Social inclusion

The issue: Why social inclusion is an essential component of quality apprenticeships

Apprenticeship can be a powerful and reliable pathway for people from all kinds of backgrounds to obtain the competencies required to access decent jobs and pursue rewarding careers. For enterprises, inclusive apprenticeships enable access to a wider pool of talent and create a positive image of the enterprise (see box 5.6).

Box 5.6 Refugees in apprenticeships, Germany

In 2016, Nestlé Germany launched the “Nestlé helps” initiative to provide emergency aid and strengthen the integration of refugees. One of the goals of the programme is to provide access to work and help to integrate young refugees into the labour market through apprenticeships and internships. Initially, 20 young people will be offered apprenticeships and 25 have already completed internships. In addition to the actual training, Nestlé covers the costs of necessary language courses.

Source: Information collected and provided by GAN Global;

Inclusiveness in apprenticeships needs targeted approaches to offer equitable opportunities to all sections of society in the recruitment process, while supporting apprentices’ successful programme completion, regardless of their social and educational background. However, multiple challenges currently undermine the goal of inclusiveness; for example, minimum entry requirements for apprenticeships that may render many candidates ineligible; insufficient opportunities and/or inadequate provision for persons with disabilities and those living in rural and remote areas; gender biases. Figure 5.5 illustrates some of the inclusion challenges that arise in TVET and apprenticeship programmes.

Figure 5.5 Inclusion challenges in TVET and apprenticeship

Source: Based on Kehl et al., 2019.

In addition to overcoming the challenges in terms of access, apprentices, especially the younger ones, may need targeted support to successfully complete the apprenticeship programme. It is worth noting that vulnerable young people are more likely to struggle to complete their apprenticeship than an average apprentice. While the drop-out of an apprentice commonly results in a weak labour market outcome for the individual, it is also costly for the employer who has invested in recruiting and training that apprentice (OECD, 2018a).

Furthermore, programmes designed for apprentices with disabilities are required to address some specific issues. An example from Brazil is given in Toolkit 1, box 39.