How can companies be convinced to engage in dual VET? While in established dual VET systems, the business sector is in the driving seat, in many other countries this is not (yet) the case. To convince the business sector to engage (stronger) in VET, one needs to understand how companies make their decisions. Worldwide, companies are typically for-profit organizations, they first of all think in terms of costs and benefits. However, related to dual VET, they tend to see the costs only and are often overlooking the productive contribution of apprentices – a contribution that is considerable and growing with time and learning. Visualizing costs and benefits of dual VET helps companies to better understand them both, in the short and long run – and this is what cost-benefit analyses do. They illustrate if (evaluations) or when (simulations) benefits exceed costs. Depending on the specific context this might already happen during the apprenticeship (in the short run) or after (in the long run). The below graphs illustrate the generic model and elements of costs-benefits analyses. To understand how the situation looks like in a specific context, data from companies in the respective country need to be collected.
There are different types of cost-benefits studies. Basically, it can be differentiated between three types:
- Evaluations: Evaluations provide a precise picture on actual costs and benefits of existing programs. However, for this, the companies need to fill in an extensive questionnaire. As a result, data collection is often highly challenging, especially in contexts where companies are not used to provide such (sensible) information.
- Simulations: Simulations are used to see if the dual VET in an occupation or country where it does not exist yet could work from a cost benefit perspective. For this, data from the local context (e.g., wage data from public statistics and information about hiring costs) are combined with assumptions from dual systems (e.g. productivity of apprentices etc).
- Projections: Projections are suitable if a project has already started but there are no graduates yet, so in situations where real costs cannot yet be assessed but one would still already like to know more about the cost-benefit situation of the given approach. This approach is much less common than evaluations and simulations.
For all types of analyses, the questionnaires and resources from Switzerland and Germany can be taken as references and adapted to the respective context. As all approaches require substantial time and resources it is important to carefully assess the which of the methods, if any, is suitable in the specific context. In addition, it is important to assess whether a cost benefit analysis is really the best means to answer the burning questions in a given context – costs are not always the main reason why companies do not engage in training, other frame conditions may be more important.
For more in-depth presentation of the above is provided by the DC dVET collaborator Dr. Katharina Jaik:
For further information on the topic consult our various resources and/or contact us directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).