Apprenticeship Data Review: UK, France and USA
Why are apprenticeship contracts different now than in the past? There are differences in the average pay of French and English apprentices. Some of the difference is age, not just wage. Older students are denied training opportunities in the U.K., I respectfully submit. A new model may be in order for the English and the French — the emerging American apprenticeship model.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every $1 the government invests in formal apprenticeship training programs, it receives $100 in taxes in return from the wages of working apprentices. Apprenticeship programs are run by both the public and private sectors. Apprenticeship sponsors, who are employers, trade associations and labor-management groups, register programs with federal and state government agencies. Sponsors furnish on-the-job learning and academic instruction to apprentices according to their industry standards and licensing requirements. This paper addresses the following research questions: Why are apprenticehip contracts different now than in the past? Will government investment in apprenticeships help change this?
Why are apprenticeship contracts different now than in the past? There are differences in the average pay of French and English apprentices. Some of the difference is age, not just wage. But a lot of the difference is training, I respectfully submit. A new model may be in order for the English and the French — the emerging American apprenticeship model. The French seem to hae already embraced this by giving tax credits to employers who hire apprentices.
The French Model
On January 18, 2005, then President Jacques Chirac announced a new law on a programme for social cohesion comprising the three pillars: employment, housing and equal opportunity. The French government vowed to further develop apprenticeship as a route to success at school and to employment. This has been a huge success: In 2005, 80% of young French people who had completed an apprenticeship entered employment. In France, the term apprenticeship often suggests manual labor, but it also include other jobs like secretary, manager, engineer, shop assistant in a manufacturing plant. The plan aimed to raise the number of apprentices from 365,000 in 2005 to 500,000 in 2009. To achieve this aim, the government is, for example, granting tax relief for companies when they take on apprentices. This is a reversal: Since 1925 a tax has been levied to pay for apprenticeships. The minister in charge of the campaign, Jean-Louis Borloo, also hoped to improve the image of apprenticeships with an information campaign, as they are often connected with academic failure at school. After the civil unrest end of 2005, the government, led by prime minister Dominique de Villepin, debuted a new law. Named “law on equality of chances,” it created the First Employment Contract as well as manual apprenticeship from as early as 14 years of age. From this early age, students are allowed to quit the compulsory school system and learn a vocation. This measure has long been a policy of conservative French political parties.
French Employment Contracts for Apprentices: 2005
The U.K. Model
Employers who offer apprenticeship places generally have an employment contract with their apprentices, but off-the-job training and assessment is completely funded by the state for apprentices aged between 16 and 18. In England, the government only contributes 50% of the cost of training for apprentices aged 19 and over. So advancing in age in the U.K. means the likelihood of not getting a good wage — or an employment contract. Tax incentives like those in France and increased spending like that which is seen in the U.S. are needed to revitalize the U.K. apprenticeship model.
Age/Wage Discrimination in the U.K.
What the U.K. And France Can Learn from America.
Per the U.S. Department of Labor, for every $1 the government invests in formal apprenticeship training programs, it receives $100 in taxes in return from the wages of working apprentices. Apprenticeship programs are operated by both the public and private sectors. Apprenticeship sponsors, who are employers, trade associations and labor-management groups, formally register programs with federal and state government agencies. Sponsors then furnish on-the-job learning and academic instruction to apprentices according to their industry standards and licensing requirements. This paper addresses the research question: Will an increase in government investment in apprenticeships boost tax revenues (and wages) further? My conclusion: Yes. My recommendation: The governments in France, The U.K. And the U.S.A. should quadruple the amount invested in apprenticeships over the coming fiscal year. Since every one dollar invested in apprenticeships yields $100 in tax revenue, in the U.S.A., this small percentage increase in overall investment in all three target countries will yield $8.4 billion in tax revenues, substantially enhancing job opportunities in the U.S. Given that the economies of the U.K., France and the U.S.A., are substantially similar in that they are mature economies, tax revenue growth is likely from increased government spending on apprenticeships. So is job growth. The following statistics, presented in chart form, help explain the rationale for this hypothesis and tentative conclusion.
Program Dividends: Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Apprentices and Participation Trends: Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Operation of Apprenticeship Programs: Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Public-Private Investment and Partnerships: Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Apprenticeship is a formal system of training a new generation of practitioners of a skill. Back in the late middle ages and early Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo began their careers as proteges, rising from these apprenticeships to become leaders in their respective fields. Most apprenticeship training is done while working for an employer who assists the apprentices in learning their new trade, in exchange for their continuing labor for an agreed period after they become skilled workers. Theoretical education is also involved by attending vocational schools while still being paid by the employer.
Apprenticeships first developed in the late Middle Ages and came to be controlled by craft guilds. A master craftsman was allowed to employ young people as a form of cheap labor in exchange for providing food, lodging and formal training in the trade. Trades included the occupations of tailor, cordwainer, baker and even stationer, or printer. Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, apprenticed as a printer. Apprentices generally began their training at ten to fifteen years of age, and would reside with the master craftsman. Generally, apprentices aspired to becoming master craftsmen themselves upon completion of their contract, often a term of seven years, but many would spend time as a journeyman, or as advanced assistants. The following chart shows how difficult life was for a French or English speaking apprentice in Montreal in the 19th Century.
Apprentice: 323 legend
Dataset consists of contracts signed between apprentices and masters in Montreal. Each row consists of the information from one contract. The contracts involve boys indented to master craftsmen between 1800 and 1839. N = 2286.
For more information on apprentice contracts from Montreal, see Hamilton JEH 2000.
Datloc Unique # for each contract
Notary 1 to 73: each # indicates a different notary
Cday, cmo, cyear Day month & year contract was drawn up
Clang Language of document: 0 = French, 1 =
Wage Age of worker, in years
Wfrli, Mfrli Ethnicity of last name for worker (W) & master (M): 1 if name is French, 0 otherwise
Dummy = 1 if the person can sign their name
(vs. just making an X), 0 otherwise. W =
worker (apprentice), M = master, S1 =
sponsor (usually parent)
Probi Dummy = 1 if there was a probation
(worked together before drawing up a contract)
probyr Length of probation, in years (for contracts with probations); zero otherwise
Cdur Duration of the apprentice contract, in years
Tdur Duration of the apprenticeship (cdur +
Annuli 1 if the contract was annulled (not completed), 0 otherwise
Annuld Day contract was annulled (0 if not annulled;
99 if annulled but day not known),
Annulm Month annulment occurred (0 if not annulled; 99 if annulled but month not known), otherwise 1?12
Annuly Year annulment occurred (0 if not annulled;
99 if annulled but year not known),
Tenure Length of apprenticeship served (= tdur if no annulment; = probyr + time served if annulled)
Nayrhire Number of active apprentice contracts held by master in the year the Mparti 1 if master had a partner, 0 otherwise
Craft1 Master’s trade (group codings): in words
Craftx Numeric code for different group codings of the Master’s craft: 1 = shoemaker, 2 =
saddler or tanner, 3 = furniture maker or carpenter, 4 = cooper, 5 = mason etc. 12 =
bookprin = book maker, printer; 13 =
miscraft = miscellaneous crafts; 16 =
smithcoa = blacksmith or coachmaker; 7 =
furhat = furrier or hatter.
School 1 if apprentice was to receive extra schooling (e.g. night school or learning to read/write), 0 otherwise
Regili 1 if apprentice was to be allowed time to ‘follow his religion’, 0 otherwise
Payflati 1 if pay was the same…