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The future of vocational education training (VET)

By Asomi College of Sciences

University is not the only way to successful employment; there are other opportunities such as vocational education and training, in other words, VET. VET is an educational form with an uncertain future. Its success depends on the academic policies of various states and the everyday factors shaping our daily lives and, consequently, the labour market. ASOMI College of Sciences is engaged in educational issues and is proud to present this article on VET’s position in the academic field.

It is not a surprise that the so-called digital and technological revolution is changing our world and the industry. The skills needed for working in this modern setting are shifting towards a more generic globe, which includes digital technology as its core pillar.

VET has been a job-oriented educational method for an extended, paying attention to the practical rather than generic programs. And it is precisely for this reason that the training packages at VET must not fail the students’ and employers’ needs. The VET educational system should adopt some strategic changes to match the students’ academic requirements.

Moreover, if we consider that now the labour market is highly influenced by digital technologies, we should also think about the future. There are mainly two possible ways in which VET’s role will develop: a pessimistic and an optimistic one.

  • The pessimist theory sees all the jobs needing a more (or wholly) practical approach – especially those with a short or medium-term perspective – to extinguish because of their automation caused by the technological and digital revolution.
  • On the other hand, the positive perspective foresees improvements in VET’s role in the educational field since nowadays practical approach is gaining more and more importance. But to make it happen, VET institutions should re-consider and strengthen their systems.
In every case, there are three possible directions in which VET’s position could (and should) evolve:

  • If VET is about to concentrate on occupational and professional competencies, VET institutions should aim towards parity of esteem with other educational institutions (and methods). In this case, their target group would be the young still-to-be-trained generation, and the requirements and identities should be aimed for addressing their students towards clearly defined occupations. Not only should the VET institutions set learning at workplaces as their priority, but they should proudly illustrate it for their students as the prestige of having a VET education. Work-based learning should become almost an ideal, a dream to follow for nearly everyone, and it should apply to all occupational areas.
  • But, if VET goes towards short- and medium-term job-oriented principles, the situation will surely be different. Firstly, their target group would be reduced to people needing immediate employment. This means that VET should become linked to continuous and further training for (re)inserting the groups at risk in the labour market. All that would limit VET’s ability to compete with other educational forms and areas. The VET should be reoriented for job skills only, but since these skills would be shaped for short- or medium-term jobs, it would not last long. More transparent training offers and short courses would be at the core of this possible solution for VET’s positioning in the educational arena.
  • Finally, it has to be said that also lifelong learning could become the main aim of VET training. But, in this case, VET institutions should meld occupational and transversal skills. Combining vocational skills to general subjects (usually taught in universities) would cause a development in the VET field. VET would not belong to a separate sector anymore, and it would compete with other educational forms. Its target group would then become people of all ages, including people who already have work experience and want to improve their skills. It would become a project and problem-focused learning with an individually designed program. Broader skills sets and competitive strategies of the vocationally oriented education would create a weaker link to jobs. Therefore, VET institutions would need a closer approach with the stakeholders.

Conclusively

No matter the outcome, VET education is valuable. However, VET institutions should change their structure and think in which direction they would like to go. There are many uncertainties for the future of VET education. Still, one is sure- it has to be remodelled based on the needs of students and industry, which is constantly changing in this technological and digital era. 

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