Can dual apprenticeships create better and more equitable social and economic outcomes for young people? A comparative study of India and Mexico

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Education

Abstract

The aim of this proposal is to support more effective implementation of dual apprenticeship in India and Mexico and to strengthen the capacity of project partners to evaluate their apprenticeships in the medium to long term. Dual apprenticeships combine a strong component of school-based education with highly regulated work-based training in integrated learning plans leading to a formal qualification and have proven successful in Germanic countries. They are being introduced by the federal governments of India and Mexico to raise the quality of current provision of skills, to improve the labour market conditions for young people, and to increase the productivity levels of the workforce. However, policy transfer across different political, economic and social contexts raise important academic, policy and practice questions: Why and how dual apprenticeships are adopted and re-contextualized by national governments? And, how and under what contextual and institutional circumstances do dual apprenticeships create better and more equitable social and economic outcomes for young people?
To answer these questions, our study develops a comprehensive research approach that scrutinizes the different, but mutually constitutive stages of policy transfer, from the adoption and re-contextualization of dual apprenticeships in national programmes to their implementation and impact on social inequalities in multiple local contexts. A robust comparative and multi-level methodological strategy that combines quantitative and qualitative methods will contribute to advancing such an innovative approach. First, we will synthesise international evidence on the adoption, implementation and impact of dual apprenticeships in low and middle income countries through a realist literature review. Second, we will analyse the drivers of the adoption and re-contextualization of dual apprenticeships in India and Mexico through the analysis of policy documents and in-depth interviews with key policy stakeholders. Third, we will evaluate the implementation and impact of dual apprenticeships on inequalities of access, learning and labour market outcomes among young people through a mixed methods realist evaluation that will combine a national survey of apprentices in India and Mexico with in-depth interviews to apprentices, teachers/trainers and employers. Finally, we will provide evidence-based policy recommendations to inform current design and implementation of dual apprenticeships at the same time that will strengthen the capacity of project partners to evaluate their apprenticeships through innovative methodologies.
The two middle income countries selected for the comparison, India and Mexico, face important educational and socioeconomic developmental challenges that justify the interest in the impact of their dual apprenticeship programmes. India and Mexico present high percentage of young people out of school in upper secondary education (48%, 42%), high occurrence of informal employment (92%, 60%) and large inequalities of income as measured by the GINI index (35, 48). From a policy transfer perspective, they present similarities and differences in the adoption of dual apprenticeships that make the comparison particularly interesting. Both countries share the strong national ownership of the reform and its wide systemic scope, which has already led to significant legislative changes in both countries. On the other hand, while the adoption of dual apprenticeships in India represents an upgrade of its current model of apprenticeships, in the case of Mexico it implies the creation of the first apprenticeship experience in a country where the whole TVET provision was delivered in schools. Given the different TVET traditions and political economies in these two federal countries, it is expected that the factors driving and mediating the adoption, implementation and impact of their dual apprenticeship programmes will differ between them and at local level.

Planned Impact

The federal governments of India and Mexico have recently launched ambitious national programmes of dual apprenticeships to raise the quality of current provision of skills, to improve the labour market conditions for young people, and to increase the productivity levels of the workforce. However, while there is a wide international consensus about the strengths of the dual model of apprenticeships in Germanic countries, there is also extensive evidence on the difficulty of transferring this model at large scale and with the same standards of quality to other political, economic and cultural contexts. The aim of this proposal is to support more effective implementation of dual apprenticeship in India and Mexico and to strengthen the capacity of project partners to evaluate their apprenticeships in the medium to long term.

The project will engage with different profiles of audiences and through different methods.

1. Researchers in India and Mexico: The project will develop capacity among researcher partners in the study countries to apply innovative methodologies in the evaluation of their dual apprenticeship programmes. It will achieve this goal by facilitating close interdisciplinary research collaboration among team members and tailored training sessions for early career researchers.

2. Cooperation agencies in TVET: The project will raise awareness among cooperation agencies of the importance of systematically monitoring and evaluating the impact of apprenticeships. Representatives of cooperation agencies will be involved in the project since its inception through its international advisory committee.

3. Government officials and chambers of commerce responsible for the programmes: The project will improve the understanding among national policy stakeholders of the institutional and contextual requirements for an effective implementation of dual apprenticeships and will generate significant learning on how the management of the programme can reduce inequalities of access, learning and labour market outcomes. The project will engage with these audiences through the close collaboration with their representatives in the national steering groups.

4. Civil society organizations working with young people, individual employers, teachers, trainers, students and their families: The project will increase engagement with apprenticeships among civil society organizations and employers that are not familiar with the potential of these forms of joint provision and will create spaces for hearing the voice and understanding the experiences of practitioners and apprentices. The project will open these spaces in the three national workshops and one showcase event to be held in each study country and will create a diversity of print and online materials (eg project videos).

The effectiveness of these knowledge exchange activities will be monitored and assessed by project team members through focus groups, one-to-one interviews, satisfaction feedback forms, meeting minutes and workshop reports. The project coordination team will revisit and adapt its strategy according to the information obtained from these monitoring tools.

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