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Adapting to Globalised Product and Labour Markets


  • Steedman, Hilary

    () (Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science)


Rapidly changing labour markets in European countries are a challenge for young people seeking employment. While in many countries around half of all young people move into tertiary education, apprenticeship provides a recognised route to skill for some or all of those who seek to move directly into employment after school. The paper identifies two distinct models of apprenticeship in Europe, the well-established demand-driven model found in the German-speaking countries and in Denmark and the more recently revived supply-driven model found in France, the Netherlands and the UK. The demand-driven model associated with high employer commitment has very little connection to full-time vocational courses. However, the low employer commitment supply-driven model in France and the Netherlands derives legitimacy from close integration with the more established full-time vocational route. These different developments are explained by differing historical patterns of skill development in the two groups of countries as shown by differences in the expansion of higher education. Apprenticeship continues to facilitate the transition from school to work and to lead to higher employment probabilities than equivalent full-time schooling. However, in all the reference countries fast-changing labour markets have led to reform and change of the regulation of apprenticeship which has as its aim to increase the incentive to employers to provide apprenticeship places. The paper concludes that countries without a strong apprenticeship tradition can achieve some of the benefits of apprenticeship by implementing a supply-driven model provided that standards and quality are protected by regulation and/or by integration into more established provision

Suggested Citation

  • Steedman, Hilary, 2006. "Adapting to Globalised Product and Labour Markets," Arbetsrapport 2007:12, Institute for Futures Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifswps:2007_012 Note: ISSN 1652-120X; ISBN 978-91-85619-14-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure


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