9.12. Apprenticeship training is not popular among young people

Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of Special Education
Doctoral candidate: MA Olavi Leino
Time and venue: 9 December at 12 noon, Agora AT100, Joensuu campus

Apprenticeship training has provided best practices for vocational education already for centuries. The number of apprenticeship training contracts has rapidly increased during the last 30 years and currently apprenticeship training is a significant form of vocational education. The Act on vocational adult education changed in 2006, and a new order on personalisation by The Finnish National Board of Education further specified the personalisation of adult education and qualifications. However, there is only some research done on personalisation or on-the-job learning as a part of apprenticeship training. The Finnish system in apprenticeship training is special and differs from the systems prevailing in other European countries as most of the apprentices in Finland are adults. The objective of this quantitative study was to investigate personalisation of learning of the apprentices and their opportunities for workplace-based learning. In this study, personalisation of learning refers to individualising and workplace-specific training, and the realisation of personalisation was examined at apprentices’ workplaces.

The study followed apprentices (n=239) and their trainers (n=159) throughout the duration of the apprenticeship training program. On average, the apprentices were well-educated, middle-aged employees of big firms. They had long work experience and their employers invested in their further training. Similarly, trainers were well-educated professionals with long work experience. Only a few of them, however, had participated in a training program for trainers.

The results indicated that apprentices had experienced personalisation of learning quite much at the beginning of their studies, but the rate of personalisation had increased toward the end of the studies. On the contrary, the apprentices felt that workplace-based learning opportunities were diminishing toward the end of the studies. Apprentices’ motivation to gain a qualification was at its highest at the final stage of the studies. Trainers evaluated that both the rate of personalisation and workplace-based learning opportunities had diminished during the apprenticeship training, but trainers’ social skills and motivation had positive impacts on apprentices’ learning opportunities. Employment status of the apprentice prior training and the size of the firm affected the rate of workplace-based learning opportunities. More personalisation took place in small firms with less than ten employees than in bigger firms. Apprentices who were unemployed prior training had experienced more personalisation than apprentices who already had jobs. Other background factors of the apprentices or trainers were not so significant in relation to workplace-based learning opportunities.

It is a challenge to get small firms and youngsters to join apprenticeship training. Even though trainers were well-educated and socially skilled, their active participation in trainer program is important in order to enhance apprentices’ workplace-based learning opportunities. It is also difficult to find enough time for guidance. According to both apprentices and trainers, cooperation between the educational institution and workplaces is rather scarce. Identifying special learning needs of the apprentices would enable accommodating theoretical studies as well as guidance at workplaces according to their needs. Developing individual learning and guiding methods is a great challenge for workplaces and educational institutions.

The doctoral dissertation of Master of Arts Olavi Leino, entitled "Oppisopimusopiskelijan oppimisen henkilökohtaistaminen ja oppimismahdollisuudet työpaikalla" will be examined at the Faculty of Philosophy. The opponent in the public examination will be Professor Markku Jahnukainen, University of Jyväskylä, and the custos will be Professor Leena Holopainen, the University of Eastern Finland. The public examination will be held in Finnish.

Photo available for download at http://www.uef.fi/vaitoskuvat

For further information, please contact: Olavi Leino, p. 050 540 3548

 

Publishing year: 2011

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