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Apprenticeships in higher education

By Asomi College of Sciences

Apprenticeships are more and more popular and connecting the academic experience to the working one is a practice that more and more higher education institutions are employing. In the current rapidly changing labour market, it is essential to have an academic background and skills learned only by hands-on experiences. Employers’ increasing demand for skills and expertise is rising, and it is more and more difficult for young graduates to find an excellent job in the first six months after graduation. Therefore, higher education institutions have to help to shorten the gap between academic knowledge and skills required by employers. 

Apprenticeships and internships: the difference

First of all, let us clear out the difference between apprenticeships and internships. Usually, an apprenticeship is intended as training based on work, while an internship is equivalent to learning. They have similarities, but there are also some differences. First, apprenticeship prepares students for a specific job, with a year-long duration on average. They are full time, and the apprentices include working and training at the same time.

On the other hand, internships are meant for giving students a glimpse of the industry or job of their career. An intern gets the possibility to work at a company for a certain period. At the end of both internships and apprenticeships, the apprentices or the interns may be given a chance to work in the company where they made their experience. But, while training is oriented towards generic jobs, apprenticeships are meant for job experience in specific sectors, for example, cybersecurity administrators, electricians, or people studying medicine or healthcare.

Apprenticeships in higher education

Why should, then, apprenticeships be used in higher education? Well, first, let us analyse the example of German-speaking European countries. For instance, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have established degree courses where the academic theoretical part is combined with specific on-camp job experiences. Throughout decades the outcomes of these practical degree courses have shown that this model works perfectly, especially for young adults who are oriented towards more practical subjects. 

The delivery method

Secondly, let us focus on the delivery method of classical academic lectures. Usually, this method includes a content-first approach. Decades of research in didactics and pedagogy have proven that this ages-old method is ineffective and unmotivating to the students. Moreover, some sectors specifically require educational credentials. Educational credentials are usually degrees and certificates, and they are needed, together with working experience, for jobs belonging to specific industries such as business, information technology, healthcare, manufacturing

ACS – ASOMI College of Sciences is specialized in academic teaching as well as in developing and delivering training that corresponds to the necessities of regional and international employers and provides students with specific training and valuable credentials

Apprenticeships: other benefits

Apprenticeships equip apprentices with work experience and skills needed for jobs in industries that require hands-on approaches. Apprenticeships have higher graduation rates than ordinary academic degrees, such as the so-called undergraduate and bachelor’s degrees. Students who have chosen to do an internship are more financially independent. This is thanks to the fact that apprentices typically get paid for their job. Apprenticeships are helpful to employers who often find young graduates willing but unable to work – nevertheless, their degree(s), the fresh graduates are often unprepared. This problem can be easily solved by encouraging the spread of apprenticeships at universities and colleges. Moreover, by introducing apprenticeships, universities and colleges benefit from a network with new partners and stakeholders

In other words

Apprenticeships have a lot of positive sides, and they are the solution to the changing work market. Although they might differ from internships, apprenticeships are still profitable for all the parties involved: students, employers and higher education institutions.

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