Regulation at sectoral level

The scope and degree of detail of laws on Quality Apprenticeships vary considerably from one country to another. Some countries regulate Quality Apprenticeships in detail at the national and, where appropriate, state or regional level; in other countries, the responsibility is shared - or even delegated to - the social partners and other stakeholders, to decide at the sectoral level.

Mention has already been made in Chapter 5 of the role that ‘knowledge centres’ and ‘sector chambers’ play in setting the rules for apprenticeship training in the Netherlands. There are other examples of sectoral bodies - ‘trade committees’ in Denmark, for instance, and SETAs/SETABs in South Africa – which have a significant influence on regulatory frameworks.

In Denmark approximately 50 ‘trade committees’, which are made up of representatives of the social partners, are responsible for just over 110 apprenticeships They have a number of regulatory responsibilities, notably:

  • formulating learning objectives and final examination standards, based on the key competences required in the labour market;
  • determining the regulatory framework for individual courses within boundaries set by the legislative framework, in terms of the duration of the programme and the ratio between on-the-job and off-the-job training;
  • providing accrediting for enterprises that want to take on apprentices; and
  • issuing journeyman’s certificates (Cedefop. 2014a, p. 37).

In South Africa, on the basis of the 2008 Sector Skills Development Act, the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs – soon to be known as SETABs – Sector Education and Training Advisory Boards), which are also made up of the social partners and government representatives, have certain responsibilities in terms of apprenticeship training. They are primarily responsible for developing and implementing sectoral skills plans within the framework of the national skills development strategy.