Discussion Paper

Understanding the non-marketable benefits of apprenticeships in South African enterprises

This report details findings of research on the non-financial or non-marketable returns from apprenticeship training amongst a small sample of South African firms. The report describes the South African apprenticeship system, considers the literature on non-financial returns from apprenticeships and presents the research based on interviews and a survey involving 48 enterprises. The research found there was strong evidence of improved staff retention as a key benefit of apprenticeships to firms and that apprenticeships provide a future talent pipeline of skilled staff. The research found that apprenticeship programmes are seen as a way to reduce the risk associated with employing new staff. There was also some evidence of firms seeing an improved public image as a key benefit along with some evidence of an improved work climate and improved innovation as key benefits of apprenticeships.