Workplace-based learning is a supply-side approach to youth employment that includes practical or on-the-job training that is usually provided through an apprenticeship, internship, learnership , work placement or other practical training component of a vocational education or training programme. For the workplace-based learning approach to be effective, it requires collaboration among those who provide skills training and those who employ skilled young workers. Linkages between training providers and the private sector must be established or strengthened, and better coordinated so that there can be some alignment between the demand for and supply of skills.
- The primary conduits for workplace-based learning in Africa are: (1) technical and vocational education (TVET) provided or regulated by national governments, (2) informal or traditional apprenticeships, and (3) donor-funded skills development programmes that have a component of on-the-job training.
- These conduits for workplace-based learning co-exist and the literature does not regard them as substitutes or complements.
- There is broad consensus that there are fewer opportunities for TVET and that the informal or traditional apprenticeships are the main source of workplace-based learning for young people in Africa (Adams et al., 2013; Fox & Filmer, 2014).
- There is little difference on how TVET operates across middle-income and low-income countries. TVET is available in most African countries and is regulated and provided through the public sector, although the role of private sector TVET providers is growing (Akoojee, 2016).
- TVET is underfunded and is a low priority for African governments as they are hampered by the poor quality of training facilities, trainers, equipment and curricula (Andreoni, 2018; Leyaro & Joseph, 2019; Oviawe, 2018; Sorensen et al., 2017).
- Improving general secondary education, investment to improve curricula and infrastructure weaknesses among TVET providers, capacity building to address the shortcomings in the public institutions and enhancing the capacity insitutions for regulating and coordinating TVET are some approaches to improve TVET in Africa.
- There is little difference in the informal or traditional apprenticeship system across middle-income and low-income countries. Similar capacity constraints and gender biases affect the system and the same types of
trades emerge in range of African countries, regardless of wealth.
- TVET and informal apprenticeships are not accessible to women (Filmer & Fox, 2014) and their participation is skewed to female-associated trades such as hairdressing, tailoring and beauty services
- Education is the primary barrier for young people in lower socio-economic categories to enter TVET or informal apprecticeship (Adams et al., 2013; Filmer & Fox, 2014; Sorensen et al., 2017)
- Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) emerge as an option for funding workplace-based learning. These PPPs should be expanded to increase the scope of workplace-based learning, and facilitate linkages between the supply of and demand for skills (Andreoni, 2018; Sorensen et al., 2017).