How to make apprenticeships more attractive to enterprises and SMEs


ILO has recently announced a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) program to build capacity in designing and implementing quality apprenticeships. As we are aware, in India, there is an imperative need to create awareness about engaging apprentices across industries. In this backdrop, Team NSN interacted with Mr. Ashwani Aggarwal, Global Lead for Work Group on Work-based Learning, Apprenticeships and RPL, ILO, The United Nations.

Through this Skill Talk, we intend to re-visit the current crisis in the apprenticeship programs and how the MOOC from ILO could benefit many in the TVET and skills ecosystem. Let’s read on to understand the larger context on the relevance of the MOOC program and enroll for the same.

Benefits of apprenticeships and current global trends

 Apprenticeship has been recognized as an effective and efficient way to empower youth to smoothly shift from school and college to work, and to contribute to improving productivity and competitiveness of enterprises. It improves links between industry and training institutions. And is one of the most reliable ways of capacity building through training the youth as per industry requirements. We need to create a lot of awareness and inform the industry about its benefits in finding, nurturing and grooming creative talent especially during the time of COVID-19 crisis.

The world of work is rapidly changing giving a boost to apprenticeship across the globe. It is pertinent to revisit the benefits of apprenticeships amid COVID-19 crisis.  Apprenticeships are beneficial for apprentices, industry and the government. It’s a proven fact that apprentices leverage better employment trends with a higher income and long-term career growth, while the industry witnesses improved productivity and competitiveness.

  • The studies from the UK shows that workers who have completed apprenticeships have increased productivity by 214 pounds per week on an average. Another study from the USA states that the Return on Investment (ROI) on apprenticeship is more than 27 dollar for every dollar invested by the government. So, it is very beneficial for the government as well.
  • Apprenticeship is also being used to meet skills gap for the new emerging sectors of economy such as banking, IT and others.
  • To leverage the benefits of apprenticeship, most countries are giving high priority at policy level to promoting apprenticeships.. For example, G 20 group came up with recommendations to promote quality apprenticeships. Even countries like the USA and UK, traditionally having focus on school based education, are giving emphasis on apprenticeships even at their University level

How to make apprenticeships more attractive to enterprises and, in particular, to SMEs

 Enterprises of all sizes are key stakeholders in apprenticeship systems and programs. Public authorities may launch ambitious apprenticeship strategies, but these strategies cannot be achieved without the support of businesses or other organizations.

Also read: Striving for successful Apprenticeships in India by bridging the gap between policy and practice – Insights from ILO Toolkit for Quality Apprenticeships – More here:

To address this issue, the following specific measures can be implemented. It will encourage enterprises, and in particular SMEs, to become involved in apprenticeships.

  • Organizing campaigns and events to promote the benefits of quality apprenticeships for enterprises.
  • Providing incentives, both financial and non-financial, to enterprises, especially SMEs.
  • Encouraging the establishment or appointment of intermediaries who can advise and support SMEs and/or develop partnerships for them with local VET institutions.
  • Providing flexible training programs for those responsible for mentoring apprentices in companies.
  • Developing an information service for disseminating ideas and experiences of what works in making quality apprenticeships more attractive to enterprises and, in particular, to SMEs.
  • Providing the flexibility to include the specific skills requirement of an enterprise in the curricula.

How to make apprenticeships attractive to enterprises and SMEsApprenticeships in the time of COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 has impacted the entire globe including training and development activities. According to the early results of the survey on TVET and skills development, the delivery of work-based learning, including apprenticeships, has been facing serious disruption due to the lockdown measures imposed on enterprises.

Upto 95% percent of the apprenticeship program globally has either completely or partially stopped amid COVID-19 crisis. In most countries where essential enterprises remain open, on-job training activities have either stopped or continued to be conducted in restricted numbers with stricter sanitary measures. Given the interruptions at workplaces, many respondents have reported various ways to deliver and assess work-based learning virtually, including both theoretical coursework and the practical aspect of training. The digital mode of learning is to be a paradigm shift for the education system on a long-term basis.  However, digital learning can’t replace practical learning completely and we need to create blended models of learning in TVET space.

The entire skilling ecosystem is coming up with innovative ways to deal with the present crisis. ILO has started an initiative to support the apprentices and would come up with policy recommendations which will be available by the end of June 2020.

In view of the fast changes in the world of work and COVID 19 pandemic,  ILO has designed  MOOC program on apprenticeships to develop the capacity of policy makers and practitioners.

The MOOC will allow participants to choose one of the two learning paths:

  1. The learning path for policy-makers focuses on the key building blocks of quality apprenticeship policies and systems. It highlights effective strategies and innovative solutions for addressing challenges.
  2. The learning path for practitioners focuses on how to design, implement, monitor and evaluate apprenticeship programmes. It provides a wide variety of tools and examples of good practices from various countries.


Renowned International experts would facilitate the MOOC. It consists of a 7-weeks online open learning course that requires only 2-4 hours of learning time per week. It allows flexibility for learners to learn anytime and from anyplace. The center piece of the MOOC is the establishment of a global network of international policymakers and practitioners to share innovative approaches and practices. Furthermore, considering the objectives of the MOOC, it will focus on participatory activity-oriented learning augmented by interactive-lessons, videos, webinars, peer-to-peer workgroups, strategic mapping and checklists of best practice. The MOOC will be supported by learning material (articles, links, multimedia) and tools that will be made available to each participant. After completing the MOOC, participants can obtain a Certificate.

Dates: 29th of June – 16th August

By registering the MOOC, participants will also get an opportunity to access a self-guided course on From Informal to Quality Apprenticeships.

Register for the MOOC by clicking the link:

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  1. Pingback: Webinar on Productivity benefits of Apprenticeship Training in India

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