The provision of skilled labour to a local labour market : a study of recruitment, training and associated matters in apprenticeships in Coventry, with an investigation into factors defining and influencing success in skills training, and making comparisons in certain respects with trainees on matched courses in the training opportunities scheme
The Dissertation compares characteristics, attitudes and perceptions of samples of young persons (Y.P.'S) in training for skilled work (designated Apprentices) and of TOPS Trainees, matched as far as possible in occupational goals. Attitudes and practices of Employers, Teachers, Instructors, Trade Union Officials and Employers' Organisations concerning recruitment and training for skills, and to related issues, are surveyed using data from questionnaires and interviews. "Success scores" are calculated for each Apprentice, and variables affecting the score are examined for significance. The Coventry Apprentice resembles earlier examples and is more motivated, ambitious, self-confident and educated than the average Trainee, whose competence is poorly valued by employers except in non-manual skills. Selection strategies prior to apprenticeship are unsophisticated. The smaller firm is characteristic of Coventry but large firms provide most training, typically job-specific and limited to basic qualifications. Employers are conservative, cautious, insufficiently knowledgeable about Trainees and less sympathetic to Y.P.'s than local Union leadership, which is attitudinally pragmatic, non-interventionist and "traditional". Further Education Teachers are efficient, demand-responsive and esteemed, but are less confident and sensitive than many Instructors. The market achieves equilibrium mainly between availability on the Supply side and short-term considerations based on profitability on the Demand side. Success in Apprenticeship is measurable using relatively objective criteria of Performance on and off the job, Job History and Character/Work Orientation, comprising scores for Ambition, Motivation and Job-satisfaction, or by the subjective criterion of Potential. These criteria can be used singly or together, preferably combining the objective and subjective. Sex, age and year of recruitment have little Influence on Success, unlike systematic training, character traits and the degree of support from the employer. Size of firm has more influence on attitudes, strategies and results than has sectoral activity. Relatively small changes in recruitment and training methods would make the Coventry skilled labour market Immediately more effective, but reform depends on overcoming deeply entrenched opinions.