Perspectives of Young People Enrolled in Apprenticeship Courses in Portugal About Learning in Work Contexts

Alexandra Oliveira Doroftei, Sofia Marques da Silva, Helena C. Araújo


This paper is grounded in a research project about apprenticeship courses in Portugal. The analysis conducted aims to grasp whether on-the-job learning might constitute an advantage to apprenticeship courses that could contribute to improving the social image of initial vocational education and training (IVET) in Portugal. We want to understand the matter from the standpoints of young apprentices, focusing on their experiences with on-the-job training. The results were analysed within the expansive−restrictive continuum of Fuller and Unwin (2003), adapted to the Portuguese context. The project uses a mixed methods research design. A survey was conducted and semi-structured interviews were held with young apprentices. The survey was carried out online across the nation and resulted in 620 valid and relevant responses. The interviewed apprentices (54) were enrolled at nine training centres near Porto, Northern Portugal. Appraisals in the survey of the work-context training component of the apprenticeship courses were mainly positive. Nonetheless, data from the interviews revealed both expansive and restrictive features of workplaces that influenced learning outcomes. While apprenticeship courses have existed in Portugal for a long time (34 years), the cultural change to employers' views regarding work-based training can be considered to be still in progress. The results of the study support both the perspective that there is still a lot to put in place in order to change the social image of apprenticeship courses and IVET in Portugal through work-context training and also the idea that several ongoing changes are promising.

Klíčová slova

IVET; apprenticeship courses; Portugal; work-context training; expansive-restrictive learning

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