To make it easier for companies to participate in work-based training, governments need to mandate, fund, and train institutions to provide such services.
Work-based training is more effective in getting young people into jobs than traditional school-based technical and vocation training alone. Many countries in Asia have put in place policies to promote work-based training, yet few companies offer training opportunities that promote the practice.
Our research found that practical challenges in setting up work-based training is the main discouraging factor for companies. This includes a lack of formal cooperation with schools, unresponsive partner schools and a lack of information and knowledge about how work-based training works, students’ abilities and how to integrate trainees at the workplace.
If companies are to offer work-based training they require support in accessing information and knowledge about it, cooperating with training institutes, and having reliable partners available. This is exactly where governments can step in and provide support services to remove obstacles for businesses.
Many countries in Asia have put in place policies to promote work-based training, yet few companies offer training opportunities that promote the practice.
Work-based training markets are no different. Without support services that make the placement of trainees feasible, companies will not engage. Important support services include:
- Advising companies on how to enter work-based training markets, through marketing campaigns about apprenticeships, how they work and how they can be accessed; regular network events between schools and companies; direct advice through business membership organizations.
- Assisting companies in matching with suitable trainees, through meet and greets with schools; awareness campaigns about qualification programs in the education system; and job/apprentice fairs.
- Making the placement of trainees hassle-free and predictable, through standard work-based training contract templates aligned with training and labor regulations; appointing liaison officers at training institutes, including formalizing the role in job descriptions and providing training in partnership management.
- Building capacity of work-based training markets. Offer training of in-company instructors; recognizing training companies publicly with a seal of recognition; and providing work readiness training to trainees.
These support services provide practical value to companies by reducing transaction costs and increasing business certainty when hiring a trainee and this is where the value-added lies. For example, network events reduce time spent by companies on searching for trainees, and contract templates with clear trainee allowance stipulations create business certainty about costs.
Our research in Mongolia and Pakistan found that companies are willing to engage in work-based training under the condition that there is a workable work-based training system. Workable means that arranging traineeships is not a hassle. Instead companies can arrange them with ease as information, reliable partners and the marketplace are readily available.
To make it easier for companies to participate in work-based training, governments need to invest into work-based training support services by acting as the orchestrator who mandates, funds, and trains institutions to provide such services.
This requires a different approach and mindset than what is taking place today, in which governments not only demand companies to engage in work-based training but also provide hands-on support to them to enter training markets.