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How you value shapes whom you value: The contribution of apprenticeships to sustainable development goals

Julia Brandl, Laverne Iminza Chore & Mario Junker (2024)

German Journal of Human Resource Management, Online first, open access

Abstract. Apprenticeships are crucial in the ILO’s decent work agenda and align with sustainable development goals. While existing scholarship underscores the relevance of specific programme features for stakeholders’ outcomes, scant attention has been paid to the HR actors’ agency in shaping the programmes. Our process study delves into a customised apprenticeship programme for temporary workers in an Austrian manufacturing firm, aiming to uncover how HR actors influence apprenticeship outcomes. Adopting a convention theory approach, we examine HR actors’ evaluations during the programmes’ realisation and their implications for consolidation or conversion of programme features. The findings reveal a range of gains and unfulfilled aspirations, particularly for employee representatives. We attribute these outcomes to HR actors’ commitment to convention-based practices, which are more salient during the recruitment and training phase than after the exam. We conclude that how HR actors value apprenticeship shapes for whom an apprenticeship programme is valuable.

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