Promoting apprentices' professional development: integrating formal and informal learning, HRM and learning goal orientation in promoting apprentices' competencies

Pirrioni, S., 2018. Promoting apprentices' professional development: integrating formal and informal learning, HRM and learning goal orientation in promoting apprentices' competencies. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Whilst apprenticeships are gaining momentum in the UK with extensive resources directed to the programme, knowledge on the factors contributing to apprentices' professional development in the workplace is still limited. This research addresses this gap by introducing an organizational perspective that integrates the formal learning, informal learning and HRM literatures. In doing so, this study advances a holistic approach to apprenticeships.

Turning the focus to the work environment as enabler of apprentices' competence development, this study seeks to achieve two main objectives. Firstly, to develop and empirically test an apprenticeship development model that relates formal and informal learning factors to apprentices' competencies. Secondly, to investigate whether important boundary conditions such as the HRM system at contextual level and learning goal orientation at individual level influence apprentices' professional development.

To this end, the research presents a cross-sectional and a longitudinal study complemented by qualitative data on a sample of 233 apprentices operating in the engineering sector in England. The results evidence the factors that organisations can leverage to promote apprentices' development by means of formal and informal learning. Concerning the former, transfer design and supervisor support are critical for enabling apprentices to transfer the knowledge acquired at college and university to the workplace improving performance. Regarding the latter, challenging experiences in supportive environments, providing regular feedback, adequate task autonomy and task interdependence contribute to the development of critical competencies.

Additionally, identifying the high-commitment HR system as the strategy for managing the employment relationship with apprentices, the study provides novel insight into the influence of HRM in apprenticeship. In finding performance appraisal to moderate the relationship between critical informal learning factors and performance, the study underscores the importance of appraisal satisfaction in fostering engagement with informal learning and elucidates how appropriate HR practices can promote successful apprenticeships. Furthermore, the study evidences how apprentices with stronger learning orientations achieve higher levels of competence, explaining why individuals engage differently with the learning opportunities provided in the immediate work environment. Practical implications are discussed drawing attention to the role of line managers for securing effective apprenticeships.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Pirrioni, S.
Date: October 2018
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 04 Jun 2019 10:09
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 10:09

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