Embedded flexibilization and polite employer domination: the case of short‐track apprenticeships in Switzerland
Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training
Liberalization pressures challenge countries to adapt their training systems. This is particularly relevant for coordinated market economies with firm-driven but collectively governed apprenticeship systems. Recent literature has identified different liberalization trajectories for these countries. For instance, segmental-ism describes the increasing influence of large employers in Germany. In Denmark, state agencies manage increased flexibility in training through embedded flexibilization. In this paper, we identify a new form of embedded flexibilization, characterized by polite employer domination. We find this trajectory of liberali-zation in Switzerland, which represents another training system heavily based on firm involvement. We illustrate our argument at the example of short-track apprenticeship training, which has been expanded in all three mentioned countries in response to ongoing liberalization and deindustrialization pressures. In Swit-zerland, the relevant reform was initiated by the state while business adopted a rather passive role initially. Yet, state actors eventually stepped back and dele-gated key competences to employers, which implies that the employers’ camp asserted their interests in the end while tolerating some concessions for the bene-fit of disadvantaged groups. Our process tracing reveals that policy makers used layering to implement short-tracks that enhance social inclusion, while simultaneously increasing the scope of employer cooperation.
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SEPS - Global Democratic Governance