Financial attributes are potentially important influences on the viability of apprenticeship as a mode of vocational education and training. Two financial aspects are considered: apprentices’ pay, which determines the division of training costs between the trainee and the employer; and corporate ownership, which may influence the incentive
to employers to provide training, insofar as it promotes or deters short-termist practice concerning investment in employees’ skills.
Evidence is taken from fieldwork interviews with senior managers in 56 companies, spread across two sectors (metalworking, retailing) in three countries (Germany, Britain, Switzerland). The companies are matched by products and technologies, differentiated by bargaining status and type of ownership.
The importance of apprenticeship relative to recruitment as a source of skills is found to vary greatly across companies. The pay of apprentices differs markedly between
countries (highest in Britain, lowest in Switzerland) in association with the attributes of labour markets, trade unionism, and education systems. Listing on a stock market
and having dispersed ownership are associated with more frequent financial upheaval and a lower training effort than are other ownership types.