Situated learning theory provides a rich conceptual framework for analysing the processes by which apprentices become (full) participants in a community of practice. This article uses case study evidence from the UK's Modern Apprenticeship programme to show how this framework can be developed by identifying features of expansive and restrictive participation which help distinguish between different approaches to apprenticeship. We suggest that three inter-related themes (participation, personal development and institutional arrangements) underpin an expansive/restrictive continuum. The analysis is used to categorise company approaches to apprenticeship according to their expansive and restrictive characteristics, and to illustrate the variable learning opportunities that are being created for apprentices under the Modern Apprenticeship
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