Varieties of institutional renewal: The case of apprenticeship in the US, England, and Australia

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This study analyses attempts to renew apprenticeship over the last three decades in three liberal market economies—US, England, and Australia. We conceptualise institutional renewal as entailing both revival, or growth in apprentice starts, and extension, or widening its occupational base. The paper contributes to the literature by considering reasons for the attempted renewal and offering an assessment of the outcomes of renewal. It also contributes to research at the intersection of institutional and comparative training literature by developing the concept of institutional renewal and applying it to apprenticeship. It is concluded that in quantitative terms renewal had some success in England and Australia, but the effect of intervention is more uncertain in the US. The paper also identifies a paradox that policies to promote apprenticeships have undermined the quality of training in England and Australia, leading to questions about the sustainability of renewal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-94
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Vocational Education and Training
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Apprenticeship
  • comparative VET
  • institutional renewal
  • liberal market economies
  • vocational education and training (VET)


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