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The Irish and the Japanese Apprenticeship systems: A comparative study

Thoma, B (2016) The Irish and the Japanese Apprenticeship systems: A comparative study. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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The benefits of vocational education and, more specifically, the apprentice paradigm for the individual, the employer and for society as a whole have been accepted widely across many nations. These benefits have been delivered through a structured apprenticeship which has persisted for centuries, evolving from the early Guild system of indentured apprenticeship to the modern apprenticeship models operating in Japan and Ireland, on which this study has focused. This research examines the mechanics of the apprenticeship model in Japan and in Ireland, charting and analysing how both systems have evolved and adapted to economic, political and cultural challenges, exploring how both systems have responded in very different ways with some parallel outcomes. The five themes explored in this research emerged from an initial literature review of the topic, these themes are echoed throughout the various chapters to offer a multi-dimensional examination of the apprenticeship model. These themes frame the key areas of investigation explored through interviews which were conducted in both Japan and Ireland. The volume of extant research conducted on apprenticeship in each country was found to be surprisingly low, considering the long tradition of these august systems in both Ireland and Japan. A mix of documentary research and qualitative semi-structured interviews were employed to fully examine the paradigm of apprenticeship from an objective macro policy viewpoint down to the micro level narrative of those who had direct experience with the apprenticeship model. The sample consisted of educators, apprentices, Master crafts people and industry representatives to reflect the variance of views and experience of the actors involved in the delivery of apprenticeship. The main findings of the research demonstrated that the structure of the apprenticeship paradigm was not a formidable, durable, monolith which could weather the unrelenting march of progress through future generations, but, rather, the research revealed a delicate and fragile lacework of stakeholders, each of whom contributed to the overall form and shape of a training system embedded in societies who’s confidence in vocational education has changed quickly and without warning as the winds of fortune and taste have changed. The recommendations outlined offer a potential new model of apprenticeship which reinforces the view that this important form of education requires careful and constant curation through strong stewardship built on uncompromising quality assurance. Apprenticeship can only exist with an active public appreciation of the tangible historical value of past practices which can incubate the development of the highest levels of craft skills that the apprenticeship model can deliver to a nation. In this way the potential economic value of an idealized apprenticeship model can be realized to the benefit of the apprentice, employer and to society for centuries to come.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Apprenticeship; Japan; Ireland; Vocational Education; Industrial Training; VET; Vocational Educational Training; Japanese Apprenticeship; Irish Apprenticeship
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Divisions: Education
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 13:09
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2022 11:20
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00005247
Supervisors: Brundrett, MB
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5247
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