ApprenticeshipQ – Mainstreaming Procedures for Quality Apprenticeships in Educational Organisations and Enterprises

Within Higher Vocational Education (HVET), which has a mixed character between vocational and higher education, often tools which were designed for higher education are used for quality control – meaning that either apprenticeships fall entirely out of the purview of the QA system, or that they are ill adapted for use within it.

In fact, no proposal currently exists on how European Higher Vocational Institutions may adapt their internal quality systems to ensure proper supervision and control of apprenticeships, or even what a minimum level of quality for an apprenticeship should entail. Thus, the project is designed to complement existing tools for coordinating quality in educational institutions, in particular EQAVET, and in certain cases the ESGs by proposing cross-based methods for ensuring quality apprenticeships.

There is a lack of experiences, concepts and vision on how to leverage the potential of practice and work-based learning for the field of VET, which needs to be addressed through comprehensive quality criteria in order to give guidance and orientation on how to structure those parts of VET which take part in the world of work.

ApprenticeshipQ will:
• provide a clear framework for quality management of apprenticeships at the system, provider and company levels ensuring systematic feedback
• foster mutual trust and respect through regular cooperation and better quality management between the apprenticeship partners
• ensure the content of HVET programmes is responsive to changing skill needs in companies and society
• ensure fair, valid, and authentic assessment of learning outcomes in apprenticeships
• support the continuous professional development of in-company trainers and improving their working conditions

It will do this by:
• identifying and analysing different forms of apprenticeships and work-based learning to design and test a typology of apprenticeships
• identifying the strategic goals of the main stakeholders involved in HVET to inform quality management
• identifying the factors that stakeholders consider essential for QM within the strategic partnership
providing a set of best-practice examples for QM at education institutions and at training/placement sites
• identifying QM success factors and best practices in different education institutions, in different industry sectors

This knowledge will be made useful for target groups including institutions, enterprises and students by creating:
• an institutional quality management framework for apprenticeships
• an online-assessment tool for quality management
• an apprenticeships QM Manual for educational institutions containing instruments, methods and tools they can work with to develop a joint quality culture between themselves and small and medium enterprises
• an apprenticeships QM Manual for enterprises containing instruments, methods and tools they can work with to develop a joint quality culture between themselves and educational organizations

The project will consult extensively with stakeholders to forge consensus in the field, including by organising:
• Workshops in 6 countries involving more than 300 QM experts, other expert stakeholders from training and education site
• Field test in 6 countries involving more than 300 employers, quality managers, trainer and teachers, HVET institutions, etc.
• Survey in 6 countries involving more than 1.200 employers, QM person responsible from the placement as well as the HVET institution site, teachers and trainers

Through the involvement of chambers of commerce, standardization bodies and associations of European institutions of Higher VET in the project, ApprenticeshipQ has the potential to reach a wide impact, and ensure uptake of its processes amongst both enterprises and HVET institutions.

This in turn will lead to improved quality management and hence improved quality of apprenticeships in Higher VET around Europe, which should in turn increase the attractiveness of HVET as an educational pathway.