Skills beyond school

Strengthening incentives and implementation for apprenticeships


Read the OECD report: Incentives for apprenticeship

Read the translation into Spanish: Incentivos para la FP Dual

Montserrat Gomendio (Head, Centre for Skills, OECD): “La FP Dual ayuda a adaptarse a este mercado laboral cambiante

The issue and scope

This module focuses on one form of work-based learning: apprenticeship training. Apprenticeship typically involves a mix of training performing real and productive work in firms, as well as off-the-job education and training, and leads to a formal qualification.

Development of apprenticeship systems often creates large challenges, in engaging the employers that must provide the work placements, in making apprenticeship attractive to young people who might otherwise pursue academic studies, and in delivering skills that are not only immediately valuable but support career development. Development of apprenticeship might be easier in some sectors of the economy than in others. Typically apprenticeship is more common in sectors and occupations with a long tradition of training and where employers (and often unions) are well represented and organised. Large companies are also more likely to offer apprenticeship than small firms. This is a challenge for many OECD countries where small and medium companies are the backbone of the economy.

Many countries use financial incentives to promote apprenticeships and other forms of training. Responsiveness to financial incentives varies across companies and occupations. Companies that can easily substitute apprentices for workers respond positively to a financial support whereas companies that cannot substitute apprentices for workers find it harder. Sometimes adjustments in the design of apprenticeships (e.g. in its duration, or apprentice wage) might be enough to increase company benefits or make apprenticeships more appealing to individuals. This work, drawing on countries’ experience, will discuss, evaluate and compare various incentives for apprenticeships. It will also aim to define the setting and conditions necessary for their successful implementation.

Key steps

A one-day workshop took place on 29 April 2016 in Bern, Switzerland and a discussion paper was shared with participants. The purpose of the workshop was to present and discuss policy interventions and tools designed to increase the provision of apprenticeships by companies and to raise attractiveness of apprenticeships to individuals. The workshop provided countries with an opportunity to discuss the initial analytical work and share their experience. A policy report drawing on the discussion paper and conclusions from the workshop was subsequently published in January 2017.

Examples of policy questions explored

  • What financial and non-financial incentives are used to increase provision of apprenticeships?
  • Why might the state want to support, both financially or in-kind, companies offering apprenticeship training?
  • What do we know about the impact of different measures, based on country experience?
  • How do different measures compare in terms of their costs and effectiveness?

See also:




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How the work is being conducted

Papers and reports

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