Original Research

Apprentice selection: A systematic literature review from 1990 to 2020

Juliet I. Puchert, Roelf van Niekerk, Kim Viljoen
Acta Commercii | Vol 21, No 1 | a932 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v21i1.932 | © 2021 Juliet Puchert, Roelf van Niekerk, Kim Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 January 2021 | Published: 10 December 2021

About the author(s)

Juliet I. Puchert, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Roelf van Niekerk, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Kim Viljoen, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa


Orientation: Technological innovations and developments in methods of productivity have resulted in an increased demand for technically-oriented artisans. However, the supply of qualified artisans is insufficient to meet the demand.

Research purpose: This article is the product of a systematic investigation into the extent and nature of empirical literature related to human resource selection practices used for apprentices.

Motivation for the study: The authors noted inadequate research into the selection practices used for apprentices. This investigation was motivated by the need to systematically verify the extent and nature of the empirical literature on apprentice selection, both internationally and nationally.

Research design, approach and method: A systematic literature review of published empirical research articles (for the period 1990–2020) in scholarly databases was conducted. The literature was accessed through relevant databases within the business management, human resource management and industrial psychology fields. The literature was restricted to scholarly (i.e., peer reviewed journals), English full textual data. Twelve combinations of two clusters of key words were used in the search function. The first cluster was apprentice, apprenticeship and artisan, with the second cluster being selection, selection process, staffing and recruitment. Four exclusion categories were used to reject literature that were unrelated, dissimilar and unconnected with the purpose of the literature review.

Main findings: From the comprehensive review of the literature, 12 articles were found to have content related to the selection of apprentices. Five core themes, with 11 sub-themes, were identified from this literature. A research agenda is proposed with research questions identified for each theme.

Practical/managerial implications: This literature review has provided a synthesised summary of the available literature on apprentice selection. Through the provision of a research agenda, this article contributes by providing a foundation for further research in the field.

Contribution/value-add: This article adds to the current literature available on apprentice selection practices. This should alert researchers of the need to further explore this area to enhance knowledge and understanding of the best practices employed in the selection of apprentices.


apprentice; selection; selection process; staffing; systematic literature review


Total abstract views: 2693
Total article views: 3004

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.