The role of materiality in apprenticeships: the case of the Suame Magazine, Kumasi, Ghana

Thomas Jaarsma, Harro Maat, Arjen Wals, Paul Richards

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    Although the concept of the apprenticeship seems to be universal, its institutional form and status differ around the world. This article discusses informal apprenticeship training as it occurs among car mechanics in the informal industrial complex of the Suame Magazine, Kumasi, Ghana. Using on-site research and theories of social learning and material culture, it focuses on the material aspects of the apprenticeship training and shows that materiality is, in multiple ways, a crucial aspect for both the content and learning practices of the apprenticeship system. The material nature of the Suame Magazine forms a strong learning environment and the status of apprentices is also directly related to the mastering of specific car parts. Moreover, the increasing use of electronics in vehicles demands a different curriculum for apprentices. The role of materiality in social learning is an apparent, though understudied, element in apprenticeship systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)439-449
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Vocational Education & Training
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2011


    • apprenticeship
    • materiality
    • car mechanics
    • Ghana
    • situated learning


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