Someone Like Us: Trades identities and support for work/learning

Chris Holland


This paper reflects on specific findings from a 2009 study of on and off-job learning that explored apprentices’ learning experiences, formal and informal learning connections, and implications for language, literacy and numeracy in vocational learning. The study was conducted in the glazing industry in New Zealandi, and as part of that study, apprentice profiles were developed. This discussion focuses on three of those profiles and reflects on two emerging themes. The first theme is employer and apprentice perceptions of the value of apprentices coming from a ‘trades family’. The second theme is the range of inclusions and exclusions, advantages and disadvantages that apprentices experience depending on their ‘trades family’ status in both on and off-job learning. The paper then considers what kind of learning support might help integrate the different identities required within an apprenticeship.

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