In a rapidly changing world, transition from school to work has become more complex and challenging for young people.

If academic studies may be an excellent stepping stone to successful careers and lives, other types of education like vocational education and training (VET) programs are more than ever being emphasized by governments globally to support work-ready professionals with relevant on-the-job experience to match the needs of various industries, regardless of any social or economic factors.

In this article, we will share with you some facts on vocational education and training (VET) that you may not be aware of. 

 

1. VET offers fast-tracks career options

Though, academic programs are increasingly including "internships" within their curriculum, vocational training programs are based on an experience gaining model.

Vocational certifications and diplomas offer flexible learning options supporting the successful learner to enter or re-enter the industry according to the career plan that works on their schedule.

Career pathways usually start from 6-months.

Since many VET programs cooperate with industry-leaders and local employers, students often have a direct pipeline to well-paying jobs before graduation day. Students therefore have access to an extensive recruitment network along with the confidence of knowing that the skills they have are the same ones companies want.

In 2015, over 30 percent of all companies in the EU with more than ten employees had workers who completed a vocational program.

2. VET responds to new job candidates evaluation criteria

The methods employers use to evaluate job candidates are changing. These days, many companies are rethinking how they gauge potential hires, focusing more on talent, skills and experience.

After repeatedly getting burned by onboarding employees with the pedigree, but without the ability to contribute to the company's success from the start, many hiring managers are wising up and are starting to place more weight on a candidate's both hard and soft skills.

Thanks to the significant amount of practice during the training and internship experience, Vocational Education is well-positioned to tackle the evolving future of work, playing an essential role in equipping professionals to develop industry relevant skills and becoming work ready from day 1.

 

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3. VET provides employment and financial security

Opting for a vocational course may mean a greater chance of gaining and keeping employment. According to the European Training Center:

The average 2018 employment rate for 20 to 34 year-olds in the EU with mid-level vocational qualifications was just under 81 percent. That number is almost 7 percent higher than those in the same peer group who chose to pursue general qualifications at the same educational level.

In a tight economy that is contracting more and more every day, it makes sound financial advice to go through a quality VET program. VET programs can provide this type of financial security because they are industry-driven and well-positioned to adapt to the ever-changing needs of actual employees. This industry-approved curriculum is in direct contrast to more academic degrees with curriculums designed by professors who have been out of the workforce for decades.

4. VET promotes life-long learning

VET programs are not only for those who are just starting their working lives. As a response to the rapidly changing job market, the European Center for the Development of Vocational Training stated that approximately half of the workers in the EU and SEET region may need reskilling or upskilling to adapt to changing work realities.

By going through a VET program now, students will have a head start on these other workers, and it will guarantee their competitiveness in the job market for decades to come.

Vocational education will increase the share of 30–40 years old having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40%. 

 

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5. VET reduces education drop-outs

Being very much applied and usually relatively short, VET programs are a great model to support students to complete their education in full. Whether it is the promise of an increased chance of being hired for a well-paying position or the opportunity to explore a career that they find more interesting, experts predict that enrolled students in VET programs will help drive down the percentage of early leavers in the EU to less than 10 percent.

 

6. VET combats inequalities through education

Vocational training is particularly beneficial for female students and those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. On the job site, it doesn’t matter where you come from, only what you can do and how you do it. 

In fact, almost 45 percent of the graduates of upper secondary VET programs in 2018 were women.


7. VET opens doors to higher education

Goals change, and it isn't uncommon for those who initially choose a vocational education to, in the future, have the desire to earn a related advanced degree to further their career opportunities.

If students successfully complete vocational training and then, further down the road, decide to attend university, they won't lose the time and money already invested in their prior education. Mobility pathways towards higher education are already in place in many industries acting as a key enabler to fulfill students’ goals whilst answering challenges in labor markets.

Depending on the institution and the degree, VET graduates may qualify for Recognition of Prior Learning and earn credits towards an advanced degree.

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Consultant at EHL Advisory Services

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