Apprenticeships have been around for centuries, but the definition is contested and varies from country to country in a formal sense. ‘A job with training’ is a sensible starting point but qualifications, funding sources and duration for example can differ hugely between industry and region.

Apprenticeships systems and delivery are a key part of the British Council’s work in Technical and Vocational Education and Training and we explored the subject further during our I-WORK project funded by UK Government. We developed the Apprenticeship Benchmarking Tool which allows policy makers to compare their apprenticeship systems against a global standard and their peers around the world.  

We do hope you will complete the online benchmarking and encourage peers in your network to do so. The more submissions the fuller picture of global apprenticeship policy and practice we are able to analyse and share.  

Why benchmark?

We do hope more countries will complete the online benchmarking. The more submissions the fuller picture of global apprenticeship policy and practice we are able to analyse and share.   

This is a tool that aims to compare national rather than institutional policy and practice, therefore it is not suitable for individual training providers alone to complete, unless they are doing so on behalf of a national or regional system.  We will not attribute results to individual countries at this stage.  On completing it we will send you comparative analysis of the submissions to date so you can compare your results with the other nations that have participated. 

Select findings to date

  • 75% of respondents declare a clear national strategy for apprenticeships
  • 43% of countries indicate that there is strong evidence for clarity of employer roles
  • over half of countries reported that in over 75% of cases there were offers of further employment for apprentices on completion
  • in a majority of participating countries Return on Investment in apprenticeships is not measured.

How to complete the benchmarking tool?

We would advise you that before completing it you should review the full list of questions so that you have the information you need to complete it. We would also suggest that completing the tool as a sector including employers, education and government organisations has proved to be valuable for those that have done so to date. If you would like to speak to us about facilitating this, please do get in touch but we have also created some guidance which is below:

Our Global Apprenticeship Expert Simon Perryman worked with five countries to develop the benchmarking tool: Ghana, India, Malaysia, South Africa and the four nations of the United Kingdom. Each of these countries, excluding the UK Nations, developed projects to enhance their systems based on the results of the benchmarking exercise. These included creating improved employer guidance and developing a national apprenticeship policy. You can read more about the individual projects in the Impact Report.  If you are interested in how the benchmarking tool was designed the Technical Report explains this.

What next? 

By designing a benchmarking tool for apprenticeship systems, we have provided a roadmap for countries to assess and compare their policy and practice.  This international collaboration and comparison has been highly valued by those who have taken part so far and we have seen that even though systems and practice are different and have varied aims, benchmarking is useful. It is a new way to help countries take an objective look at whole systems before forming judgements on what needs to change, and to learn from others experience before shaping that change. The collective experience of a pool of nations we have found to be helpful in addressing core and sometimes unfashionable issues. We encourage other Governments and agencies that have an interest in building quality apprenticeship systems to use the tool and to contact us with any further ideas on how it can be improved.

This builds on a track record of British Council work in Apprenticeships including:

You can find below images of the front page and example questions from the tool.