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Why apprenticeships are a ‘win-win’ for companies and employees

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By Amar Toor
Digital Communications Officer, Directorate for Education and Skills

As the founder and executive director of the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN), Shea Gopaul spends a lot of her time thinking about the future of work. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and emerging technologies have dramatically altered the skill sets that employers seek today, and the career paths for young adults today look increasingly unclear. But Gopaul thinks apprenticeships can help – both for recent graduates who may be unsure of their next steps, as well as older adults looking to adapt their skill sets to a fast-changing market.

We sat down with Gopaul at the OECD Forum earlier this year to learn more about how apprenticeships can bridge the “skills gap”, and why effective apprenticeship programmes are a “win-win” for both companies and employees.


Apprenticeship is an attractive form of educating young people and preparing them for the labour market, and many countries have been …

Higher education and the “new model of learning”

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By Amar Toor
Communications and Digital Officer, Directorate for Education and Skills


In an article published in 2017, University of Sydney economics professor Colm Harmon argues that the challenge facing today’s university students is one of “ambiguity”.

“They have more options on many fronts, but face a world that is closing in around them,” Harmon writes. “They have accepted that they will perhaps have more than one career, and that they may be training for a type of work that could be jilted out of existence at any point by the forces of globalisation and technology.”

Harmon, who is also Vice Provost at the University of Sydney, acknowledges that it’s difficult to predict how future graduates will navigate this new world, or how institutions of higher education will evolve in response to it. But in an interview on the sidelines of the OECD Forum, he shared his thoughts about what he envisions as a “new model of learning” – one in which institutions take “a long-term stake in their …

Being good at maths could be good for your health

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By Nicolas Jonas
Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Photo credit: Roman Mager/Unsplash
The Survey of Adult Skills, part of the OECD’s Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), is a key source of information on adults’ proficiency in the information-processing skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies – including numeracy skills. PIAAC data reveal large disparities in numeracy proficiency not only across countries, but between different adult subgroups within countries, as well. Poor numeracy has detrimental effects in many aspects of life, as adults must be able to use numeracy skills in many professional and everyday situations – for example when making decisions, dealing with numerical information, or trying to assess the relevance of figures.

A new OECD working paper analyses data from the Survey of Adult Skills to identify the links between adult proficiency in numeracy and the intensity of numeracy use in everyd…

How can teaching standards improve teaching?

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By Nóra Révai
Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills


Photo credit: Nam Hoang/Unsplash
When I started teaching English in my native Hungary, I was excited, confident, and maybe a bit nervous, about managing a group of students and helping them grow. My first year went well: I established good relationships, my students were actively engaged in their learning, and they made huge progress. A year later, however, I taught my first class in mathematics, and the experience was entirely different. The class was often a mess, my students were disengaged, and I felt helpless. I was still the same teacher, so why were the two experiences so different? Or, to put it more broadly, what makes good teaching?

We can all probably agree that teachers must be capable of planning a lesson and managing a classroom. They also need to use teaching methods that facilitate learning and allow every student to grow. And to do that, they need to know how students learn. Some of this knowledge can be a…

The economic value of higher education

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By Marie-Hélene Doumet
Senior Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Photo credit: Vasily Koloda/Unsplash
Tertiary education has seen spectacular growth since the beginning of the 21st century: on average across OECD countries, 43% of 25-34 year-olds had a tertiary degree in 2016, compared to 26% in 2000. In Canada and Korea, more than 60% of young adults now hold this level of qualification. This marked increase has largely been fueled by the promise of favourable job prospects: better employment opportunities, career progression, and higher earnings have led many to believe that higher education is the best road for a brighter future. But as the number of tertiary graduates increases each year, is having a degree still a competitive advantage?

This month’s Education Indicators in Focus brief investigates the earnings advantage that tertiary-educated workers have over their upper-secondary peers, and how earnings advantage has evolved over generations. On average across OEC…

What World Cup fever (and sports in general) can do for students’ well-being

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By Judit Pál
Statistician, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Photo credit: Markus Spiske/Unsplash
Cheering for our favourite teams during the World Cup may help create a sense of community and encourage children to be more involved in sports. But when the tournament is over, will kids still be inspired to kick around a football or run around a field? Let’s hope so, because there is wide-ranging, cross-country evidence that more physically active students feel better.

This month’s PISA in Focus discusses how students’ participation in sports activities is related to several aspects of student well-being and academic performance. The analysis, based on data from 54 countries, finds that about 89% of 15-year-old students engage in moderate physical activity outside of school at least once a week – that is, activity that raises students’ heart rate and causes them to sweat (such as walking, climbing stairs, riding a bike to school) for at least 60 minutes per day. But only 52% of st…

Students need good career guidance, and here’s how schools can give it

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By Pauline Musset
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills



Choosing anything is hard, especially when your decision might have long-term consequences for your life. A new OECD research paper looks at career decisions and career guidance. Based on 2015 PISA data, it shows that most 15-year-olds already have career plans: only around 15% of them have not decided what they want to do. But the data show that today’s teenagers aren’t very imaginative when it comes to their expected working life. Almost one in ten wants to be a medical doctor; one in three cited one of just ten jobs.

The ways in which young people think about jobs and careers, the study shows, are highly shaped by parental influence, social background and sense of identity. The paper highlights new analysis which shows, for example, that disadvantaged students are significantly less likely to want to work as professionals than their more advantaged peers – even after statistical controls are put in place for academic ab…