The evaluation of apprenticeship programmes provides information about their relevance to the labour market demand, which policy-makers and programme developers can use to improve the system and programmes. The evaluation methods include tracer studies of graduates, feedback from employers and cost-benefit analysis. Volume II of ILO Apprenticeship Toolkit will present these methods and sample tools.
Tracer studies are surveys administered on apprenticeship graduates to assess, inter alia, the employment outcome, income level and relevance of the programme to their jobs. The survey collects feedback from the participant’s experiences on the labour market (duration of job search, methods of job search, employment status, enrolment in further studies, income level, etc.). Tracer studies should:
- Be valuable for a broad range of stakeholders;
- Cover a broad range of aspects of employment and work;
- Give some explanations of the causes of professional success/employment outcomes;
- Analyse the impact of various features of education to get empirical based hints for improvement (Schomburg, 2016).
On the employers’ side, the Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research carried out a survey on the employers’ use and views of the VET system. It regrouped the employers’ opinions on the VET system and its effectiveness in meeting the skills needed. The survey made it possible to measure the employers’ engagement and satisfaction with the VET system. It surveyed approximately 9,000 employers from across the country in 2015 (table 14) (Australian National Centre for Vocational Educational Research, 2015).
Table 1: Employers’ satisfaction with vocational education and training (2015)
|Percentage of employers satisfied that vocational qualifications provide employees with the skills required for the job||76.2|
|Percentage of employers satisfied that apprentices and trainees receive skills required for their job||81.7|
|Percentage of employers satisfied that nationally recognized training provides employees with the required skills||84.0|
Source: The Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research, 2015.
A cost-benefit analysis provides information about the costs and benefits of apprenticeships to apprentices, employers and governments. It can form the basis for designing an equitable funding mechanism - how can a fair distribution of costs among the relevant stakeholders be determined?
The pathway that leads from determining skills needs to designing and implementing apprenticeships, and to validating competences acquired by apprentices, ensures that apprenticeship training is in line with employers’ needs and provides young workers with a strong foundation for finding employment. Moreover, this inclusive process, with intense involvement from the social partners, confers a seal of approval - which is important for quality assurance and, more prosaically, for recruitment purposes. Feedback from employers and graduates of apprenticeship programmes would help improve the quality and labour market relevance of the training.