying out sectoral labor market analysis; building sectoral tripartite committee(s) or other coordination mechanisms; carrying out skills needs analysis; training of vocational teachers and in-company trainers; designing relevant curricula; preparing cost-shared financing scheme; developing legal framework; improving monitoring, assessment and certification; and measuring the impact of programmes.
The aim of this chapter is to give an overview of the ways in which current and future skills’ demand is assessed and how that information is used to inform the planning of apprenticeship programmes. It will also present the ways in which skills gained by apprentices are assessed and certified in the form of qualifications.