Across Europe, there are large disparities in the number of apprenticeship placements offered to students in professional higher education (PHE). Concerning placements provided by SMEs, several barriers arise, in particular, that:
- SMEs may not have the structures in place to take on apprentices,
- The value proposition is not always clear for the SMEs,
- PHE institutions are not always suited to mass-market their supply of students for placements and operate them at a scale with large numbers of SMEs.
To this end, the SAPS project has the aim of:
- improving the perception of SMEs of the benefits of engaging apprentices from PHE institutions,
- lowering the barriers to cooperation between PHE institutions and SMEs,
- establishing more regular and structured cooperation between the umbrella organisations for PHE (EURASHE members) and organisations representing SMEs.
SAPS is tackling these barriers through a two-pronged approach. The first is to bring European experts in managing apprenticeships together to develop teaching & learning materials for SMEs while at the same time improving the procedures of PHE institutions to make them more open to apprenticeships. To this end, the project will:
- develop a toolkit for SMEs, including on collaborating with PHE institutions, on-boarding apprentices and deriving value out of apprentice placements,
- create quality guidelines for PHE institutions offering apprenticeships to SMEs, covering the areas of governance & strategy, teaching & learning, and operations.