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THE EFFECT OF APPRENTICESHIP ON THE PERFORMANCE OF ARTISANS
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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The contribution of apprenticeship to jobs and skills has long been appreciated by countries eager to promote growth and ease the transition from full-time education to work for young people. Both France and England have around 5 per cent of 16-24 year olds in apprenticeship and have made strenuous efforts to expand numbers (Cilpepper&Thelen, 2008). Currently, however, places offered by employers are not sufficient to meet the huge demand from young people or to have much impact on youth unemployment in these countries – the unemployment rate is currently around 20 per cent for 15-24 year olds in both countries and higher still in European countries without apprenticeship provision (Steedman, 2011)
While a positive relationship between apprenticeship and low youth unemployment can be observed over time, it would be misguided to see apprenticeship primarily as a ‘cure’ for high youth unemployment. Apprenticeship is first and foremost about skill development to the benefit of companies, their employees and the wider economy. Apprenticeship can accommodate a wide range of abilities and aptitudes because it accurately reflects the equally wide range of skills required in a modern economy (Bosch & Charest, 2008). However, it is not a sufficient solution to improving the labour market transition of young people with poor school achievements or other disadvantages.
The expression apprenticeship means any system by which an employer undertakes by contract to employ a young person and to train him [or her] or have him [or her] trained systematically for a trade for a period the duration of which has been fixed in advance and in the course of which the apprentice is bound to work in the employer’s service (Steedman& Ryan, 1998). This process of training has led to the development of the bulk of the artisan. Systematic long-term training for a recognized occupation taking place substantially within an undertaking or under an independent craftsman should be governed by a written contract of apprenticeship and be subject to established standards.
Apprenticeship training is taken to denote training programmes that combine vocational education with work-based learning for an intermediate occupational skill (i.e., more than routinised job training), and that are subject to externally imposed training standards, particularly for their workplace component (Steedman, 2011).
Apprenticeship in the informal economy is a widespread phenomenon, including in G20 countries. In order to pass on skills from one generation to the next, poor societies have developed informal apprenticeship systems that are purely workplace-based. A young apprentice learns by way of observation and imitation from an experienced master craftsperson, acquires the skills of the trade and is inducted into the culture and networks of the business (Streeck, 1987). Apprenticeship agreements are mostly oral, yet they are embedded in the society’s customs, norms and traditions. Countries in mediaeval Europe developed strong apprenticeship systems regulated by crafts associations, the guilds (Streeck, 1987). Today, informal apprenticeship is an extensive training system in countries with large informal economies all over the world including Nigeria. Variations in terms of practices are wide, yet the basic feature remains the same: the training agreement between a young learner and an experienced craftsperson to transmit the skills of a trade. Most of the learners becomes the normal artisan upon completion of training. There have been a lot of doubts in the performance of several artisans in Nigeria. Despite the system’s strength of providing skills relevant to Artisans, informal apprenticeship has a number of weaknesses. Long working hours, unsafe working conditions, low or no allowances or wages, little or no social protection in case of illness or accident, andstrong gender imbalances are among the decent work deficits often found in an apprenticeship which is believed to have significant effect on the performance of the artisans.
On the one hand, upgrading informal apprenticeship is considered important to address these weaknesses. On the other hand, compared to investing in expanding formal technical education and training, it is a cost-effective way to invest in a country’s skills base and enhance employability of youth, since training is integrated into the production process.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Performance of artisans upon completion of apprenticeship training is the most fundamental requirement of a successful apprenticeship training system.
Thus apprenticeship training provides firms with young employees (artisans) who have mastered the skill set necessary for a given role within the firm. In addition, the apprentice has acquired knowledge and transferable skills. He/she has absorbed the culture of the firm and an appreciation of its organization and operation by the virtue of the training received. However, the researcher is examining the effect of apprenticeship training on the performance of artisans.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
To examine the effect of apprenticeship training on the performance of artisans.
To examine the process and organization of apprenticeship training.
To identify the factors limiting the performance of artisans.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the effect of apprenticeship training on the performance of artisans?
What is the process and organization of apprenticeship training?
What are the factors limiting the performance of artisans?
HO: There is no significant relationship between apprenticeship training and the performance of artisans
HA: There is significant relationship between apprenticeship training and the performance of artisans
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
The outcome of this study will be a useful guide for the government of Nigeria, policy makers and the general public on the benefit of apprenticeship training and its impact on the performance of artisans.
This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the effect of apprenticeship training on the performance of artisans will cover how the apprenticeship programme is organized and managed and its effect on the performance of artisans.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Bosch G. and J. Charest, 2008. ‘Vocational training and the labour market in liberal and coordinated economies’ Industrial Relations Journal 39:5 428-447.
Culpepper P. D. and K. Thelen, 2008. ‘Institutions and the Collective Actors in the Provision of Training:Historical and Cross-National Comparisons’ in Mayer K. U. and H. Solga (eds) Skill Formation: Interdisciplinary and Cross-National Perspectives CUP, Cambridge.
Steedman H., 2011. ‘Challenges and Change: Apprenticeships in German-speaking Europe’ in Dolphin T. and T. Lanning (eds) Rethinking Apprenticeships Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) London.