New Skills at Work J.P.Morgan, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Hrsg.)

The economics of apprenticeship training

Seven lessons learned from cost-benefit surveys and simulation

1. Auflage




To increase the popularity of the apprenticeship programs as well as to create benefits for individuals and the state, and for the firms providing apprenticeships, it is important to provide reliable information to firms about the circumstances where apprenticeship models are a potential win-win situation. Therefore, Samuel Mühlemann and Stefan Wolter have summarised seven important findings from cost-benefit-surveys of apprenticeship training programmes in this paper.

These findings have been gleaned using detailed cost-benefit surveys in various countries and by compiling subsequent cost-benefit simulations for other countries over the last 20 years. The costs incurred by the firms providing training were measured, as were the benefits they can generate in the short term resulting from the apprentices' work in the company and the medium-term benefits obtained because apprenticeship programs help companies avoid costly recruitment from the labour market.

These surveys and simulations mainly concern European countries. However, they have also been applied to non-European countries like Singapore. The following statements refer to cost-benefit surveys from Switzerland, Germany and Austria and cost-benefit simulations that have been run for England, Italy and Spain. The cost-benefit measurements in the three German-speaking countries were also used for comparative studies, i.e., studies that investigated the causes and effects of the variation in costs and benefits of apprenticeship training in those three countries. The findings derived from the cost-benefit measurements are:

  1. Ratio of costs and benefits influences firms‘ willingness of providing apprenticeship training
  2. Similar apprenticeship training systems do not necessarily produce similar outcomes
  3. Returns on apprenticeships after training are maybe more important than during
  4. Flexible but coherent training parameters are key for a functioning apprenticeship training system
  5. Variable apprentices' salaries prevent distortions in the apprenticeship market
  6. Apprentices‘ benefits are a relevant factor that must also be considered for a functioning apprenticeship system
  7. Training quality and scope may reduce net costs and increase the returns on education

The study has been published in German and Spanish.


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