Ellen Vanderhoven


ORCID iDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7373-1275

Research title: Dual apprenticeships in Mexico

Research Summary



Investigating Dual Apprenticeship policy transfer: a study of young people’s transitions through the Modelo Méxicano de Formación Dual (MMFD)


Aims and research questions

Dual Apprenticeships (DAs) combine school-based learning with structured on-the-job training, leading to vocational qualifications. This model has proven successful in Germanic countries and as a result many middle-income countries, including Mexico, have chosen to adopt DAs. In Mexico, the adopted version of the DA model is known as the Modelo Mexicano de Formación Dual (MMFD). However, policy transfer across different political, economic and social contexts requires thoughtful interrogation of altered concepts, implementation and effects. Framing Mexico as a DA policy recipient, this research investigates: How do variations and similarities in structural and individual contexts in which Mexican apprentices live mediate their experiences of and possibilities for agency over transition through dual apprenticeships in Mexico (MMFD) and with what consequences for social inequalities? Furthermore, this research explores how such transitions unfold in the time-specific context of unprecedented global recession triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and analyse whether these experiences correspond to and/or contest global and domestic expectations about what the MMFD/a transferred DA model should achieve.



Innovative longitudinal methodologies will capture the post-MMFD transitions of apprentices (n=16), with semi-structured interviews being conducted shortly before, shortly after and one year after MMFD graduation. The interviews will explore how apprentices have been affected by the changing health and economic conditions and how the MMFD serves young people as they attempt to navigate the uncertainty and precarity of crisis while transitioning into adulthood. The research intentionally foregrounds the voices of young ‘policy beneficiaries’ over those of policy experts, exploring how young people reflect on their DA experience, evaluate the programme in light of their personal goals and current and future trajectories and how these narratives shift and evolve over time given seismic contextual change.


Implications and outcomes

This research will facilitate greater understanding of how - in the recipient context of Mexico - Dual Apprenticeships operate at the micro level and with what impact on young people’s lives in the medium term. Understanding of these contextual specificities (and variance within them) will shed light on the lived realities of a transferred policy and potentially offer lessons for implementation worldwide. By valorising young people’s own understandings in this way, the research will be especially attentive to the role of the MMFD in reproducing or mitigating inequalities and thus support more effective and equitable implementation of DA models in the Mexican context.  Furthermore, analysis of how these transitions have been shaped by post-pandemic recession and what role the MMFD plays in helping young people navigate crisis conditions will help interrogate global policy hypotheses that DAs can serve as a useful tool for reducing youth unemployment, smoothing school-to-work transitions and supporting social mobility, particularly in times of crisis.


Tikkanen, J., Jacovkis, J., & Vanderhoven, E. (2022). Exploring Young Adults’ Lifelong Learning Policy Participation Styles: Comparative Perspectives from Finland, Scotland, and Spain. In: Landscapes of Lifelong Learning Policies across Europe (pp. 89-116). Palgrave Macmillan.

Vanderhoven, E. (2022) The Scottish Third Sector Tracker - Challenges and Support for Scotland’s Third Sector: Analysis from Wave One's Open Questions. Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Sutherland, C., Calò, F., Steiner, A., & Vanderhoven, E. (2022). ‘You don’t realise they’re helping you until you realise they’re helping you’: reconceptualising adultism through community music. Children's Geographies, 1-15.

Gamboa, C. C., Vanderhoven, E., & Maturana, A. P. (2022). Perceived success factors in an outstanding school serving vulnerable students: Case-study of a Chilean public school. REMIE: Multidisciplinary Journal of Educational Research, 12(1), 1.

Vanderhoven, E., Steiner, A., Teasdale, S. & Calo, F. (2020) Can public venture capital support sustainability in the social economy? Evidence from a social innovation fund. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 13, e00166.

Vanderhoven, E. (2019) Review of Habermas and Social Research: Between Theory and Method. Administrative Theory and Practice.

Vanderhoven, E. et al. (2019) YOUNG_ADULLLT: A Comparative European Study – Key Messages for Scottish Policy Actors. Glasgow, UK: University of Glasgow, available at: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/179348/.

Vanderhoven, E. (2012) London 2012: A Social Legacy for East London? London, UK: Community Links. Available at: https://bit.ly/2HS4JTF.


Dual apprenticeships in Mexico
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Grant number 2283854
September 2019 - December 2023
University of Glasgow