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ERIC Number: ED527157
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 55
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-9219-5556-3
Understanding the Psychological Contract in Apprenticeships and Traineeships to Improve Retention. Research Report
Smith, Erica; Walker, Arlene; Kemmis, Ros Brennan
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
Attrition in apprenticeships and traineeships is an ongoing concern for employers and government alike, with completion standing at around 50% on average. One possible explanation for this high attrition rate is that there is a mismatch between the respective expectations of apprentices/trainees and employers. This research uses the concept of the psychological contract, that is, the perceived mutual obligations between employers and employees of themselves and each other, to test this explanation. Findings include: (1) Expectations in apprentice and trainee employment arrangements are similar in most respects to that of other employment relationships; (2) Mismatched perceptions of the other parties' obligations are not a major issue, but there are differences in the perceptions of the extent to which obligations are being met; (3) Both parties consider the provision of training as the employers' most important obligation, but apprentices and trainees perceive that employers do not always deliver on their training obligations. Specific discrepancies were noted in relation to apprentices and trainees wanting a specific time for training and a wider range of training methods; (4) Apprentices who have completed pre-apprenticeships and apprentices and trainees employed by group training organisations have lower expectations and are relatively more satisfied; and (5) While a mismatch of expectations is not a key factor behind high attrition, the study suggests employers should ensure they have appropriate systems for managing apprentices and trainees across all age ranges and for communicating mutual expectations to all parties. Appended are: (1) Data tables; and (2) Methodology. (Contains 19 tables and 1 figure.)
National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. P.O. Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61-8-230-8400; Fax: +61-8-212-3436; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Authoring Institution: National Centre for Vocational Education Research
Identifiers - Location: Australia