Apprenticeship systems are characterized by a shared responsibility for development and management of the system. The nature of cooperation and the division of roles and responsibilities at all system levels is stipulated in the legislative framework that governs an apprenticeship system. How the shared responsibility in practice occurs and is divided between different systems actors vary from country to country. The shared responsibility has the advantage of consensus building and costs sharing, which is critical to ensuring a dynamic system serving labour market needs and students.
Competent bodies have different tasks and responsibilities for steering and ensuring quality in dual VET systems. These tasks include a. o. developing training regulations, supporting training companies, and recording statistics. The term “Competent Bodies” is used differently in the five countries. Government assigns specific tasks to agencies or stakeholders of the system following legal regulations and practices. The institutional settings and the scope of the responsibilities of those agencies vary among the different systems.
A consistent legal and strong institutional framework is a key feature in countries with mature apprenticeship systems. The legislative framework clearly spells out the objectives of the system and defines the division of roles and responsibilities of key actors. It may also set rules for interaction and cooperation and regulate the division between company-based training and school-based training.
Apprenticeship systems are market driven and demand led. Monitoring of the system therefore plays an important role in ensuring its dynamism, which builds on matching supply and demand. The social partners play an active role in monitoring developments. A range of different actors including social partners, universities, consultancies and the government undertake research and studies, which feed into the development and management of the system.