chapter  9
16 Pages

The persistence of apprenticeship in Britain and its decline in the United States

Apprenticeship institutions today play a far greater role in many other advanced economies than they do in the United States. In the United States apprenticeship accounts for just 0.3 per cent of civilian employment, most apprentices being found in the building trades. Yet even most US building tradesmen acquire their skills informally, rather than through apprenticeship. By contrast, in Britain and in the Commonwealth countries of Australia and New Zealand, apprenticeship accounts for 1.9 to 2.7 per cent of civilian employment, and is the principal means of training for skilled manual trades. Apprenticeship is most extensive in West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where it occupies 5 to 6 per cent of civilian employees and one-third to one-half of persons aged 15-18. In these Germanspeaking countries the vast majority of skilled persons in subprofessional occupations have completed an apprenticeship.1