Apprenticeship systems are characterized by a high degree of involvement of social partners at all system levels in the management and development of the system. Social partners are typically involved in such as definition of standards, curriculum development, quality assurance and funding. Their role is central to ensuring that the training content and learning outcomes correspond to the requirements of the labour market and this enables a smooth transition to the labour market.
Companies constitute the core of apprenticeship systems, as the major part of an apprentice’ training occurs in a company supported by apprenticeship training agreements and in-company trainers. Apprenticeship companies typically have to be approved as training and learning venue to ensure that they live up to specific standards in terms of learning as well as work and salary conditions. At times companies can be so specialised so that they cannot cover all the learning outcomes. In some systems two or more companies may in that case jointly offer an apprentice place.