The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector is of primary importance in the Australian and international education system.
But is it seen that way?
Vocational Education and Training is exactly that – vocational. It supports and develops students to be ready to enter industry as job-ready graduates. This means they are equipped and ready to work in their chosen industry and the VET system is geared to provide the knowledge and skills to enable them to do so.
VET is focused on competence. It honours the fact that a student can become competent through a variety of means. It doesn’t matter how that competence is achieved, as long as it is established. If it is established, then it is recognised (e.g. through prior learning or life experience) if it is equivalent to the level at which the job is expected to be performed.
VET graduates work in a plethora of industries across all areas of society. They work in small business, complementary health-care, accounting, counselling, aged care, child care, fitness, a variety of trades and countless other areas. In fact there were 7512 programs delivered in VET in 2015 in Australia. There are 4930 Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) in Australia (as at the end of 2015). (Data from National Centre for Vocational Education Research – NCVER.)
It can be seen from this that VET educates members of the public in areas that are very important to the function of our society as a whole.
However, VET is often currently seen, at least in Australia, as a second rate cousin to higher education or a university degree. Why is this? And does it have to be the case?
In the following parts of this series, we explore the immense value that VET brings to students as well as industry, and how we can shape it to be recognised as a true leader in education.
This article was first published in Evolve College’s Studymassage News.