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Skilling up: The scope of modern apprenticeship

For those of us who developed the concepts and collected the colorful vignettes and chapters included here, the collection represents a treasure trove of knowledge and experiences for employers, educators, parents, policymakers, and others seeking to understand and use modern apprenticeships. This collection offers a chorus of voices emanating from different countries and populations, echoing commitment to bright, sustainable workforce futures through a well-crafted approach to this talent development model. The collection answers questions posed to us over several years by businesses of all sizes, community-based organizations, and schools looking for a way to build strong pipelines of skilled labor, stimulate economies in struggling regions, provide options for adults seeking career changes, and stimulate engagement for students filled with curiosity about the promise of work-based learning. We endeavored to shatter myths, remove barriers, and erase fears of attempting apprenticeship, particularly for small and medium-size businesses and parents who are naturally concerned about meaningful and gainful career choices for their children. This reader intends to show the possibilities modern apprenticeship affords contemporary societies and to inspire many to reframe the boundaries of traditional thinking. Policymaking can be an important precursor to disrupting well-established societal norms but cannot make any significant impact without the passion and commitment of the people it touches. Many of the chapters and vignettes are emblematic of this process. As articulated throughout the reader, policymakers are offering up legislation and initiatives to generate interest and facilitate the implementation of modern apprenticeship programs. But modern apprenticeship is mainly picking up steam because of the evolutionary employers and apprentices who embrace, engage, and enjoy the work they do. The vignettes, in particular, drive the argument that middle- and high-skill apprenticeships present opportunities that defy the concept of traditional apprenticeships and further fuel innovation. From beekeepers whose scientific techniques protect our food supply, to mental health practitioners serving remote indigenous communities in need of essential services, to veterans finding meaningful employment in agricultural science and environmental preservation, to diverse young people working in the oil and gas industry, all are modern apprenticeships destined to shatter myths and beg replication.