Standard-setting on apprenticeships

Skills mismatch and the lack of employment opportunities for young people around the world remain serious challenges. In addition, due to fast changes in labour market needs, workers of all ages find themselves in need of retraining or upskilling. 

A glance around the world shows that an increasing number of countries are focusing on the development or improvement of apprenticeship systems and programmes to address the above-mentioned challenges. In parallel with increased interest in apprenticeships, there has been an upsurge in other forms of work-based learning, whether as a formal component of educational programmes, as part of active labour market programmes designed to assist the unemployed, or as traineeships or internships established by businesses or not-for-profit organisations.

It is clearly important that the promotion of apprenticeships and other forms of work-based learning should be consistent with the pursuit of decent work, the core objective for the ILO.

The ILO has previously adopted instrument, the Vocational Training Recommendation (No. 117), 1962, prescribing standards for the regulation of apprenticeships. Following the juridical replacement of the instrument, apprenticeship has not been comprehensively addressed under any subsequent ILO instruments (whether by Conventions or Recommendations). Considering the regulatory gap on apprenticeships, the ILO Governing Body in its 334th Session in October-November 2018, requested the Office to place a standard-setting item related to apprenticeships on the agenda of the 110th and 111th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) for a double discussion in 2021 and 2022.

As part of this process, the Office has published a Law and Practice Report in 2019, which was distributed to the ILO’s tripartite constituents (governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations). The questionnaire appended to the Report requested the views of member States, in consultation with the most representative organizations of employers and workers, on the form, scope and content of any new instrument or instruments (which might be a Convention and/or Recommendation) concerning apprenticeships.

The Law and Practice Report and questionnaire can be downloaded through the following link: Report IV(1): A framework for quality apprenticeships

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