Apprenticeship is a time-tested way to learn from the world of practice for the students and incubate young talents for the enterprises. Apprenticeships are frequently distinguished by their major point of reference or provision. Those offered directly by companies, not in conjunction with educational organizations – are also known as professional apprenticeships or internships, which are solely delivered by the company. The ones offered through educational institutions – are sometimes referred as curricular apprenticeships. These usually take place during the study programme and the responsibility for them is shared between the educational institution and the partner company that provides the placement.
In Europe, co-developed curricular apprenticeship schemes are more frequently found between professional higher education institutions (PHEIs) and larger businesses, which ultimately have come to dominate this market. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) appear to lack the structures and capacities to establish relevant apprenticeship schemes with PHEIs, as well as general consensus on the added value of apprenticeship arrangements for the SMEs themselves. Supporting Apprenticeships between Professional Higher Education & Small and Medium Enterprises” or SAPS project serves to address these challenges, and support the systematization and creation of a more comprehensive approach to collaboration between PHEIs and SMEs in apprenticeship.
SAPS is an ongoing three year Erasmus+ funded project, realized in collaboration among 10 members from different countries with EURASHE as a coordinating institution. The aims of the project are twofold: develop the resources that can help structure the apprenticeship practices between PHEIs and SMEs, and re-shape the image of apprenticeship for SME with a multi-lingual promotional campaign. By bringing European experts in apprenticeship practices together, the consortium has developed a hands-on Apprenticeships Quality Toolkit for SMEs and PHEIs to ensure quality collaboration and delivery of the apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Quality Toolkit follows a quality management system style approach and works in two directions: inside-in, by structuring the organizational processes for successful collaboration for apprenticeships delivery, and inside out, as a quality assurance tool for transparency.
The further goal to promote the image of apprenticeships within SMEs will be realized by establishing a specialized online portal, serving as a repository of best practices and tools in the field, as well as a space for networking between PHEs and SMEs. A combination of seminar appearances, joint promotion with SME-representative organizations, promotion in media and social media will help the consortium spread the awareness of the advantages of apprenticeship schemes for SMEs and attract attention to the question of their quality. With the structured approach to valuable resources creation and well-thought promotional campaign, SAPS projects is to greatly contribute to the development of mutual understanding and appreciation of apprenticeship schemes between PHEIs and SMEs in Europe.
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