Title DEVAPPRENT - Development of apprenticeship in Lithuania referring to experience from Germany, France, UK and Netherlands
Project Number DE/10/LLP-LdV/TOI/147320
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text Within recent years an increased perception of the relevance of apprenticeship has again occurred. CEDEFOP have published “Learning while working – Success stories on workplace learning in Europe” (http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/EN/Files/3060_en.pdf). Seen from a central-European perspective, the first impression of the “dual system”, being aware of all weaknesses, can be seen as a success story. What is the situation in countries with no or poor traditions in apprenticeship? What could be a systemic approach of policy learning for developing apprenticeship in Lithuania? Our starting points were the experiences and developments in countries with established VET-systems. We took those on board to develop concrete guidelines with respect to Lithuanian preconditions.
Although the apprenticeship concept has been recently introduced by the law concerning Vocational Education and Training in Lithuania, there was still a lack of institutional, methodical implementation procedures and measures to facilitate the effective establishment and functioning of an apprenticeship system in practice in Lithuania. Lithuania does not have strong traditions of apprenticeship, so there was a lack of know-how and experience in organizing apprenticeships, a lack of know-how in the field of applied training methods and a shortage of required competence among the potential tutors of apprentices. There was equally limited experience of social partnership and cooperation between social partners and other stakeholders in the organization, provision and financing of apprenticeships – and taking coalescing Europe as a matter of fact it is quite obvious, that development of apprenticeship should respect the state of the art in other countries. The project DEVAPPRENT developed guidelines for the implementation of effective apprenticeship practices in Lithuania; respecting the two main criteria of policy learning:
* Transferability of the proposed developments
* Adaptability of the receiving VET-system
Guidelines were tested with success in paramedics and are now used as the basis for the development of apprenticeship in other Lithuanian sectors like the construction sector. They are a promising bottom-up complement to legislative measures; not only in Lithuania but also in other countries with developable apprenticeship systems. Guidelines were not only presented and discussed in the partner countries – but also in Latvia, Spain, Azerbaijan and the region of Kaliningrad.
DEVAPPRENT aimed at developing apprenticeship within the school-based VET-system of Lithuania. We have chosen the methodological approach of “policy learning“; main references were the innovations and developments in four reference countries (Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) with established apprenticeship (sub-)systems.
The first step was a survey on the preconditions as well as on the zone of proximal development of apprenticeship in Lithuania and the analysis of practice and innovations in the four reference countries. Besides the respective national reports the first milestone reached was a comparative report on the apparent good practice in the benchmark countries; this report is available in the download-section. It does not refer to the preconditions or needs of Lithuania – thus it might be the basis for developing apprenticeship in other, especially CEE, countries, too. Next step was the synthesis of Lithuanian preconditions and potentials with the comparative report just mentioned in terms of recommendations; those include additionally possible scenarios for the future landscape of the Lithuanian VET-system. Recommendations are structured following the eight most important dimensions of developing apprenticeship highlighted by our Lithuanian partners:
* Stakeholder and social partner roles
* Quality control in apprenticeship training
* Funding of apprenticeship
* Development of the legal basis of apprenticeship
* Curriculum design of apprenticeship training
* Promotion of apprenticeship and enrolment of apprentices
* Organisation of training
* Assessment of learning outcomes
One of the main features, avoiding the neo-colonialist trap, was that recommendations consist of a zone, where development is possible – not of concrete measures to be undertaken. Recommendations were presented on several workshops in Lithuania and were tested in an exemplary apprenticeship programme in the sector of paramedics. In general the feedback and the conclusions were very positive, as one of the Lithuanian stakeholder outlined:
“The DEVAPPRENT guidelines provide high quality background research that helps generate legitimacy for the key features and direction of future development of apprenticeship system in Lithuania.”
Besides this fruitful impact of the project in Lithuania and the promising interest of VET-stakeholders in other countries in the methods of DEVAPPRENT two (at least potentially) tenuous aspects should be mentioned:
1. The approach is eclectic. Recommendations do not follow a coherent model or system but deliver an orientation-framework basing on policies of systems so different such as the German and the British. We considered this methodological aspect as not that important, due to the general approach of setting up a zone of development, not to propose or recommend measures to be implemented.
2. Projects partners do not believe in exporting respective importing elements of VET-systems from one cultural and educational background to another – but this does not imply that we are free of pedagogical or educational beliefs. If the Lithuanian stakeholders state in their critical analysis of the recommendations on the legal basis of apprenticeship: “The absence or weakness of this matching [of stakeholders’ interests] due to lack of interest, capabilities and responsibility of stakeholders creates serious obstacles for establishing and implementing comprehensive models of contractual and regulatory arrangements, similar to those in Germany, France and the Netherlands.  [and] Open and liberal model of apprenticeship contracting in the UK at first glance presents a more adaptable case of policy learning for the implementation and development of apprenticeship in Lithuania.“ – are we confronted with the dilemmatic situation of being -potentially- pathfinders of neo-liberal approaches in VET. But we hope, that the advised “Financial and fiscal measures of support to the activities of social partner organisations in embedding social dialogue in the apprenticeship system.“ will avoid any fragmentation of the Lithuanian VET-system.
Utilization and distribution of results
Accommodation and Food Service Activities
Main products are available in the “download” section:
1. Report on the current situation and need for apprenticeships in the VET system of Lithuania. This report provides in-depth information about the institutional, social, economic and legal preconditions and requirements for the development of apprenticeships in Lithuania, as well as the extent to which the main stakeholders (employers, VET schools, employment training institutions etc) are prepared to participate in this process.
2. National reports and the report on comparative research into apprenticeship practices in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK, proposing concrete measures or instruments of these apprenticeship systems that might be transferable for developing the apprenticeship system in Lithuania and other CEE countries.
3. Guidelines for the development of apprenticeships in Lithuania proposing concrete measures for designing: the institutional framework of apprenticeships; public funding and public-private co-financing measures of apprenticeships; social partnership and cooperation required to develop apprenticeships; proposals for restructuring the VET curriculum; and recommendations for organising apprenticeship training in enterprises.
These three reports are published as a book, too; few copies (in German, English or Lithuanian) are still available – please contact the coordinator in case of interest.