Steps and tips: Building partnerships in apprenticeship programmes
The Tips box below highlights the key success factors for effective partnerships; it also indicates the processes necessary for the formation of a partnership.
Success factors for an effective partnership:
- Define the purpose.
- Choose partners with complementary skills.
- Focus on win–win benefits.
- Sign a partnership agreement that includes an action plan, with the roles and responsibilities and funding provisions clearly defined.
- Promote effective communication and transparency.
- Foster trust and establish common working norms.
- Analyse and manage risk and stipulate the conflict resolution process.
- Prescribe the duration of the partnership and the method for its renewal and exit strategy.
- Establish an empowered task team with members from all the partners to implement the partnership agreement.
- Senior management should review the progress of the partnership implementation and take steps to remove any obstacles.
At the national and sectoral levels
The national regulatory body or the ministry responsible for apprenticeships can facilitate the formation of partnerships between all stakeholders at the national and sectoral levels. These are based on the guidelines provided in each country’s regulatory framework. The purposes, as well as the forms, of the partnerships therefore vary between countries. General provisions observed in the countries with well-established systems are presented in table 4.2.
At the local level
At the local level, enterprises have the main responsibility for implementing apprenticeship training, the TVET providers offer complementary off-the-job training, while other entities, including intermediaries, provide support services to enterprises. Therefore, in an ideal situation, enterprises may take the lead in establishing partnerships with other organizations (see box 4.10). However, where apprenticeship programmes are being introduced for the first time in a region, enterprises may not have sufficient knowledge or capacity to lead the programme. In such cases, the lead entity, intermediary or the project team responsible for introducing apprenticeship training may facilitate the formation of partnerships. In those countries where apprenticeship is managed by TVET providers, the TVET providers may take the lead in forming partnerships. Table 4.2 indicates the common forms and nature of partnerships that enterprises can establish with other organizations.
Box 4.10 Training partnership in Switzerland
Nestlé has created a partnership with La Poste, the national postal service of Switzerland, to exchange apprentices each year. For example, commercial apprentices of one company undertake two months of training in the other company, usually in a department with which the apprentices are unfamiliar. The objective is to enrich apprentices’ learning experience and to improve their competencies through having to adapt to a new professional environment. The exchange programme is highly appreciated by apprentices, as it helps to improve their future employability.
Source: Information collected and provided by GAN Global.
Enterprises may consider the following process to establish partnerships:
- clearly understand the apprenticeship training life cycle, as well as its role and that of other organizations in implementing the training
- evaluate its capacity to deliver apprenticeship training according to the standards and estimate the support services it would require in this process
- for the off-the-job training, identify the potential TVET providers and form a partnership
- for other support services, identify intermediary organizations or local chambers and form a partnership
- together with local chambers or associations of employers, identify other enterprises that can provide complementary training to the apprentices covering aspects for which the enterprise does not have adequate facilities and establish partnerships.
- The creation of a conducive environment at the local level allows TVET providers and training employers to work together effectively to ensure that the best possible training is offered to apprentices. Working groups can bring all actors involved in quality apprenticeship together in a constructive way.
- TVET providers and employers have distinct but complementary roles in delivering apprenticeship training. Therefore, close cooperation between these two key stakeholders is necessary to reinforce that complementarity.
- TVET teachers and in-CTs should be able to exchange information on the practical aspects of quality apprenticeship programmes, ideally within the framework of cooperation agreements between TVET providers and employers or employers’ organizations. Formal and regular exchanges between TVET providers and training employers can be very helpful.
- When an enterprise is offering apprenticeship training for the first time, an apprenticeship-facilitator from a partner organizations can provide mentorship to newly qualified in-CTs, supporting them as they develop their skills in teaching apprentices.
- The goodwill and support of employers are the cornerstone of quality apprenticeships. It is equally important for employers and TVET providers to form effective partnerships in implementing apprenticeships.